Stop Overthinking For Work Success
According to a recent study, 73% of 25- to 35-year-olds chronically overthink, and 52% of people ages 45 to 55. Overthinking can prevent us from applying for a job, making a decision, completing a project on time, and so many other things. It is critical for us to learn how to stop overthinking for work success.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn. She interviewed Executive Coach and Leadership Coach, Melody Wilding.
They shared tips and personal stories about how to stop overthinking for work success.
1. Sensitive Striver
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, the term sensitive strive was discussed. Sensitive Strivers are those who strive to achieve career success and are also very attuned to the world around them. These people are often highly sensitive, which can cause them to be overthinkers. Overthinking can prevent us from securing a promotion or applying for a new job.
Consider the following:
- Trust Ourselves – As highly sensitive people, we may feel like we can’t trust ourselves. This is because we’ve been conditioned to believe our judgments can’t be relied upon. For example, we finally decided to apply for a job and didn’t get an interview. Instead of moving on, we believe our decision to apply for the job was a mistake; therefore, all of our decisions are wrong. Trusting ourselves and our judgments is critical to achieving career success. Learning how to stop overthinking will help us begin the process of trusting ourselves.
- 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 about what they are saying. We will notice subtitles in body language and be able to read a room quickly. However, many overthinkers cannot process all of this information effectively. The key is to channel this information positively.
- Communication – As sensitive strivers, we can sense what people need, and pick up on body language and tone of voice, which is central to being a good communicator. We need to lean into our ability to sense what people need. For example, if we feel our boss is overwhelmed, we can offer to take something off their plate. This will help increase our visibility with our boss and use our sensing strength to our advantage.
Being a sensitive striver can be very helpful in the workplace. However, the key is ensuring we process all the information we notice positively and effectively.
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:
- Rumination – Rumination is when we 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, and we continued to replay that moment repeatedly in our minds. We will ruminate on our mistakes, which can prevent us from moving forward.
- Future Tripping – Future Tripping is having anxiety over the future. For example, we may have a meeting with senior leadership coming up, and we are worried about flubbing our words during the meeting. We’re worrying about the future at the expense of being in the present moment.
- Analysis Paralysis – 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 job offers and can’t figure out which one to choose, we don’t respond to any of them.
- Perfectionistic Overthinking – This is feeling like there is only one right way, and we have to figure out what it is. For example, if we are working on a graphic for a marketing project and we miss the deadline because we can’t stop making edits.
- Maximizers – These people examine every option and try to find the exact right fit. For example, we may be in charge of purchasing new desk chairs. 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 cost the company time, and our colleagues didn’t get new chairs until well after the time the chairs were needed.
We can keep a log of the types of overthinking during our day or week. This will help us identify our patterns. Then, we can find the solutions that will be the most effective for us.
3. Overcoming Overthinking
Overthinking can truly paralyze us and create a lot of 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:
- Label Thoughts – Often, when we overthink, we listen to a critical mean voice. It’s 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 separate ourselves from the thought. For example, during the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica said one of her clients labeled the thoughts celery. This way, when the negative thoughts started happening, her client could say, “Celery, I’m not listening to you today.” This can help us take power away from negative thoughts.
- Satisficing – One way to overcome overthinking is to embrace satisficing. This is an approach to decision-making. It is satisfying and sufficient mushed together. Satisficers find the best choice at the moment, and they make decisions more quickly. For example, if we are creating graphics for a social media campaign and have worked for hours on the graphics. Instead of missing the deadline because we don’t think the graphics are perfect yet, we go with the best one at the moment. Satisficers go with the good enough, and research has shown they are happier and get better outcomes because maximizing comes with many costs and delays.
- Conserve Energy – Another way to overcome overthinking is to conserve our decision-making energy. For example, create processes or systems for small decisions, like what to wear, so we don’t have to spend a lot of energy making those decisions. Then, we will have more energy to make the bigger decisions. Steve Jobs always wore the same outfit every day, so he didn’t have to spend time thinking about what to wear.
- 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 about us. They could have just received negative feedback from their boss. Or, they are stressed about their deadline. There are many reasons our boss is short with us that have nothing to do with us.
- Optimize – When making a choice, we must consider our key decision-making criteria. What are we trying to optimize for? Are we trying to optimize for ease, convenience, cost, and customer satisfaction? Instead of having several criteria to guide our decision, have one. For example, making our decision based on cost alone will help us to make a decision much more quickly because we are only looking at one criterion.
- Positive Constraints – We can give ourselves a container 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. However, if we give ourselves a container of a week, we force ourselves to focus and get the project completed. 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 for work success.
Check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel if you want to see the full LIVE version of this LIVE.
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