To be a successful entrepreneur you must be able to generate new ideas and innovations in order to drive your business forward.
However, for some business owners – or would-be business owners – the entire process of starting a new venture can grind to a halt before it even gets off the ground.
It’s called overthinking or “paralysis by analysis”.
If you are thinking too much about every tiny detail – including worrying about all of the things that could go wrong – you could find that your planned venture comes to a shuddering halt.
Many people, especially those who are more logical or analytical, so-called left-brained people, tend to over analyze.
It’s definitely helpful to think through a project before you launch and weigh up the pros and cons of your decisions. But if your mind is working over time and stopping you from achieving your goals, something is wrong.
Here are some tips to help you stop overthinking and start doing more to move your business forward.
How To Stop Overthinking
#1. Make A Decision
Instead of overthinking your new venture and dissecting it to bits, take some action and make a decision.
Decide to set up your business. Decide to start your new project. Decide to write your blog post. Decide to create that first product.
Decide comes from the Latin word decidere which means to cut off.
When you make a decision you cut off all other options. You must move forward and follow one course of action to conclusion.
Stop dithering, be brave and dive in.
#2. Just Do It.
Often we are afraid to start something new in case it’s the wrong choice.
Maybe it’s the wrong business idea, the wrong step, the wrong passion that you’re pursuing.
It could well be but you won’t know until you make a move.
Don’t get too caught up in the detail or be afraid of making a mistake or not knowing enough.
You know more than you think and you are far better than you think. Start even before you’re ready.
In the words of Nike, just do it.
You can deal with any problems if they occur.
Quite often, once a project is launched, everything falls into place. It might take some effort or tweaking along the way, but you will get through any challenges that arise.
#3. Commit Fully To Your Business
A fear of commitment is usually associated with relationships, when one partner won’t give up their single lifestyle for a long-term relationship or marriage and all the responsibilities that come with it.
But commitment phobia can also show up in business.
Too many people are non-committal when it comes to their venture.
It’s as if they’re in a casual relationship with their business; they blow hot and cold, rarely committing 100% to it, and throw the towel in before they have given it chance to work.
Being an entrepreneur is not something you can turn on or off at will. You have to stick with it for the long haul, so it is very much like a marriage.
Don’t be seduced by the glamor of working for yourself. It isn’t the easy option, especially if you’re not the committing type.
Are you tough enough to see it through?
Are you truly committed to making your business work at all costs?
If you are then once you have launched your venture, your blog, your consultancy service, whatever it is – commit to it. Don’t let anything distract you from your end goal.
#4. Focus On Your Goals
I remember when I started my A Levels at college. I chose to study English Literature because I loved reading and was excited by the thought of diving into some of the great literary classics.
I bought all the books on the reading list before term began in eager anticipation.
But to my dismay, I found that much of the course was taken up with dissecting scenes, exploring characters and analyzing the motives of the authors.
All I wanted to do was enjoy the novels and plays by Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Emily Bronte. Yet I was expected to contribute to lectures and turn in an assignment every week.
It soon killed all my enthusiasm for the subject and I couldn’t wait to finish the course.
Overthinking in your business is a lot like this.
Thinking too much, researching for hours and excessive planning can all take you further away from your goals. Your inertia kills the buzz that initially got you excited by your idea and the thrill of starting up in business starts to fade.
Don’t let yourself become side-tracked by too much overthinking.
You have to make a start at some point or else you’ll never achieve your goals. Remind yourself why you started your business in the first place and stay focused on your vision.
#5. Break Things Down
Have you ever stood at the foot of a mountain, looked up and thought you’ll never make it to the top. That’s before you’ve even started climbing!
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed because a project looks too big or too complex.
You don’t know where to begin so you tell yourself that it isn’t possible.
Doubt creeps in and you worry about all of the things that could go wrong.
After working in project management for years I find that treating my business as a series of smaller projects helps me stop overthinking. There is so much to do in a given day that I don’t try to tackle everything at once.
That would drive me crazy!
I break down every large project into small, manageable parts and allocate days and times to each one.
This helps me be more productive because I am only focusing on one mini-project at a time.
For instance, if I am working on my blog, I may work on my editorial calender, research blog post ideas or reach out to other bloggers to build my network.
I work on each of these tasks one by one and leave coaching, marketing and product creation for another time because they aren’t related to what I am doing in that moment.
What one step can you take right now that will move you forward?
Don’t worry about it being too small, too hard or too easy. Do that one thing regardless how long your to-do list is.
The momentum of starting will keep you moving forwards. Stick to it and don’t move onto the next task until you have completed the first one.
#6. Don’t Ask Everyone’s Opinion
It might seem difficult, but you need to train yourself to avoid situations that can lead to overthinking. Typically, asking other people for their opinions can confuse you and cause you to think too much.
You come up with a great idea for a business and share it with your friends and family members. You’ve never been in business before so you’re not sure if it is the right thing to do or if it will take off.
However, their response is less than enthusiastic.
They point out some of the pitfalls of your new business, and tell you that because you’ve never done anything like this it’s probably too risky and is bound to fail.
You think about what they’ve said and decide to give up on your dream before you’ve even started.
While getting other people’s input can be helpful, if the advice is not coming from a qualified source – someone who has followed that path in business and succeeded, someone who has real-life general business experience themselves or someone who is your target customer – then you should think twice about taking it.
The wrong advice from the wrong people, no matter how well-meaning can cause overthinking and derail your plans.
It’s always wise to keep your ideas under wraps until you are ready to tell the world and even then to use some discernment about what you reveal and to whom.
#7. Avoid Negative Thoughts
Most of us think negatively from time to time and we don’t even realize that we are doing it.
But when you are overthinking you are locked into a negative thought process where your thoughts are usually fear-based – Am I good enough? Can I really pull this off? What if this happens?
Overthinking stops people from taking action and it leads to procrastination. No successful business person got where they are through constantly procrastinating and thinking too much.
Every time a negative thought arises, learn to stop it. Use techniques like positive affirmations and creative visualization.
#8. Try Some Healthy Distraction
Another way of avoiding overthinking is by consciously distracting yourself.
You can only effectively deal with one thing at a time. But when you are constantly overthinking, your mind is generating tons of thoughts and excuses to stop you from executing your business plan.
It’s time to take a break.
Distract yourself from thinking too much by going for a walk, listening to music, practicing a hobby or meditating. These are all great ways to slow your mind down and stop the onslaught of negative thinking.
Forget about perfection. Life isn’t perfect so your business won’t be either.
Some people try and think through every single detail of their business hoping to get things perfect first time. But perfection doesn’t exist so you could be waiting an awfully long time.
Instead of striving for perfection, just get started. You can work out the problems along the way.
If you have the seedling of an idea within you, then you have enough to start and to figure out how to get through any challenges that may arise.
By learning to curb your overthinking, you can take action towards your goals. Stop the cycle of negative thoughts today and start building the business you deserve.
Do you suffer from overthinking? What strategies have helped you stop thinking too much?