Stop Overthinking For Work Success

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stop overthinking for work success

Stop Overthinking For Work Success

According to a recent study, 73% of 25- to 35-year-olds chronically overthink. For those 45 to 55, this percentage is over half. The point is, most of us suffer from some level of overthinking at work. While it may offer us some level of protection because we are considering all sides, doing it too much can cause us to feel stuck at work.

stop overthinking for work successOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn where she interviewed author and leadership Coach, Melody Wilding.

They shared tips and personal stories about how to stop overthinking for work success. Here are a few tips to think about if you are a chronic overthinker.


1. Sensitive Striver

During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, the term “sensitive striver” was discussed. Sensitive strivers are those who strive to achieve career success but are also very attuned to the world around them, including what others think and peoples perception of them. These people are often highly sensitive to the point it can feel stuck. Here are a few points to overcome the crippling aspects of being a sensitive striver:

  • Trust Ourselves – As highly sensitive people, we may feel like we can’t trust ourselves and our gut instinct. This is probably because we’ve been conditioned to believe our judgments can’t be relied upon. For example, we’ve decided to apply for a job but didn’t get an interview. Instead of moving on, we start to think applying for the job was a mistake; therefore, all of our decisions and judgements must be off. Trusting ourselves means learning how to stop overthinking and trust if things don’t work out, it doesn’t mean the end of the world. Sometimes it’s just the time, circumstances or things out of our control (which is most things!) 
  • Process Behavior – A highly sensitive person is very attuned to the behaviors of others around them. We process our surroundings and others much more deeply than other people. For example, a slight shift in someone’s tone of voice may tip us off that they are lying. We also notice subtitles in body language and can read a room quickly. The key is to channel this information positively and not dwell.


2. Types of Overthinkers

There are many types of overthinkers. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Melody shared the different types and why it is so important to understand which one we are. Consider the following:

  • Ruminators – Ruminators are those who can’t stop thinking about a mistake. We are stuck in the past. For example, if we gave a presentation and got a slide wrong, we continue to replay that moment repeatedly in our mind. We will ruminate on our mistakes, which can prevent us from moving forward. 
  • Future Trippers – Future Trippers are those who have anxiety over the future. For example, we may have a meeting with a senior leader coming up and we are worried about flubbing our words during the meeting. We’re worried about the future at the expense of being in the present moment.
  • Analysis Paralysis – These are people (and moments) where we have so many options or choices vying for our attention that we can’t decide, and we freeze. For example, if we have three different directions to consider, but can’t figure out which one to choose, we don’t take any of them. 
  • Perfectionistic Overthinkers – These are the people who feel there is only one right way, and we have to figure out what it is to proceed. For example, if we are working on a graphic for a marketing project and we cannot turn in our project because we feel it is not yet perfect. stop overthinking for work success
  • Maximizers – These people examine every option and try to find the exact right fit. For example, we may be in charge of purchasing a new desk chair. As a maximizer, we decide to test out every single chair available. We spend months weighing the pros and cons of each one. In the end, our overthinking, don’t make a decision and thus, hold ourselves back from progress. 


3. Overcoming Overthinking

Overthinking can paralyze us and create tension in the workplace. It is essential to learn how to stop overthinking. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Melody, and Jessica discussed several strategies to help us overcome overthinking. Consider the following:

  • Labeling Thoughts – When we overthink, we are listening to a critical voice saying, “We’re going to fail at this, or we’re not good enough.”  When we label the thought, we give it a name to distance ourselves from it. For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica said one of her clients labeled the negative thoughts “celery”. Yes, it’s silly! But this way, when the negative thoughts started happening, her client could say, “Celery, I’m not listening to you today.” This cognitive reframing can help us take power away from negative thoughts.
  • Rule of five – Often, as sensitive strivers, we may feel like another person’s behavior is because of us. For example, if our boss is very short with us during a meeting, we may feel like we’ve done something wrong. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Melody suggested using the rule of five to help us overcome overthinking about another person’s behavior. She suggested finding five reasons why their behavior was not really about us. They could have just received negative feedback from their own boss. Or, they are stressed about their own deadline. By thinking constructively, we can reduce feeling like we are the cause of a tense situation.
  • Positive Constraints – We can create our own “time container” aka a deadline to decide or complete the project. For example, if we have a month to complete a project, it may take us the entire month as an overthinker. But if we give ourselves a “container ” or deadline of a week, we will force ourselves to meet this deadline. Positive constraints can help us make decisions and stick to them.

There are many ways to overcome overthinking. Labeling our thoughts, conserving our decision-making energy, and optimizing our decisions will help us stop overthinking. As we learn to trust ourselves and our judgments, we can stop overthinking so we can better show up and contribute at work.

Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full LIVE version of this LIVE.


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