Life can be complicated. Some people’s lives are more complicated than average while others seem to be able to keep everything super simple. What makes it that way?
I’ve gradually become more aware of the areas in my life that I tend to overcomplicate and in general it’s because I’m overthinking things and I recognise that others may experience it too.
For me it’s in relation to planning and preparing, particularly when it comes to team sessions and presentations where there is an intended outcome(s) and, from my perspective, many ways to get there. I generally end up going off on different tangents in the planning stages and spend time exploring various ways to get certain messages across before crystallising my thoughts and finalising the presentation. My aim is to ensure that everyone benefits and while the intention is positive my habit doesn’t serve me well.
I end up over-thinking the whole thing and then find myself caught up in details which probably will go unnoticed by most in the group and were probably unnecessary in the first place. As with any behaviour, it took Nick bringing it to my attention (several times!) before I finally acknowledged it and realised how hard I was making things for myself. I am getting much better; practice and experience (and Nick) are great teachers and I have found a couple of strategies that work well.
My realisation gave me the opportunity to explore what was driving that behaviour and I have come to the conclusion that there are several aspects. One is achievement; my desire to do the best job I can to get the best result for those I work with. Another is uncertainty; every group is different and I’m never absolutely certain in advance that the session is going to work well for them. The third is my desire to pass on as much knowledge or information as possible in the time available, believing that to be useful.
I discovered that all these aspects, while they could be seen as helpful, diminished my ability to be flexible, authentic and measured and support the group’s engagement. My new strategies have included reducing the time I allow myself to prepare and allowing the session to flow in a more dynamic way guided by the conversation in the group at the time and their need for more or less detail at any stage.
Yes, life can be complicated and being human we have the ability to make it far more complicated than necessary, so I leave you with this quote to contemplate, attributed to Einstein “everything must be made as simple as possible and not one bit simpler”. Note to self and maybe one for you too!