“How does over-thinking serve you in a positive way?” my group member asked.
We had gathered into groups of three, tasked with identifying a trait or skill we don’t like about ourselves and turn it into a positive. A concept, I learned as a first-timer at the Gestalt International Study Center (GISC) on Cape Cod, referred to as Well Developed/Less Developed.
I didn’t answer the question right away. I never thought about my ability to over-think in a positive way.
Big ideas and solving problems excite me. As a result I spend a lot of time thinking. Sometimes my brain feels so full I imagine smoke billowing from my ears right before my head explodes.
Yet with the support of this peer group, they helped me see that over-thinking allows me to analyze problems from all angles and come up with solutions others might miss.
In that moment I became an expert at analyzing problems from all angles.
My challenge for the weekend (and area of development moving forward): Turn some of that thinking into action.
Especially if the thought or idea isn’t fully formed.
My insides stirred.
I accepted the challenge. After all, what good is attending a personal development weekend if you’re not willing to do the work?
So, I committed to share my ideas more during group interactions and social conversations. Each time my stomach turned…less and less.
Thanks to my experience at GISC, I walked away with two big lessons and one reminder:
First, I am not broken. When stuck in a cycle of over-thinking I often feel broken and in need of fixing. Not to mention mentally exhausted! I learned I don’t need to stop thinking. Instead I need to press pause on thinking and take more action.
Second, thoughts and ideas don’t need to be fully formed to put them into the world. One group member suggested that by sharing my thought when not fully formed I provide a starting point for others to brainstorm and contribute. I had never considered that as a potential benefit.
Finally, I was reminded that community and relationships are everything. Having the right support systems to question our assumptions, in a respectful, encouraging way, can make life and work challenges feel more manageable.
Even after that experience, I’m still committed to the challenge of thinking less and acting more both in my personal and professional life.
Take this blog post for example. At the GISC event, I told their Communication Director I’d love to write a reflection piece for their blog. And every day after that I thought about what angle to take, what a-ha moment to share, and whether my voice would be a good fit for their audience.
And then my head felt like it might explode.
What ideas are stirring in you? How can you take one small step to turn them into reality? What support do you need to make it happen?
This post first appeared on the Gestalt International Study Center blog.