When you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, use this handy tool to get out of that false dilemma.
On the one hand…
Remember Tevye the Milkman? (from the musical Fiddler On The Roof). Whenever Tevye had a difficult decision to make, he would vacillate between the two things: “On the one hand… on the other hand.” Sound familiar? We get ourselves caught between two things and get locked into making a decision based on those two assumptions. We assume we must choose between this or that.
Is that true?
Here is a handy tool to use when you feel trapped between one thing and another. When you feel caught up in a dilemma like this, ask yourself, “Is it true?” Is it true that those are my only two options? It’s so easy to get locked into polar opposites before you even consider whether maybe, just maybe, there is a third or fourth or even more other alternatives to the ones you think you have to choose between.
The secret to taking time to consider if there might be more alternatives to the ones before you is to pause.
This is not easy to do. You might be in a meeting where you feel pressure. Or in a relationship where the other person is demanding that you make a decision right now. When you feel that pressure building up in your chest, pause. You can do this. But it is going to take some will-power and discipline to hold up your hand (literally or figuratively or both) and put things on hold for just a moment while you think creatively about your options.
Just for fun.
When you get into a false dilemma, ask yourself: “Is it true that the two things I feel caught between are the only two options?” (And then pause, regroup, and reengage).
Want more help?
I can help you pause, regroup, and consider your options.