Stepping Away From Overthinking
Is it just me or are we, as humans, over thinkers? You know, that little voice that rehearses every conversation after you've had it. Or a propensity to try to read between the lines of those comments that cut to the heart? Maybe it's my Meyers Briggs Personality Type: INTP. Emphasis on the T for thinking. But I've been experimenting with stepping away from overthinking.
I took a new job at the World Market recently. It seemed like a good fit. It's administrative. You have to be thorough. I'm thorough. Win-win. An additional bonus for me...you always work in the mornings. I can schedule appointments in the afternoon and evenings. I was sold. YES! Sign me up!
Did I mention the job is a little high profile? This person changes out the sale signs every day. They work on reports digging into why we changed a price to make sure the signage is correct. They research negative inventory numbers.
The biggest problem. There are hundreds of sale signs that need to come down on the correct date. Sometimes, I miss a few. In my defense, it's typed in a font of 6. But still, every time I miss a sign and a customer comes up with the product, we adjust to the sale price. In effect, if I miss a sign, I cost the company money.
Needless to say, in my training period, I'm receiving a good amount of feedback. Course correction, if you will. (Please see previous post on how I do with course correction). NOT GOOD!
Another feature of the job is to work the front register every morning so the department heads can work in their departments. All fine and good, but sometimes it's hard to be thorough and speedy and complete in the hour before the store opens.
It all came to a head last Thursday. I was rushed with my signs. Someone else was assigned to do the rest of my job as I worked the register. I overthought, as I am prone to do. Am I not working fast enough? Do they not trust me to do that other part of the job? What's with all the feedback? I'M FAILING! I've never failed at a job before.
By 10:30 am, I had steam coming out of my ears and I was plotting a way to look for a new job. A job with less feedback and more money.
Until I went home, vented a little, and thought it over. I thought it over to assess whether I was really failing. I thought about how I could do my job better. And I realized that I needed a little adjustment myself.
You see, I had been overthinking the whole thing. Instead of taking the feedback as instruction, I had been trying to figure out if my bosses were pleased with me. Was I in trouble? Did they think I was failing? Instead of serving at the front register where they needed me, I had interpreted the assignment of my co-worker to do my job as a sign they didn't trust me.
The reality...they had said none of those things. And I would not know if they thought those things without talking with them about it.
Which brings me to one of my favorite coaching questions: What are you making that mean?
To be honest, i've practiced this question on many of my friends and they all look at me like I'm crazy. Yet, it's a great question for us over thinkers.
You see, we make comments and thoughts from others mean something. We interpret what they say in a way that may get away from their intended meaning.
And because our minds are the way they are, we run with what we are making it mean. That Thursday, I ran with the fact that I was failing, my bosses didn't trust me, and regretted offering me the job. True confession: this spiraled down into business owning and leading and so much more after I left the store that day.
But we get to choose what we think about. We get to choose our attitude. We get to choose to not worry about the opinions of others and serve God first and foremost.
The next day, I went back to more signs and reports. But I also went back choosing not to overthink. I could choose to receive the feedback as feedback and not an indictment on my work or my value.
I could choose to see the assignment of my co-worker to do what is typically my job as just a need to get something done and not a lack of trust in me.
IT WORKED! I had a much better attitude on Friday. I had fun with my co-workers. And I started to enjoy my job just a little bit more.
You and I, we overthink a lot. What did my spouse really mean when he said that? What does it mean when my friends and family won't do that thing I asked them? What is my boss trying to say when he gives more kudos to my peers? What does it mean when someone doesn't stop to talk with us at church? And we overthinking without even thinking about it - unintentionally.
So, how do we step away from all this overthinking? One, we take it to God. We take every thought captive. We ask God what His truth is about the situation. And we live in HIs truth not our own interpretations.
Second, we choose to not overthink. We catch ourselves overthinking and we stop. We rest in God's goodness. We rest in His truth. We rest in knowing that we are enough just as we are and make it our goal to not overthink but take people at their word. .
Lastly, we start asking ourselves, "What are you making that mean?" And challenge it. We can start taking what's said at face value and stop trying to find the hidden meaning beneath their words.
One foot faith chooses to think God's truth. One foot faith can choose not to overthink our interactions with others. One foot faith can choose to replace our assumptions with the truth of God's Word.
Walking with you as we step away from overthinking.