The Endless Loop is a set of instructions that lacks a functional exit so it repeats indefinitely until it is terminated by some external action or force. The term comes from the computer programming world.
It’s also the thing that sabotages professional careers and businesses.
The endless debate loop happens when you find yourself debating which step(s) to take to improve your professional and personal life – but you’re not exploring them.
The unchecked debate loop can take on a life of its own as your active imagination creates stories about why exploring options is a bad idea, too hard, too complicated, or that you might not like what discover. Or that maybe you will like what you discover and then have to make a choice?
I’ve seen so many successful professionals and business owners who’ve come to regret getting caught in the debate loop. Like Harry, who had a successful dental practice. His internal debate loop around retirement lasted nearly 10 years until time and the market left him with few choices.
Here’s how to escape your endless loops.
First, name it. Call it what it is. When you give it a name you give your brain the ability to think clearly about it and figure out how to solve it.
Second, write down what you hope to accomplish. You’re probably debating how to get someplace, but not where you want to go. Getting clear on the destination will help you set waypoints to achieve. The route comes after you set the destination.
Third, pick just one of the options you are debating and give yourself the assignment to investigate it – just as you would if you were assessing a case or a new project for someone else. Pick a defined date to report out what you’ve found – even if it isn’t complete.
Finally, stop trying to do this by yourself. I’ve escaped multiple debate loops because I had the right coach at my side. They helped me learn to ask better questions, evaluate results, make better choices and avoid regressing back to debate loops.
What’s one debate loop you’d love to escape?