I have no idea what I'm doing...

Do you ever deal with self-doubt? I do.

Even with things I'd done before - and even if it went well.

In the "To thine own self be true" spectrum ranging from People-who-over-inflate-their-egos to People-who-self-doubt, you'll find me hanging with the anxious latter. Some talk about their Impostor Syndrome strategies and meanwhile I'm still wondering if I've properly understood it.

The weird thing though, is I'm still pretty confident. I'll commit to things, knowing I know nothing about them, and I'll follow through.

Looking at a different spectrum, Decision Making, I rarely suffer from Analysis Paralysis. Instead, I'm at a different end: Analysis Catalysis - the more I analyze, the more I want to do. (I just Googled "Analysis Catalysis" and this term shockingly does not exist so I'm going to credit myself for coining it. 😁)

I may as well define it better. If it's not obvious, Analysis Catalysis is when analysis drives action. It's a preference towards experimentation and iteration whereas Analysis Paralysis leads to inaction. It's diving right in and seeing what fails. You've never shot an arrow at a target - you may as well let one loose and see how bad you're missing. It's not all positive: If Analysis Paralysis overwhelms the brain with information, Analysis Catalysis is impatience. It leads to re-inventing wheels; it doesn't leverage the experience of others.

If it has any leg up over Analysis Paralysis, it is simply that Analysis Catalysis is kinetic. Analysis Paralysis is being caught in an energetic spin cycle whereas Analysis Catalysis builds on its own momentum. Maybe you re-invent a few wheels along the way, but if you do it fast enough, you can recover and make up ground quickly.

Weirdly, as I write this, I'm realizing: this entire post is an example of Analysis Catalysis. I'd initially intended to write about how I reassure myself against my own doubts - but then, rather quickly and without intention, this self-analysis catalyzed into audaciously coining new terms. I really just needed a different word that rhymed with "Analysis".

And, in a very round-about way, this gets me back to my initial intent of writing this post: The way I cope with my self-doubt is by starting with what I know. When I feel overwhelmed by all the things I don't fully understand, the concepts I've not fully grasped, the requirements that are not fully defined - whatever it is, I (re)establish the things that I know. A simple numbered list to reassure me that, despite my doubts, there are a few things I do know. As I build this list, the Analysis Catalysis takes over - and before I've completed my list, I've given myself my proverbial jumping-off point.

The next time you find yourself teetering between uncertainty and confidence, inaction and action, paralysis and catalysis - try it out: Make your list, and see what happens.

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