Not overthinking, just processing

TCWF Course Deliverer – Sarah Rayment

Sarah Rayment is our new Building Self-Belief Course Deliverer. She’s also a coach, writer and proud introvert. When it comes to The Colour model, she has a dominant Green personality. In her blog post, she shares the strengths and challenges of being a deep thinker.

Hands up if you’re an overthinker. Or you’ve been told you are by exasperated friends and family who can’t see what the problem is and why you can’t just make a decision!

What if I told you that you’re NOT overthinking, just processing?

Some of us are deep thinkers. We sift through layers of knowledge and experience, facts and figures, our instinct and other people’s potential thoughts, feelings and reactions before we make our next move.

Some of us focus on outcome and action first, move forward and then do the thinking we need to, if we need to.

Neither way is better. Just different. And, of course, there are plenty of in-between thinking systems too.

I sit firmly in the first category. Recently, I’ve discovered a way of describing my experience of thinking as having the whole world in my head at once. Before I can respond to a question or decision, I take into account everything that’s ever happened to me, to everyone I know, everything I know about the world (fortunately, that’s not much).

From the outside, this looks like overthinking. I mean, why do I need to consider all of this before I decide if I want tea or coffee???

I just do. It’s how my brain is wired… and I like it (most of the time).

On the inside, I’m going through a mental filing system until I find the answer. It’s methodical. I call it processing and it takes me longer than most people I know. But that’s OK!

If you’re like me on any level, you’ll know that this can be exhausting, and sometimes frustrating for you, and others.

With any thinking style, problems can arise. For the deep processors, this includes:

  1. When we’re trying to communicate with people who think differently. For example, the people who focus on outcome and action first and do the thinking later who might see us slow and indecisive – even when we’re not.
  2. When we’re having a bad day and there’s just so much to think about and process that we get stuck and we ARE indecisive Argh, the agony of indecision!

The antidote to both of these problems, as I see it, is awareness.

Once we understand and embrace the way our brains work (and dare I say, love the way our brains work), the magic happens!

  • We start to recognise our own thought patterns and processes.
  • We start to trust that we’ll get there.
  • We recognise that when frustration creeps in, we are probably stuck.
  • We recognise that when we keep looking at the same ‘mental file’ over and over again we are definitely stuck.
  • We learn to be patient with ourselves and those around us.
  • We start to see our superpowers and we see the superpowers of others.
  • And it’s our superpowers that help us to understand and embrace the way our brains work.

You see, as deep thinkers, we have a longing to understand everything. We unpick, we research, we learn from our experiences. We can step away from other people’s opinions and judgements to dig deep and discover. We are thoughtful and empathetic. We have incredible self-awareness and spot things in other people too.

The trick is to combine our self-awareness with taking action. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Our listening superpowers help us to build intimate relationships with others which makes us great team players. When we’re stuck, we can collaborate with others to speed things up, and get a little bit of reassurance, too.
  2. Our natural preference for reflection means we can spend some time noting down the things we’re likely to get stuck on so we can prepare ourselves to take action when they arise.
  3. Another of our superpowers is being adaptable. And because we consider everything, we’ve got the facts alongside the more nuanced thoughts, so we’re set up to change our communication style when we need to. We are perfectly capable of offering fast, no messing about, concrete solutions and focusing on action. We might just feel a little shaky afterwards.
  4. However, because we are adaptable. We’re so busy considering everyone else’s needs that we forget to advocate for ourselves. So, when we’re feeling pressured, it’s perfectly OK to say ‘I need a few minutes to process this,’ or to take ourselves off to a quiet space and work through things without interruptions.
  5. We do our thinking for a reason. By the time we’ve thought something through we’ve considered many different perspectives, and often ones that no one has thought of. We can have every confidence that what we have to say is valuable and worth speaking up about.
  6. Because we care about others, we can see that the person we’re communicating with might just need a quick answer and not be so bothered about the details. So, every once in a while, we can gently persuade ourselves to make a decision and think it through later. How liberating! Throw an idea out there, impress others with our quick thinking and creativity, then scurry off to enjoy a bit of processing time, with a cup of tea… or coffee… or tea… or something else.

Our brains are marvellous, aren’t they? Are you a processor too? We’d love to know, and happy thinking!



Find out more about our Colour Model.

Read about Charley’s experience of being a dominant Red personality.