By Stacey Shipman
“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, GISC refers to as Well Developed/Less Developed.
I didn’t answer the question right away because I’d never thought about my ability to over-think in a positive way.
I love big ideas and solving problems. 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 area for development and challenge for the weekend: Turn some of that thinking into action.
Especially if the thought or idea isn’t fully formed.
I could feel my insides stir.
I accepted the challenge. What good is attending a development weekend if you’re not willing to do the work?
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 the Gathering, 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 turn an idea into 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 manageable.
Nearly two months after the Community Gathering 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 Gathering I told Laurie I’d love to write a reflection piece for the GISC blog. And every day since I’ve thought about what angle to take, what a-ha moment to share, and whether my voice would be a good fit.
And then my head felt like it might explode.
Stacey Shipman believes everyone has a message that can make someone’s life better. She is the founder of Move.Breathe.Explore. (www.movebreatheexplore.com), author of Turn Speaking Stress into Success and speaks and blogs about using your voice to make a difference at www.staceyshipman.com.