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When “knowing yourself” becomes a liability

As we talked about last week, it’s very important to take time to reflect and ask for feedback in order to increase self awareness in leading a partnership or a team. If you missed last week’s post, check it out here. After this post last week, a very self-aware friend and colleague asked a very important question that inspired me to write this week’s post. Is it possible to do too much self reflection? While I think that most of the time, our challenge is that we don’t take the time to reflect or ask for constructive feedback, it is definitely possible to do too much self reflection. This is especially true when you are reflecting so much that you are paralyzed from taking action or you second guess every decision you make.  Join me this week as we explore 3 signs that indicate you may be doing too much self reflection!

  1. Inaction.  If you find yourself paralyzed in decision making because you are always reflecting on whether or not you are making the right decision, you may be reflecting too much.  If you find yourself trying to be perfect before you take the next step, you may be reflecting too much. When you get to this place, I encourage you to reduce your reflection time and use that time to develop action steps related to the area you are most reflecting upon. What are the next 3 steps you can take based on what you’ve learned? Once you have determined these, take step one!
  2. Overthinking. Do you find yourself trying to gather more and more information considering a thousand potential options or perhaps replaying three or four in your mind over and over again? Do you keep asking for more and more feedback from others in order to be sure you have accurately assessed yourself? While self reflection and a desire for learning is really important in leading partnerships and teams, if you find yourself always thinking about possible options or ensuring you have figured everything out correctly, you may be overthinking and over self-reflecting.  If you can relate to this, try developing a list of bullet points on what you know and don’t know about a situation and then decide what you will do next – or who you will ask for help. Sometimes, when we overthink a situation, we may be spending too much time with ourselves and making it about ourselves when we really need to seek someone else’s expertise and support in order to move forward.
  3. Obsessing. Do you replay your conversations and your meetings over and over again trying to figure out what you might have done incorrectly or what needs to be improved? Do you keep wondering what people think of you and how you are perceived as a leader?  While it is important to reflect and ask these questions, be careful that they don’t consume you. You may then be tempted to overthink – and then have difficulty taking action! I encourage you to take notes on how you would like to improve or areas you want to improve as a leader as well as notes on what went really well and how you have successfully impacted others through your leadership. If you need help, ask for feedback from some of your closest, trusted colleagues and friends.

As leaders, if we spend time in self-reflection, it is important that we try to find a balanced perspective.  Reflect on what works well as well as those areas that could be improved! When you find yourself obsessing, overthinking or struggling with taking action,
pause, take notes (or draw a picture) and ask for help from a close, trusted colleague in moving forward.

I relate most with the obsessing one. The recovering perfectionist and people pleaser in me tends to focus a little too much on what didn’t go so well instead of remembering what did go well.  🙂 So what about you? Do any of these resonate with you?  

If you missed my Facebook Live on this post, check it out here

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Photo by Cristina Pop on Unsplash

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