How to stop overthinking your next career move

June 17, 2020

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Prefer to read? The transcript is below 🙂

Hey, it’s Iris, and welcome back to my channel!

Do you have a tendency to worry, overthink, and overanalyse things?

You’re not the kind of person who just leaps, and has faith that everything will be okay. 

So, when it comes to, for example, planning your next career move, you want to make sure you’re making the right decision – and minimise the risks that come with making a move. Plus, you don’t want to regret your decision later. 

But, as a result, you find yourself asking questions like: 

  • What happens…. if my boss finds out that I’m applying for other jobs? 

  • What happens… if I take the job and I’m terrible at it? 

  • What if I don’t like the job? Or the company? Or my boss? 

  • What if I don’t make it through probation? 

  • What if they have a redundancy round coming up, will I be the first one to go? 

Or maybe you find yourself thinking….

  • Will my CV be good enough? Will they laugh at me when I apply for that role? 

  • What if I apply, get the job, but the pay is terrible?

  • What if they want me to start straight away? I have 3 months’ notice on my current job. 

  • What if an even better opportunity comes up at the company I already work for, but I’ve already accepted another job elsewhere? 

If you’ve found yourself nodding along, know that you’re not the only one having these thoughts. I’ve seen many people having the same kind of inner battles. 

It’s very normal to have these thoughts, so don’t beat yourself up about it. That said, these thoughts aren’t particularly helpful. You know that as well as I do. 

So, in today’s video, I’m going to share some tips to help you stop worrying, overthinking, and overanalysing your next career move. 

But before I do that, please like this video if you like it, and hit the subscribe button and the bell right next to it, to get notified whenever I post a new video. It not only means a lot to me, but if you’ve been liking my videos, why wouldn’t you hit that thumbs up button and subscribe button? 

Alright, let’s start with why you might be overthinking and overanalysing everything. 

Am I right to guess that you don’t like uncertainty? Don’t worry – most people don’t. 

We humans are hardwired to avoid uncertainty. Your brain likes to be in control, and likes to know what’s going to happen. 

Studies have shown that a sense of uncertainty about the future generates a strong threat or ‘alert’ response in our brain. Our brain perceives uncertainty as a type of pain, something to be avoided. 

Certainty on the other hand feels rewarding, and we tend to move towards it…

That brings us directly to…

Another reason why you might overthink, and overanalyse. And that is because you believe it’s helpful.

You believe it’s helpful to weigh up all the options, and go over everything in great detail. 

And yes, there absolutely is merit in doing that, but it gets problematic when you take it too far. It gets problematic when you don’t know when to stop thinking and analysing. 

There’s a point where you have done your due diligence, where you have enough information, where you’ve weighed off the pros and cons, where you’ve thought things through. 

And yet, you might feel that it’s not enough. You need more information, you need more answers, you need more certainty. 

And that’s the crux: when it comes to making your next career move there is always going to be an element of uncertainty. You will never have all the answers and be 100% sure that you’re going to make the right decision. 

You have to try, that’s the only way to move forward in your career – and in life. 

That’s easier said than done, I understand that. So here are 4 things you can do to stop overthinking, overanalysing and worrying about everything. 

Step 1: step out of it

The first thing to do is to get out of your head. Break the cycle of thinking and analysing, and the way to do this is to literally stop thinking.

Go for a walk, or for a run. Take a shower. Cook. Meditate. Do yoga. Dance. Shake it off. 

This is especially important if you’re feeling very overwhelmed, not yourself, if you’re becoming very emotional, or if it feels like you’re about to have a panic attack, if you feel like you can’t escape. 

The aim here is to take a step back from whatever it is that you’re overthinking or overanalysing.

Step away from it, detach yourself from it emotionally, so you can get back to it with a more rational mind. 

It’s similar to when you’re having an argument. The best thing to do in such a situation is not to react, but to take a breath, take a break, and get back to it later. 

The 2nd thing to do is:

Step 2: ask constructive questions

Once you’ve stepped out of it, and you feel a bit calmer and less worked up or overwhelmed, you should ask yourself 3 constructive questions.

These are: 

  • What can I control in this situation? 

  • What’s the best thing I can do next? 

  • How much will this matter 5 years from now, 5 months from now, 5 weeks from now and maybe even 5 days from now?

The question “What can I control in this situation?” will help you focus on the things that you can change and the things that you can do something about. For example, if you’ve seen a job opening that you’re interested in, but you keep on thinking “What if I don’t like the job? Or the company? Or my boss?”, then instead of worrying about those things – ask yourself: “what can I control? What can I do in this situation?” Well, you could reach out to people who work at the company, and ask more about the culture. Or you could reach out to the person who’s currently doing that job or a job similar to it, and ask them to tell you more about it. 

So, then the next question ‘what’s the best thing I can do next?’ will help you to take action and get some extra answers or clarity. 

Then, finally, the question ‘How much will this matter 5 years from now, 5 months from now, 5 weeks from now and maybe even 5 days from now?’ could help you to put things into perspective. 

Let’s use the question “What if I don’t like the job? Or the company? Or my boss?” as an example. By asking how much will this matter 5 years, 5 months, 5 weeks or 5 days from now?” you might on the one hand realise that it does matter, because you’re talking about potentially your next job here – so in that case you’ll make it an even bigger priority to chat with people who work at that company or who do a similar role

BUT on the other hand, you might also realise that, in the grander scheme of things, it’s not a big disaster if you take the job and do end up not liking it – you can always leave and find another job, so it won’t really matter 5 years from now. 

The 3rd thing to do is:

Step 3: talk it through

Sometimes we really can be our own worst enemies, and we get wayyyy too caught up in our own thoughts. 

In situations like that, one of the best things you can do is talk it through with someone.

Sometimes simply getting something off your chest and talking it through, instead of mulling it over, can be enough. 

But it might also help to get someone else’s perspective, to help you see a different angle or side of the situation, something you hadn’t considered before. 

Just make sure that you choose wisely when speaking with someone – you want to speak with someone whom you trust, respect, and – very importantly – who knows how to listen.  

The 4th thing to do is probably the trickiest one, it’s: 

Step 4: learn to deal with uncertainty 

Look, life is inherently uncertain. You just can’t plan everything, or know all the answers. It’s just not how it works. 

BUT, if you’re very intolerant of uncertainty, you’ll likely try to plan and prepare for everything anyhow, as a way of avoiding or eliminating that uncertainty. That’s when you can get caught up in overthinking and overanalysing. 

So, if you want to address this problem by its root, then you need to somehow learn how to deal with uncertainty. 

One way to do this, is by starting small. So if you normally plan everything, then challenge yourself to let go of this tendency. Let’s say you’re planning a Saturday afternoon out with a friend. Normally you’re the one who’d plan it all and arrange all the details, for example that you’ll meet at 3pm at your favourite restaurant or cafe. Now, challenge yourself to either let them decide or to just say: “let’s meet at 3pm at yours, and we’ll decide then what restaurant or cafe we’ll go to”. 

Now, this is just a random example, but the key of it is to challenge yourself to not plan or prepare for something small that you would normally plan or prepare for. Then, next time, stretch yourself, and try not to plan or prepare for something a bit bigger. 

I’m not saying that you should just stop planning or preparing for stuff altogether, but simply to sometimes let things be, and let things unfold without trying to plan or prepare for it. 

It could really help you to stop overthinking and overanalysing the bigger things. 

Alright, those were my 4 tips to help you stop overthinking your next career move. Thanks so much for watching, if you watched this video all the way to here, I’m guessing that you liked it, so please leave a like… 

And let me know in the comments: which of the 4 tips I share with you did you find most helpful? 

Next week, I’ll be talking about whether or not you should contact recruiters when looking for a job… so if you want to know the answer to that, make sure you subscribe to my channel, and hit the bell right next to it, so you get a notification as soon as I publish that video. 

See you next week!

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