Updated: Nov 30, 2020
We may be missing out on something great when we overanalyze things.
Analysis paralysis – I have heard this mentioned a few times when describing something that happens during meetings and discussions.
People get into the nitty-gritty of a given situation or circumstance that the reason for the meeting or finding a solution to an issue or problem gets drowned in all the questions, suggestions, suppositions, jockeying, and theories.
In the end, they were no better off when they started. So much has been discussed and no action is done. What a tiring exercise!
Psyching myself out
I have not been in a meeting like that for some time now, but I must say that I’ve done that to myself several times while in the process of making a decision. I look at all sides of a situation and think of different scenarios if I go towards decision A, B, C, or D.
Sometimes, there are only two choices and I think of several possible outcomes that in the end I psych myself out and decide not to do anything.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with thinking things through. God made us to use our minds and think and not just follow blindly. This is why He has given us free will to make decisions for ourselves.
I find that when I begin to overthink in my decision-making it usually means I am fearful of something.
I am afraid of making a decision because I’m afraid of change. New things are scary because you absolutely have no idea of what’s going to happen. There’s no experience to look back at and serve as a reference point. There is no history to learn from. There is no way to exercise some sort of control over something that you’ve not encountered before.
You’re stepping into something that may turn out to be a horrible experience. You don’t want to make a mistake or fail. If that’s not fear and panic, I don’t know what to call that then.
Leadership, um, not for me
For three years I worked faithfully as an online English trainer for Europeans. I studied, prepared and gave my best for every lesson. Once in a while when asked about things at the workplace I would give my opinion but mainly minded my own business and remained under the radar.
One time, I was asked to apply for a team manager position. It was exciting but at the same time scary. I had just started taking a couple of courses at my old university hoping to work my way through a master’s degree. After graduating, I planned to go overseas and put my degree to use.
I easily turned the position down because that was not my goal and I was scared of being thrust into leadership. Working in the background had always been a comfortable spot for me. I always avoided the huge responsibility of leading people.
Now or never
Less than a year later, the position opened up again and for the second time was offered to me. As my country manager explained to me what was going on in our team, my head was in a fog. It was surreal to be talking to the big boss and being offered the same position for the second time.
I was given a day to reach a decision so I went to God in prayer again. I was nervous but pensive and not ready to write it off. I had no courses holding me back as we were in the middle of semestral break. Getting offered a major promotion twice doesn’t happen often, does it? Amidst all the thinking, analysis, suppositions, and worst case scenarios imaginings, I was actually ready.
I knew that I was going to face a big problem when I take on the job, and yet I had peace in my heart. It was God who assured me that He had my back.
I began to mentally prepare to tackle head on what was ahead of me because I was going to hit the ground running very fast.
In the four years that followed, my team and I worked hard and we were able to go above and beyond all expectations. From being known as the team plagued with numerous issues, we became the team to beat in terms of evaluation ratings and team engagement.
If I had turned down the promotion again, I wouldn’t have experienced God’s faithfulness in navigating me through the complexities of team leadership, team building, and teamwork. I learned a lot about people and myself. I experienced grace through my mistakes. I learned once again to trust God to carry me through as I faced very challenging team members and circumstances.
It was overwhelming as I found myself totally inadequate but able to achieve a lot because of God’s guidance. Through adversity, I learned how to manage people and situations I normally avoid. It was humbling to be surrounded by people who were more talented, experienced, and intelligent than me but were willing to follow my lead. I was honestly surprised to find out later that I earned their, my colleagues, and boss’ respect.
Thinking is good. Analysis is good. When you find yourself doing more of those things and moving farther and farther away from reaching a decision though, ask yourself, “What am I scared of?” It’s best to face that fear and ask help from God who always has your back. You can’t let fear rob you of what could be some of your best experiences yet.