How to Shut Down Over-thinking

Named by Inc. as one of the top 100 leadership speakers, Shelley Row, P.E., is an engineer and former government and association executive. Shelley’s leadership work focuses on developing insightful leaders who can see beyond the data.

Learn to take back control of your decision-making!

Do you often feel that something just isn’t right, but you aren’t sure what’s bothering you about a particular situation? Do you fear your productivity has taken a hit because of the time and energy spent ruminating on decisions? You may be guilty of over-thinking!

Think about a tough decision that caused you to over-think. If you had been comfortable, you would have made the decision, but something makes you uncomfortable. That something shows up as a nagging feeling that you may try to ignore. If you ignore the nagging feeling, you ignore the data to be found there. Instead, learn how to unlock the data.

When you over-think, your tendency is to search for even more data. We think that there is one magical piece of information that will make an ambiguous situation clear. But, there is no magical piece of information. Rather than seek more data, you must, counter-intuitively, listen to the nagging voice. to leverage the intelligence embedded inside.  You learn to integrate information with intuition for astute action. Find out what’s really going on with the nagging feeling that keeps your decision-making stuck.

If you want to stop over-thinking once and for all, get under your hood and understand the source of your nagging feeling.


The nagging feeling may come from:

  •  a struggle with your values
  • a reaction to a person
  • a conflict with your work style 

Whichever it is, it’s taken control of your decision-making.

Unless you get under the hood and resolve the real issues, you leave valuable data on the table. It’s just data of a different sort. Learn to use this internal data to improve your decision-making and enhance daily interactions with staff, clients, and colleagues.

One leader put it this way: “The intuitive people, I think, will excel faster in a leadership position because of the uncertainty they have to make decisions. If you’re a facts-based person, you will get analysis paralysis because you will never feel comfortable with making a decision with a very small amount of information or data.”

If you want to stop over-thinking once and for all, get under your hood and understand the source of your nagging feeling. That understanding will point the way to new choices that allow you to decide and move on and that allows you and your staff take back control over your decision-making.  Resolve the nagging feeling. It might just be your secret weapon to no-nonsense productivity gains.


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