This is an edited version of a podcast episode. If you prefer to listen, click Make Me Whole Podcast to find this and all my other episodes.
Welcome back to another installment, friends! You know this is your sanctuary for soul-searching and some Real Talk. If you’re joining us for the first time, I’m so excited that you’re here! So go ahead and grab your favorite cozy blanket or get in the car and drive because we’re going to dive deep into something we all do but wish we didn’t: overthinking. Alright, let’s get into it!
Overthinking. I like to call it the Mental Hamster Wheel. You’re running and running and running, but really going nowhere. It’s emotionally draining, as well as mentally exhausting. It can rob you of the joy of the present moment. I believe in the power of boundaries, as you all know, and that includes self-imposed mental boundaries to prevent your mind from wandering into a danger zone. Have you ever noticed how overthinking costs you more than just mental peace? It can cost you opportunities, relationships, and yes, even that job promotion you’ve been striving for. Because let’s face it, nobody ever got ahead by just sitting there and daydreaming about all the things that could go wrong. You’ve got to act.
Now, story time. I’m sharing this example from my own experiences to illustrate just how paralyzing overthinking can be. Several years ago, I was given an incredible opportunity to lead a project that was a stretch for me. I had every reason to say no. I wasn’t experienced enough, it seemed risky, the stakes were really high. My brain started to get stuck in a spiral of excuses, but guess what? I noticed the pattern, chose to break out of it, and took the leap. It ended up being the defining choice of my career! Now it has become a story that I can now share to inspire others. Sometimes I imagine how my life would be different if I had let myself overthink my way out of it. I’m always so glad I bet on myself, and would still be proud of that choice, even if it hadn’t turned out as well.
So let’s talk about YOUR mindset. Your brain is a supercomputer, and inputting negative thoughts will only output negative thoughts. However, with determination, tools, and resources, your programming can be adjusted. When you shift from self-doubt to self-assurance, you open a world of possibilities. In other words, you’ve got this. And if you’re in a place where believing in yourself feels impossible, lean on the belief of your loved ones or a therapist until you can carry it for yourself.
We’ve got to talk about the unhelpful people around us, too. You know who I’m talking about. Those people who claim to be in your corner but who always have a way of making you second guess yourself. Remember that while feedback can be valuable, not all critics are created equal. You have the right to decide whose opinions are worth heeding. Keep the ones who uplift you and challenge you.
At some point, we’ve got to switch gears from contemplating to actually doing. We’ve got to turn our “What if?” into “Let’s go!”. There’s something liberating about just taking the plunge and just learning as you go. If you keep waiting for the perfect moment, it will likely never come. So go ahead, make your move and know that you have what it takes to rise to the challenge. Friends, life is not a rehearsal. It’s a live show. You are not guaranteed a do-over at the chances you didn’t take. Overthinking gives the illusion of control, but life is most rewarding when we relinquish that control and open ourselves up to possibilities.