Are you thinking about a career change? It’s easy to over-think and talk yourself out of it, so here, David Goding explores ways to recognise and resolve your negative thought process.
By its nature, the workplace involves a lot of thinking and juggling multiple thoughts. Getting stuck in an over-thinking rut can severely undermine productivity, morale and workplace relationships and – in turn – even your prospects.
“We identify ourselves with our work and career. It is how we make money, connections and even socialise. We spend most of our day at work and over-thinking in this environment can cause problems with our self-esteem, be a major source of stress and can hinder our career advancements,” says Dr Debra Villar, author of Urban Woman Syndrome.
Ironically, being too cautious can be as deleterious as taking uncalculated risks and undermine the very goals to which you’re aspiring.
“Self-sabotage can occur when we fall into pitfalls of over-thinking at work,”
Psychologist, author of Stand Out and co-founder of Pragmatic Thinking Alison Hill.
“You’ll know you’re doing it if you’re guilty of one or more of the classic four ‘P’ techniques of workplace sabotage:
• Perfectionism: I’m not good enough if it’s not perfect.
• Procrastination: putting off the important.
• Pessimism: thinking the worst-case scenario.
• People-pleasing: doing what others want rather than being strategic.”
It’s easy to lose perspective in the day-to-day momentum and politics of the workplace, so it can be useful to disrupt the cycle and seek some distance. This may be by getting away for the weekend or turning off emails on your phone, taking a mental health day or seeking a supportive yet objective listener. The point is to step back and see your role for what it is. Ask yourself, ‘How could it improve, how could it become more efficient, and how could it become more enjoyable?’
“Write down the most important use of your time, to stimulate you into action,” says Hill. “Seek out regular feedback from those you trust.”
If you’re experiencing negative feelings towards an aspect of your job, it’s probably trying to tell you something.
“Negative emotions have a purpose,” says psychologist Rob Yeung, author of You Can Change Your Life. “They provide us with useful information by signalling to our brains that we should be taking some form of appropriate action. No-one is – or should be – impervious to feeling bad. An inability to experience unpleasant emotions would rob us of useful feedback – it’s a survival mechanism that tells us when we’re in a genuinely threatening situation. Or we might forge on regardless and never learn when we need to behave differently.”
Note those negative over-thoughts and move towards change.