Stuck In Analysis Paralysis?

Stuck In Analysis Paralysis? Do This Instead! (Episode 3)


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Episode 3: Stuck In Analysis Paralysis? Do This Instead!

  • How To Overcome Analysis Paralysis – Step By Step

  • How To Get Out Of Your Head & Into Action

  • What to Say to Yourself To Get Out Of Overthinking

  • What To Do When Your Head Feels Like A Slaughterhouse Of Dreams

  • How To Slay The Analysis Paralysis + Perfectionism + Control Freak Dragon!

Discover how to overcome analysis paralysis – Step by step. 

This episode will show you how to get out of your head and into action instead!
Packed full of frank and practical suggestions for what to say to yourself and what to to to get out of overthinking. 
So you can (finally) change career or start the right business. 

Analysis paralysis is the nemesis of way too many intelligent people who end up staying stuck for years in careers or work scenarios they no longer enjoy – Because they keep overthinking all of the reasons why their career change or business ideas won’t work out or aren’t right for them…Before they even given those ideas a chance to prove themselves in the real world (outside of their head!). 

Sounds like you? 
Then press “play” for a Masterclass on how to slay The Analysis Paralysis + Perfectionist + Control Freak Dragon!

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Stuck In Analysis Paralysis? Do This Instead!

Intro: Welcome to The Career Change Podcast where you’ll discover the frank and practical advice and resources that are already proven to work in the real world when it comes to changing careers, or figuring out what business is right for you when you are a smart, but likely also stuck, overwhelmed or overthinking person in your mid 30s, your 40s to your mid50s.

I’m your host Rikke Hansen, a Career Change Advisor, entrepreneur, and former corporate HR professional with over 15 years experience of helping thousands of people just like you identify or create careers or businesses that are both meaningful and future proof. Welcome home!

Hey, it’s Rikke here and welcome to Episode 3 of The Career Change Podcast.

I’m gonna dedicate this entire episode to analysis paralysis.

I’ve literally designed this entire episode to be a mini masterclass to help you get out of analysis paralysis by getting you out of your head and into the real world. 

So get ready for some concrete strategies, some Transition Truths, as well as some emotional support and understanding – I get  how tough an enemy analysis paralysis can be – I’ve got you!

Analysis paralysis is the Nemesis of way too many intelligent people who would love to change careers or figure out what business to start, but who end up getting stuck in overthinking instead of taking action.

So this is for you whether you are a mid-life career changer or an entrepreneur in transition.

One of my clients, a lawyer who came to me because she wanted my help with designing her first business, said to me once:

“Rikke – I feel like my head is a slaughterhouse of dreams.

Nothing – Even my best business ideas –  Ever make it alive out of there alive!”

Does that sound familiar?

You probably keep thinking of all of the reasons why your ideas won’t work out or why they aren’t right for you BEFORE you even give them a chance to get out of your head and prove themselves in the real world…Am  I right? 

Let me be frank.

Here’s my definition of analysis paralysis as it pertains to career change entrepreneurship.

And I’ve got 15 years experience in the trenches. This is something I’m seeing happening again and again. Here’s what’s really happening: 

Analysis paralysis is when intelligent people spend way more time overthinking than taking action.

Analysis paralysis is what’s happening when you insist on thinking instead of doing – Overthinking instead of taking concrete action!

And this is vital to be aware of, if you’re trying to make a change, because will have to to involve the real world outside of your head.

Whereas what you’re really doing when you are in analysis paralysis –  When you insist  on overthinking,  on more research  and on more thinking more – Is that you are insisting on trying to solve a problem intellectually, that can only really be solved by also getting real life + market feedback and input.

That’s why it’s so toxic.

So right now you’re likely doing more overthinking than doing and that’s why you are stuck!

Don’t get me wrong. Being an intelligent person and being good at thinking is generally a good thing.
Intelligence can be a massive advantage when it comes to career change entrepreneurship.

However, what we’re talking about here is what happens is when you overthink.

We’ll talk about how to deal with it when it turns toxic and it keeps you stuck for years or months and it works against your dreams, against what you really want to do.

By the stage people come to me and ask for advice for career change entrepreneurship, they’ve often been stuck in analysis paralysis for years (15 years is the record ;). 

Now, analyzing and planning and thinking and researching is of course, super important, but only if you use it to your advantage and to keep you moving forward.
NOT when you use it to procrastinate.

Analysis paralysis is literally the number one behaviour that intelligent people use to delay or procrastinate or never even getting started with their transition…

…Because they’re still waiting for that one more piece of information or that one more thought, or that one more piece of research and it’s never enough!

My friend, if you stuck in that Limbo, that holding pattern of analysis paralysis, I want to (from the bottom of my heart) dedicate this episode to you. Let’s get you unstuck!

Analysis paralysis can be such a toxic tendency when it comes to career change and entrepreneurship. So let’s get you out of there.

In this episode, I’ll share some really practical strategies and ways of thinking that my clients have told me have been really useful over the years for them to get out of analysis paralysis, that I’ve helped them get their head around. I’ll also very much talk about transition truths, ie how transitions they actually work in the real world and that you need to be aware of even if you don’t like those truths.

So I’ll give you some phrases that you can repeat to yourself when you get stuck in analysis paralysis to help you get out of there.

Please be open minded. You don’t have to agree with anything that I say. But try out the strategies to see if they work. Don’t turn this into another intellectual bunfight, OK?

Your dreams are worth a try.

I promise you that at least one of these strategies, one of these transition truths,  will have the potential to be the game changer for you. So keep listening to the very end.


Transition Truth #1: 

You don’t need to know or control the entire transition journey upfront to get started or to keep going. 



And let’s face it, there is no way that you can, so stop blooming making it a condition!

This is such an important truth to be aware of.

Here’s a fact I’ve observed over the years with many of the people who don’t believe it or aren’t aware of this truth (And let’s make sure that’s not you): 

Fact: A lot of intelligent overthinking people will never change careers or never start that dream business, because they insist on knowing and controlling the entire journey upfront.

They insist on getting their head around the entire career or business transition journey before they even take their first step.

That’s why they never even take that first step. They never get out of the head and they never start interacting with the real world.

They just end up stuck in analysis paralysis.


Maybe you know someone like that?

Let me get a little bit further inside your head, so you can self identify.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these phrases?

“I just need to do some more research, some more thinking,  some more analysis. The business plan is not perfect yet!”

“But I don’t have the perfect information to get started yet. What if I neglect something important? And that very piece of information makes me fail down the line?”

“But what if the timing or the data is not perfect?”

“But what if something much more perfect or better comes along down the line?”

” I need to have all my ducks in a row before I start.”

Can you relate to any of those ones?

And did you also notice the word PERFECT popping up a lot?

Yes, analysis paralysis tends to go with perfectionism.

Do you also get a whiff of control freakism?

Ah yes – The Holy Trinity that makes up analysis paralysis:

Analysis Paralysis + Perfectionism + Control Freakism.

No wonder you are stuck, right?

You want to control as many factors up front and as far out as you can as possible.

And then there’s perfectionism because you think that if you just get it perfect before you even start, then you won’t fail. But if it’s not perfect, then you’ll fail.

Now, how is that working out for you? ;) 

And are you moving at snail’s speed? If at all?

Tick Tock – Most of my clients over 35 – So time is of the essence (maybe you are over 35 too?).

Don’t mess around – You are ready – You’ve been training for this your entire life. Get on with it.

Here’s a shock statement from one control freak to another: 

(trust me I’m a recovering control freak, so I totally get where you are at!)

You are going to have to give up the illusion of total control, if you want to transition into or create something new.

But don’t worry, you don’t have to give up all the control  :)

All you have to do and remember instead – Whenever you feel analysis paralysis coming on is this:

Focus instead on the few things that you can control and that you can do something about. 

And you know what?!

They’re the ones that are right in front of you – The actions right in front of you, the next step right in front of you.

They’re NOT the ones way down the line.

Here’s what I mean by that.

Have you noticed that what keeps you awake at night is rarely the step that’s right in front of you.

The step that if you really wanted to, you could take that step right now, heck you could even control it!

It is rarely the step right in front of you that you are overthinking. And that is what we want to change.

Here’s what I mean by that.

What is likely keeping you awake at 3am is that you’re worrying about some really vague step that you might be taking six months down the line or 12 months down the line or 18 months down the line, that right now there is no way that you can know it or control it.

That’s why you’re freaking out. Right?

 I don’t know where you personally are at on the career transition journey. 

But generally, you want to start by figuring out what you want, then you go into test driving it, and then you go into launching it.

And often what keeps people awake at night is that they try to jump between the stages. 

However, you need to go through each stage to get the information and clarity you need BEFORE you go to the next stage. 

So often, I see people who haven’t even figured out WHAT the right career is  for them or what the right business is for them.

And then they start worrying about HOW it’s ever going to happen or when it’s going to happen.

That WHAT they haven’t even figured out yet!!

Or they the worry about whether they actually are going to like it or whether it’s going to make money instead of just focusing on test driving it to find that out!

Whenever you find yourself in analysis paralysis – Come right back to the present my friend!

You cannot leapfrog the transition stages.

You need to get the clarity at each stage to move on to the next one.

Whenever you find yourself in analysis paralysis it’s because you are trying to leapfrog ahead and control and know something you can’t, so come right back to the present.

Whenever you feel analysis paralysis it’s because you are getting ahead of yourself.

Here’s what to do instead: Focus on the concrete action that’s right in front of you and that you CAN control tomorrow or the week after. 

In order to successfully change careers, or start your dream business, you do not need to know the entire journey up front and you can’t.
All you need to know and all you need to focus on whenever you’re overwhelmed, is the step right in front of you.


The Treasure Hunt Analogy:

Changing careers or starting your own or next business is a bit like going on a treasure hunt.

In order to get to the treasure in the end, you need to focus on the next clue right in front of you at each step.

And that clue will then give you the clue to the next step that you need to take and so on. 

A successful career transition is just like a treasure hunt, you need to focus and execute on the clue in front of you to get to the next one.


So next time you’re finding yourself in analysis paralysis, remind yourself that what is happening is that you’re getting way ahead of yourself.

Come right back to the present, and focus on the clue right in front of you.

That should also appeal to the control freak in you, right? Which is what I really want to do.

You have a lot more control right in front of you than you do trying to figure something out that you can’t yet because you don’t yet have the information. Come right back to the present.

The real problem here – What is really happening when you get into analysis paralysis at 3am – Is that you’re trying to intellectually figure out or solve a control a problem that cannot just be solved purely intellectually, purely in side of your head.

Rather, it can only be solved by experimenting by getting real live feedback, ie by getting out of your head.

So let’s talk about that next, because all of these transition truths they . The build on each other.

Transition Truth #2 The Antidote To Analysis Paralysis Is Getting Real Life Feedback.


Not More Research, Not More Overthinking.

When you have some concrete ideas, some good basic ideas for what career you want to transition into or for the business you want to start – Then your focus on a day to day basis should be squarely on execution and experimentation to figure out if your idea is right for you, right for the market and on getting real life feedback early on.

And if you’ve done that, then your focus should be squarely on launching.

If you don’t yet know what it is that you want – What career or what business or how much of a change  – Then that’s the only thing to focus on figuring out before you do anything else.  Don’t get ahead of yourself!

Want help without figuring out what career, what business, what kind of change you need?
I’ve got a program for that called Your Career Change Map – Just get in touch with me over at, if you want more information.

Back to clarifying where you are at in the transition process.

Get Unstuck Strategy:

Whenever you’re stuck, whenever you are in analysis paralysis mode, here’s what I want you to ask yourself:

What is my next step?

What is that step right in front of me that I really should be focusing on?

Is it figuring out what I really want?

Is it test driving it?

Is it launching it?

And then also make sure that step includes an outcome/action-focused verb, and ideally also other people.

Who can you call?

Who can you connect with?

Who can you make an offer to?

Who can help you?

…vs. just more research and thinking.

You likely also need to get out from behind the computer, out of intellectual overthinking mode.

Can you make an offer to a new client?

Can you design a workshop to figure out if you’re even gonna like doing this thing?

Can you go on a weekend course?

Can you network? You really need to make friends in that new field – Will you even like the people who work in that field?


What is the one thing that you can do today, so that by taking that step, it will bring you closer to the reality of having changed careers or started your first/next business.

What is your next step?

Make sure most of the people and an outcome focused action verb. Okay?

Here’s why it’s so important for you to get out of your head and into action very early on in the process – As soon as you have some clarity around what it is that you want:

One of my favourite quotes that I like to share with my clients, whether they want to be entrepreneurs or not, is from a very famous Silicon Valley entrepreneur called Steve Blank:

“No Business Plan Survives First Contact With Customers”  (Steve Blank).


No business plan survives first contact with customers. Even if you don’t want to start your own business is the same thing.

Your plan will not survive the first contact with reality.
So stop spending so much time on the plan in your head before you start involving the reality!

Here’s what I’ve noticed again and again: 

I can almost guarantee you that your analysis paralysis is you overthinking your own issues, you own existing assumptions – You are overworking/re-working a plan that never made it further than your own head.


Analysis Paralysis = Overthinking Your EXISTING Assumptions!

Analysis paralysis tends to be almost like putting on these really toxic blinders and insisting that we can figure this out ourselves.
We are so bloody self sufficient!

Here’s a tip:
Get help from other people + Try real world action and market feedback instead.

By the way, I’m the self sufficient type I know how hard it is to ask for help x

The answer is likely outside of your head.
You need to experiment in the real world.

Ask for help, speak to potential customers, speak to potential employers or  people who work in that field

Network = Build a new group of friends.


The answers comes through other people – The answers comes through real life testing.

Don’t build a business for an imaginary audience.

Don’t just blindly research alternative careers. 

You need market feedback.

Once you have clarity about what is you want, you need to start getting out there and experience yourself doing and creating things related to it.

Don’t try to think your way through to whether something is right for you.

“Should I retrain to become a naturopath?”

“Should I retrain to become a lawyer?”

Instead – You need to experiment in the real world.

The subject, the people, the work cultures, the things that those kind of people they do.

Just break out INDIVIDUAL ingredients and start test driving and experimenting!

I love the word experimentation – Especially when people are over 35  – Because we’re not really used to that. 

When did you last experiment?

This is often what I find when people over 35 – I actually think that’s often what leads to a lot of the crises that people find themselves in.
They have done the same job or line of business for the last 5,10, 15, 20 years.
If they don’t like it, then no wonder they feel bored and stuck and don’t feel meaning or passion or anything like that.

We need to create that – You cultivate that by experimenting.

By putting together experiments in the real world to approximate what it is that you want to do next.

So you get to know yourself better. 

Does it give you meaning?

Are you good at it?

Does it make money?

Analysis paralysis is a static or never ending loop of intellectual navel gazing.

Experiments  are dynamic and they give you the feedback you need for this particular stage of your life.


If you are like many of m clients – You likely fell into your line of work straight after university and just kept at it. 
 So you made that choice many years ago. You are hopefully a very different person now.

You need to experience who you are now!

A reminder for my fellow control freaks: 
Experiments are not meant to be perfect or 100% controllable.
They are meant to help you understand yourself better.

One of the biggest gifts you can give yourself, if you want a successful career transition is to become insanely curious about who you are and what you’re capable of doing in this world.

Let that drive you.

You can probably tell that I have an immense understanding of perfectionism, it has been a struggle for me my entire life, to overcome that beast, that is perfectionism and has caused so much pain. And I see that with my clients  too.

My Antidote To Perfectionism?

Getting insanely curious about who I am and what I can create in the world.

Even if that feel less perfect – I’m more driven by  figuring out what I’m truly capable of doing than I am by being perfect. 

My biggest fear will be not figuring that out in this lifetime. So I’d much rather end up doing things that aren’t perfect and that might fail.
But I would not want to risk going to my grave not knowing what I’m truly capable of doing.

So try to borrow that mindset.

Get insanely curious about who you are and what you are really capable of doing!

Focus less on getting that flawless plan first, and focus more on figuring out if you are going to like it!

Experiment with it.

Does it give you meaning?

Do you feel good at it?

Do you like using these skills?

Does it make money?

Your life’s work is ever evolving – So GET STARTED AND KEEP GOING!

Transition Truth #3:
Your transition Only Starts When You Move From Intellectual Exercise To Behavioural Commitment!

Skin in the game, my friend!

Skin In The Game Beats Analysis Paralysis!

It’s not enough with intellectual skin in the game.
We need real physical skin in the game here.

Let me ask you a really frank question:

Look at the last 3, 6, 12 months to 2 years.

Do you have external proof that you’re really committed to  and invested in your transition?

What are you putting on the line?

What behavioural changes have you made in how you spend your time, your money or resources?

Is it clear that your transition is your number one priority?

What have you actually changed in the time that you DO have available to dedicate to this or the time that you claw back?

Let me talk to your inner control freak here, because this is actually going to be where it can help you:


A behavioural commitment is when you become an active creator and participant in your transition outside of your head.
Instead of just trying to remote control it intellectually.

If you’re a control freak, this should help you reframe things:

You want to be an active control freak with active participation and active creation

versus just being this really naive control freak who thinks they can control the world and figure out things intellectually, with no real life participation or creation…


..I’m poking at you here, but you know what I’m talking about.


I come across a lot of people whoo want to start their own business. But if you’ve only ever been an employee and you still think like that, then you might just spend your entire life researching and researching instead of test driving and shipping.

You need to ship something, a service or product,  in order to create money.

The longer you stay in indecision and analysis, paralysis versus proper thinking and active decision making, the less money you’re gonna make.

And that’s probably why you’re still stuck. So let’s put some skin in the game.

The Skin In The Game / Rikke On Your Shoulder Exercise!

I have this fun exercise I give to my private clients that I call Skin In The Game or  Rikke On Your Shoulder.

So if you are a client listening to this, you’ve probably heard one of those.

Imagine you have a mini version of me (I’m very petite) sitting on your shoulder.

I don’t know what’s going on inside of your head, all I can see is what’s going on in the real world where there’s external proof.

Imagine I’ve been sitting on your shoulder for the last three 6-12 months and followed you around.

I saw what you were doing every day, minute, week, every month.

Would it be obvious to me from the external proof and actions I would observe you take in the real world make it obvious that your transition is your #1 priority? 

What external proof do you have when you think back over the last 3-18 months?

Did I see your reach out to have conversations with people could help you?

Make offers to potential clients?

Run a workshop?

Try something new for the sake of it?

Ask for something?

Maybe even change behaviour in your current workplace – Raise your hands more in meetings? Push back on work hours?

If I looked in your calendar, would  I see time consistently set aside for you to experiment, figure out what you want, test drive it launch it?

The biggest thing getting in your way is you’re treating your career transition, your business transition, like an intellectual exercise.

You’re trying to control as many factors intellectually as possible.

And secondly, because you want to be perfect, you don’t want to fail.

Versus actually committing to start taking even the smallest external actions in the real world to get feedback.

Were you investing your time, your money, your resources?

If you are stuck – That’s what we need to change.

Remember, don’t get ahead of yourself.

Whenever you are in analysis paralysis, you’re likely trying to intellectually get ahead of yourself.

Come back to the present.

Do you need to focus on figuring out WHAT it is that you want?

Do you need to focus on driving it?

Or do you do focus on launching it?


Stay in that part of the transition process and get clarity first – Before you can move to the next one, all right?!

Figuring out what the right career or at the right business is for you is the most important thing for you to get clarity on.
Because it drives everything else.


Once you have more clarity on that, then you start going into the test driving phase to figure out if you’re even going to like it. If it makes money, if there is skill in it, if you can build a network in it, you know, the whole reality check!


And once that’s cleared, then you can launch it or go back to stage one.

Don’t get ahead of yourself in the transition phases.


But remember to have fun. And as soon as possible, get out of your head and in to the real world.


If in doubt: 

What is the one action that you can take to help you figure out

What you want


Test drive it


Launch it – Make it happen.

All depending on where you are at in the transition process.




Transition Truth #1: 
You don’t need to know or control the entire transition journey upfront to get started or to keep going. 

Whenever you get ahead of yourself – Come right back to the present. 

What is the ONE thing you can control and do right now to get the clarity needed for the next step.

Remember the Treasure Hunt Analogy!

Transition Truth #2 The Antidote To Analysis Paralysis Is Getting Real Life Feedback.
Not More Research, Not More Overthinking.

Get out of your head – Fall in love with experimentation and test driving!

With trying new things that involve other people and the real world and action verbs!

Be insanely curious about who you are the stage in your life, what rocks your boat, what sets you on fire or at least gets you into more excited state.

Transition Truth #3:
Your transition Only Starts When You Move From Intellectual Exercise To Behavioural Commitment!

Get into the habit of  of  imagining I’m sitting on your shoulder :) 

What external proof am I seeing that you’ve got skin in the game?

That you’re involving other people, you’re involving the real world, you’re putting money and time into it.

That you are truly committing to it.

That my friend is how you consistently will use your intelligence to drive you forward. And to make that transition happen.

Use your brain cells to your advantage!

We’ve come to the end of episode.

I trust you found at least one thing that you can say to yourself next time analysis paralysis happens. 

And that you’ve now got a really good feeling for how all of this actually works. In the real world.

Recommendation: This is the kind of episode you probably want to listen back over with a notepad and then commit to:

What is it you’re going to try out?

Where are you at in the transition process?

And then take really good care of yourself .

Next time you wake up at  3am and go “Oh my God” – Remind yourself that you are probably worrying about something that’s way to far ahead ahead.

Come right back to the present. 

What is the guarantee I need right now?

What is it that’s right in front of me that I can control and that I can do?

Then you can go back to sleep – You know what to do tomorrow.

And it’s something you can control and that you can do.

So display to enter control freak in that department. Okay?

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Remember, next time you get stuck, just ask yourself: 

What is my next step?

Make sure it involves an outcome/action-focused verb, and likely also other people.

Or you can ask yourself:

How can I get out of my head today?

What experiments can I run?

Who can help me? 


I’ll see you over at The Career Change – That’s where you can find out everything that you need to get cracking and to keep going.

Thank you so much for listening. 



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