How to Stop Overthinking and Grow Your Business
Do you find yourself spending too much time thinking rather than doing? Is your productivity, clarity of mind and entrepreneurial spirit suffering?
If so, you are probably an overthinker, which is likely holding you and your business back. Overthinking is different from guided self-reflection or problem-solving that drives action. It’s a recurring loop filled with anxiety and indecision that feeds on itself. Ultimately it obstructs business performance, impacts quality of life and prevents entrepreneurs from reaching their potential.
When we’re caught up in circular thinking, the temptation is often to try to think your way out of it. But that just adds fuel to the overthinking.
Read on to find out why many entrepreneurs suffer from overthinking and what you can do to stop overthinking to shift your mindset to grow your business and smash your goals.
What causes overthinking in entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are high achievers, passionate about what they do with a will to succeed. However, with this comes pressure to achieve as well as competing priorities which can impact negatively on life at home. These pressures can lead to growing frustration or anxiety with the entrepreneur ending up in this spiral of overthinking. Over time, this indecision could prevent the entrepreneur from pushing their business forward and achieving their potential.
We are taught that thinking is the golden key that solves all our problems. We’re told to “think about it” and “work it out”. However, some problems are not logical or rational and so cannot be solved in that way.
What is overthinking?
Overthinking by the dictionary definition is to “think about (something) too much or for too long.” These circular thoughts become excessive and emotional, rather than being based on logic. They may focus on regrets or past experiences, worries about an uncertain future, fear of failure, or self-doubt. When we apply logic to try to solve these emotional anxieties, the result is circular thinking.
As Einstein pointed out; "A problem cannot be solved with the same level of thinking that created it." When we try to solve problems, often we view the situation through the same set of filters that have created the obstacle.
Our brain looks for solutions that have worked before, which stifles creative problem-solving as we need to look for new ways to tackle and overcome the issue. This kind of thinking limits our ability to be innovative and identify the solutions and opportunities in a situation.
When intense emotions are involved, logic can fly out the window. The prefrontal cortex switches off and with it our ability to apply logic. This is a major reason why people fail to perform under the spotlight, even though they can perform with ease without pressure.
The penny drops with my coaching clients when we go deep into an analogy about a pilot relying on their autopilot. When we’re feeling anxious, we have a sense that we need to tighten control manually rather than relying on our autopilot to keep us on course.
If we don’t trust the autopilot, we have to do lots of checks and what-if scenarios to ensure a smooth flight. In a complex situation there may be too many for the pilot to handle easily.
The result is overthinking, circular thoughts, and brain fog, which hamper effective decision-making. We need to build a resilient mindset so that we can trust our autopilot again.
Why overthinking holds entrepreneurs back
Reputational damage as leader
Your team’s faith in you as a leader with a clear vision will be hampered if you are racked with indecision. This can be damaging as you attempt to lead your team with a shared purpose to grow your business.
Business growth stalls
Overthinking about important decisions will undoubtedly lead to the entrepreneur missing out on opportunities and having the self-belief to drive the business to reach strategic goals.
Innovation is at the heart of entrepreneurship, but if our brain is preoccupied with this endless paralysis-analysis, there is no room to think creatively. When we are in a rut of recurrent indecisive thoughts creativity does not feel free to express itself.
Procrastination and lower productivity
When we are caught in a cycle of indecision, our productivity is detrimentally affected too. The overthinker will procrastinate, stuck in thinking about the problem, rather than moving the needle forward. This stasis will result in guilt, a sense of failure with the resultant anxiety and worry feeding the overthinking. This pattern needs to be stopped before it further impacts the business and mental health of the owner.
Work life balance suffers
When overthinking takes hold it can be tricky to switch off outside of work. While we are absorbed in our thoughts, normal interaction is withdrawn and social cues get missed. The disconnection and disengagement can be worrying and often hurtful for loved ones and friends. It can even undermine well-deserved trust and sow the seeds of suspicion.
Entrepreneurial success is about more than just success in business. It’s about becoming the person you aspire to be and creating the lifestyle you want too. For many of us that means success in family, intimacy, fitness, health and other areas of life too.
You can have it all… But not if you waste time overthinking.
How to stop overthinking? What are the solutions?
If you find yourself going around in circles or trying to solve the same old problems time and time again, it's time to stop overthinking and take action so that you can reach your potential.
Start by quantifying the benefits of change
The first step is to acknowledge the pattern and when you do it. How much time do you lose each day or week? What effect does your overthinking have on others?
What would it be like for you if the overthinking was replaced by clarity, decisiveness and confident action?
What is the missed opportunity cost for you? When you understand how much you are missing out, it will be easier to commit to finding a way to stop.
If the answer to this last question is no, then it’s not really a problem. But if the answer is yes, it is time to get on with breaking what is probably a very expensive (and frustrating) habit.
Reignite your sense of purpose
As an entrepreneur, you know how it feels to have a powerful sense of purpose. Can you remember!?
Of course you can. It’s the driving force behind the thinking that conceived your business and source of the energy that’s got you this far already. Being caught up in the day-to-day running of the business, your vision can get buried. But with total clarity of purpose, you can return to this when you have been overthinking and take decisive action to get unstuck and power forward.
Make time for play
Recreation is about more than just having fun - although fun is of course a major benefit in itself.
Making time for recreation is a challenge for most of us, and especially for entrepreneurs who are so focussed on “their baby” (the business). But without time for play, creative expression will be stifled and the health of the business and owner will both suffer.
Replace overthinking with self-belief
Finding tactics to overcome your overthinking is vital. If you have been caught in a pattern of overthinking, it may have become such a habit that you don’t even believe it possible to change. That’s okay. It’s just your inner saboteur at work. I’ve been performance coaching for decades and there’s always a way to break this costly habit, so you can power forward as the mega-productive, get s*** done, dynamic superstar you are meant to be. Let’s do this!....
Are you ready to stop overthinking and grow your business?
PerformWell’s Entrepreneur Accelerator Programmes help entrepreneurs throughout their journey, tackling important issues, including overthinking, so they can perform at their best.
Everything that happens in your business is influenced by your decisions and your mindset, so the programme deep dives into your current mindset and helps you reignite your purpose so that you can take control of your personal life, grow your business, and reach your potential.
Does this sound like a plan?
Download the brochure today to find out more about the Entrepreneur Accelerator Programme and book your strategy call: