It's a good idea to think things through, especially for major decisions. But sometimes people over-think a situation, even when the decision is relatively small. Welcome to the world of the "overthinker," one of the eight "impostors" I've identified as a saboteur of people's behavior.
As a life coach working in Hollywood, I've seen how the "overthinker" can cause someone to put their life on hold, miss opportunities, and end up not fulfilling their dreams and life's purpose. In fact, many live a life of perpetual regret where everything is a "should have, would have, could have" scenario -- that penny stock you had your eye on and refused to take a risk on that shoots up 100 points in the first week, the scholarship you were eligible for but never applied to, the beautiful acquaintance you never had the courage to ask out who finds love elsewhere. These regrets are completely avoidable... if you know how to take charge.
The "Overthinker" in Action
Here's what a typical "overthinker" looks like:
- The "overthinker" is someone who is scared of the future and who doesn't believe in him or herself.
- As a child, they were often told that they weren't good enough or smart enough.
- As an adult, they believe they are only worth what they contribute. The "overthinker" only speaks when it can be certain of showing others that it's smart or interesting.
- "Overthinkers" don't know how to make a decision. Therefore, their default action is to not make decisions, stalling progress in their life.
Think of the "overthinker" as the overlooked middle child who always seemed duller in comparison to its dynamic siblings. Because they grew up questioning their self-worth, they are now plagued with indecision.
But is overthinking really that bad? Doesn't it pay to prepare and consider your options instead of acting impetuously?
The short answer is no. Overthinking is not about ruminating with reflection, which can be helpful in confronting issues and solving personal problems. Rather, overthinking is more like perpetual worrying, a mental process that hinders actually finding the resolve and motivation to act. This is why they are often mired in indecision, fear, and negativity.
How to Deal With the "Overthinker Impostor"
Interacting with the "overthinker impostor" (as well as living as an "overthinker") can be frustrating indeed. In order to keep your sanity and get things done, try these suggestions:
If you know an "overthinker" who is a chronic procrastinator about getting things done, understand that your friend may fear failure... and success. Help them help themselves by putting the steps together. Brainstorm what skills they would need to develop to achieve success and help keep them accountable to their goals by finding classes and mentors. Mentorship is a great path; just find leaders in your field and ask to be their assistant or intern and learn about how they achieved success in return!
There are sometimes "overthinkers" who procrastinate getting a life. They don't know what they're doing or where they're going. Sit down with them and ask what would make them happy. Help them write down their skills. Sometimes, it is helpful to find a coach or therapist that can guide them in their process.
Are you dating an "overthinker"? If your partner is not willing or able to commit in your relationship, ask them what they are looking for in a relationship to see if you match their core values. If they can't commit, then you're just not matched. Don't let them waste your time -- it's time to move on. Also, play Beyonce's "Put a Ring On It" as your personal anthem.
Stop Thinking and Start Doing
If you're prone to excessive worrying and overthinking, rest assured that this "impostor" can be ousted. Remember that the "overthinker" is not you; it's merely a mask keeping you from discovering your authentic soul. By recognizing the "overthinker" and taking measures to prevent its influence, you can finally reassert your life's direction and begin living the life you've always wanted.
Exercise: Sit On It
One of my best friends has a great take on how to make difficult decisions. She's a yoga/meditation teacher, and whenever she isn't sure which decision is right she smiles and says, "I'll sit on it!"
This means that she'll sit in meditation, asking her heart and the universe for guidance in making the decision. Rather than acting out impulsively or trying to make a decision amidst chaos, she becomes still and listens to her authentic soul. Although it sounds like a cheeky answer, it also makes her a trustworthy friend. Whenever she replies with this, everyone knows that she will give the question the proper time and respect. Whatever her decision is, people generally respect it more than others' snap judgments.
So when you're facing a difficult decision, give yourself the time and space to listen for the answer. Find a comfortable space out in nature if you can, and sit in silence. With this clarity of mind, you can move forward with a decision that you can stick with.
About the "Impostors"
The "Impostors" are the cast of characters that star in Lisa Haisha's Soul Blazing. They could be a metaphor for the "masks" that you wear, especially when confronted with something that you fear. Sometimes they're the voice in your head telling you that you're not good enough, or reiterating negative conversations or experiences from your past that keep you stuck, like quicksand that keeps you from picking yourself up. These pesky devils are the saboteurs and squatters that live in the temple of your authentic soul, and keep you from shining bright!
There are eight impostors in this cast, and they are:
The Wounded Inner Child
The Over Thinker
The Sex God(dess)
Find out which "impostor" is residing within you by taking this free quiz.