Are you the kind of person who overthinks and overanalyzes everything so much that you end up working less effectively than you'd like?
The good news is you're not alone. It's a trait shared by many, many people--particularly those in leadership. The bad news: it needs to stop, because it's causing you to be less productive and wasting your time on worry and anxiety.
Here are the top seven ineffective thoughts my coaching clients have reported to me:
1. Worrying whether people they like you or not.
Given any group of co-workers, it's extremely unlikely that you can please them all. Some people will like you and others may not. Concentrate on doing what you do and doing it well. Don't concern yourself with what others think and say; stay true to yourself, be genuine, do great work, and let your record speak for itself.
2. Anxious about feeling inadequate and incompetent.
Most of us sometimes have thoughts about not being good enough or smart enough, and few people feel 100 percent ready when opportunities arise. But new experiences and opportunities come to us when we push ourselves past our comfort zone--sometimes even before we're ready! Don't allow fears of being inadequate to keep you from what you are meant to do and be.
3. Concerned about being perfect.
I am sure you have heard it many times before, but worrying about being imperfect is a waste of time. As human beings we often chase states of perfection: the perfect job, the perfect workplace, the perfect boss--but that perfection doesn't exist. Think of life instead as a continual evolution where everything is constantly changing. If you're feeling stressed and distraught about things not being perfect, let it go and move on.
4. Fearful of mistakes and failure.
Let's start with some truth: everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has failed at something, has had to abandon a project, has had a venture backfire. It happens to us all. But it becomes a problem when stress is the norm, when you feel you can't recover or that you're irretrievably stuck. Remember, you have the power to shape your future, and you control the direction of your thoughts. Failure is not falling down; failure is staying down and not getting up.
5. Distressed about lacking confidence.
Everyone feels lack of confidence at times--it's just that some are better at hiding it than others. The more troubled you are by it the more of a problem it will become. Concentrate on the skills and abilities you have and not those you lack, and continuously push yourself forward. Once you know you're moving in the right direction, keep your momentum going.
6. Apprehensive about other people's opinions.
Disagreement and even conflict don't have to be a source of anxiety. Accept constructive criticism and ignore negativity. People's opinions do matter, but at the end of the day, the best person you can rely on is yourself. So trust yourself more and give your instinct permission to kick in and help you out when you need it most.
7. Shameful of past failures.
If you think of failure as something bad it will be harder for you to succeed, because failure is integral part of success. No matter how many times you fail, don't allow it to become a source of shame. All the ideas that don't work are stepping stones to the idea that does. Failure is not fatal and it's nothing to be ashamed of.
One of the best things you can do for yourself is to learn to stop spinning your wheels with ineffective thinking. Govern your thinking and success will be that much easier to attain.