Failure to Launch: How to Overcome Overthinking

How many times have you had a fantastic idea, whether for a business, an invention, a book, or just a random app? You have the “aha!” moment. You talk about it with your closest friends and colleagues. You even start sketching and researching how you can produce the idea and imagine how it will revolutionize life as you know it.

And then you think about it some more…

Then you tweak it a bit more...

Now you should sleep on it...

And then you do nothing.

It’s a case of the infamous overthinking.

There are some people who are professional overthinkers. These people can take an hour each morning contemplating which of their six white dress shirts will work best for that day’s meeting and end up walking out the door still unsure and unsatisfied.

Then there are those who are typically quite decisive but fall into a sudden frenzy of overthinking when faced with the fear of the unknown. This nagging fear can leave them frozen in their tracks—a position they may otherwise be unfamiliar with.

We’re all inclined to a bout of overthinking, but there is a huge difference between mulling over a decision and allowing a decision to paralyze you to the point that you never take that first step.

Along with these two polar opposite ways of overthinking comes a myriad of potential “psychological” explanations: Fear of failure. Fear of success. Lack of discipline. Lack of knowledge/resources.

You have to get to the root of your over thinking in order to figure out how to overcome that barrier.  

Make it different this time.

These are a few things that work for me…

1. Keep Yourself Accountable

Just telling someone about my goal or idea gives me an inner accountability that has proven to really push me to finish or follow through on something.

2. Take Advantage of Resources

There are tons of resources out there to help you get the job done, and it’s easier than ever to find them. I pop things in the search bar, and instantly, thousands of answers and articles pop up. Locally, I like to explore the library, remain active in small business associations, and pay attention to start-up and networking events. It’s amazing how one strategic meeting or conversation can open up the floodgates.

3. Ship It

I have a great friend that uses this expression for that moment when you are working on something, and it’s time to let it go and make it work for you. That moment when it’s good, and examining it over and over again to change the slightest something is not going to make it any better.

4. Remain a Student

I talk to others that have gone before me. People like to share their success stories and their expertise with others. I know that I love to help people that are walking a path that I may have already traveled. I love spending time with people who have great ideas and make things happen; you always have something to learn.

Taking a few small steps can be the difference between “I did it!” and “I wish I had done that.”

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.

- Sydney J. Harris


What holds you back? What held you back from launching or producing that last big idea—or even that last little idea—that could have been but never really was?

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