ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Lisa Rubinstein
Lisa Rubinstein Lisa Rubinstein is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Human Potential, an executive coach, trainer and the author of True Leadership The Source of Success. Phone: 0412 034 931. Email: lisarubinstein@thehpinstitute.com Website: www.thehpinstitute.com. Twitter: http://twitter.com/lisa_rubinstein. LinkedIn: http://au.linkedin.com/in/executiveexcellence.

Lisa Rubinstein has written 13 article(s) for us.

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Why Even Experts Choke

August 28, 2012 | Lisa Rubinstein

If you feel like you are over thinking everything, use these tips to help you regroup and get back on track.
If you feel like you are over thinking everything, use these tips to help you regroup and get back on track.

In May this year, Tiger Woods, arguably one of the most successful golfers of all time, was tied for 115th place as he continued to struggle to hit the ball.  While he shrugged it off as a bad day, I think something else was going on – he may have been thinking too much.

Bring to mind an activity that you are really good at and remember a time when you felt like you could do this forever. Time stood still or moved really fast and everything seemed effortless. That’s flow. It’s when your actions become intuitive and you cease to think consciously about what you are doing.

Great athletes, and leaders, have mastered being in flow and report that at the time they are just in the moment, very aware and alert, but not really thinking.

All that comes to a screeching halt if we start to think too much. We lose touch with our intuition and can think ourselves into a corner. It’s why seasoned athletes, performers, speakers freeze.

When you over analyse something you focus too much on the facts and cut yourself off from your emotional side which plays a critical role in the decision-making process. Research has shown that people who damage the emotional part of their brain lose the ability to make the right choice. We go for the option that looks best versus what feels best. Decisions made without emotions are more likely to be the wrong ones.

We can also be overwhelmed with data and unable to sift through to find the right way forward. Sometimes the numbers add up but it’s still the wrong thing to do. You need to be able to sift through the facts and trust your gut. It’s a fine balance between your logical and emotional brain that leads to the best decisions.

If you are caught in the overthinking trap, what can you do?

  1. Step away from the activity. Even if it is time-critical. I promise you that even five minutes away will give you a far better result than five minutes freaking out.
  2. Take time to calm your thinking. Go for a walk, grab a piece of fruit. The natural sugar will help feed your brain. Focus on your breathing for five minutes or do a mini-meditation. Each will leave you with much greater clarity and peace of mind that will help you get out of your head and get back in touch with your intuition.
  3. Then go back to the problem and take a broad overview, asking yourself what your first response is.

Notice that often your first observation is the right one learn to trust your gut.

Have you missed out on a particular opportunity by overthinking the situation? What changes did you have to make so you didn’t keep repeating your road block behaviour.

Comment below and share your thoughts.