Rehearsing how I want events to play out, reviewing conversations I had that day, thinking through what I want to tell someone tomorrow... I never thought my nighttime routine of thinking would become a problem.
I suppose thinking wasn't the problem... overthinking... that's what took my peace.
Suddenly, picturing the worst possible outcome and how I would handle it was a terrible anxiety-producing habit of mine. It was routine at night when my head hit the pillow. I would start to think about one event in my life until my mind snowballed it into incorporating all of my fears, doubts and shameful moments into one.
Overthinking robbed me of sleep, and the lack of sleep robbed me of my ability to think clearly. I was creating problems that didn't even exist and exaggerating the problems that did.
It took me many months to figure out that my overthinking had to go - and then it took many more months to actually learn how to control it.
Today, when I'm overthinking at night, I will first acknowledge what I'm doing, "Ellen, these are fears of yours, not your reality. You are overthinking this and creating anxiety that doesn't need to exist. Plus, you are not solving anything thinking up worst-case scenarios."
If I can't quiet my mind after another minute or two, I get up. Immediately. Sometimes just a drink of water can snap my mind back into reality. Other times, I will journal, meditate or even go sleep on the couch.
Taking action is the key to shaking my mind free from overthinking. Plus, acknowledging what I'm doing - and knowing now how much it does not help solve anything.
Rehearsing events, reviewing events, exaggerating events... this does nothing for your peace of mind. Regain control by learning to stop your overactive mind.
I find the most inspiration in hearing other people's stories and how they have overcome challenges in their lives. This is why I love interviewing leaders and entrepreneurs for my Minute Motivation series.
Here are some of the stories I've shared on-air recently.
Full interview with Malcolm Lemmons.
Full interview with Rebecca Linder.
Full interview with Josh Carin.
Bob Rosen, founder and CEO of Healthy Companies, sat down with me to answer the six Minute Motivation questions on how he has succeeded in business and life.
We talked about living with uncertainty, where to focus your attention to find balance and how he has stayed motivated to just finish his eight book, Conscious.
We also talked about Bob's recommendation for how to divide up your thoughts between living in the past, present and future.
If no one knows about your product, how can it help anyone?
I had a Marketing 101 lesson this week. A couple months ago, I created a YouTube channel to store all of my Minute Motivation videos and interviews. I naively thought people would find my content and subscribe to see the videos on their own.
[Insert Crickets Noise Here]
While people viewed my videos thousands of times on Twitter, Facebook, IGTV... my YouTube views were maybe 10 or 20 (on a good day). I realized that no matter how good the content is, if no one knows where to find it, they will never see it!
It would be wonderful to create a product and have people find it on their own, but that's not how it works. You must do the work to make sure people know about your product. If you really believe in what you are selling or sharing, it will be part of your purpose to tell others about it.
So, here is my YouTube page. Instead of just storing all of my content and never telling anyone where to find it, I hope that it will now help some people who need an extra dose of motivation in their day.
When you really want something, you will be endless in your pursuit to make it happen. You will find the time to get it done. You will wake up early, stay up late. Lose sleep, lose out on brunch with friends, lose your mind at times. But you push forward because it’s rooted deep in your heart to see it realized.
Me, this couch and my computer. We’ve spent all winter together working on a dream that’s been in my heart. I cannot wait to show it to you. Until then, back to work.
Mary Abbajay, President of Careerstone Group, isn't afraid of a challenge. When facing a fork in the road, she told me she chooses the path that excites her, but also scares her the most. One of those paths recently was writing her first book Managing Up.
Mary joined me for a Minute Motivation conversation about how her career has developed, what motivates her and what she would tell her younger self.
Here's her story that ran on WUSA 9's Get Up DC.
Plus, the highlights of our full conversation!
Surround yourself with people who think differently than you. Surround yourself with people who challenge you, push you, and will ask you why... Why do you do that? Why do you say that? Why do you believe that?
If you only talk to people who are like-minded or people who only say yes to everything you do - you won't know you're full potential or the reasons behind your convictions.
When you’re in your own lane, there’s no traffic.
Are you every afraid that everyone else is doing the same thing as you? Do you worry that they will take your idea and do it even better than you can do it? Are you concerned that the market is saturated and it's too tough to break into it?
Then know this: there is room for you. There is a place for your story. No one else can do what you're doing because there is no one else who has lived your life.
Stay in your own lane and no one else will be able to keep up with you.
No award or critique changes your work and its message.
I loved the introduction for the award for Best Director at the Oscars on Sunday night. The presenter said no matter who's name is inside the envelope as the winner, no one will be able to change the film you created. It will be the same when you walk out of the building as it was when you walked in.
Your work and its message does not change when it receives an award, just as it doesn't change when it is criticized.
You can't control everything. Some things in life are just out of your hands.
Certain events, other people's choices, etc... you can't control all of it. No matter how much you overthink the possible outcomes, life will still happen and other people will always be free to make their own choices.
What you do have control over is how you react in every situation. You have control over your actions and responses. You have control over the internal dialogue you have about the event or a person's choice.
I hope you eventually get to a place where you find peace in the chaos. Whatever it is you can't control, stop giving all of your thought. Take that weight off your shoulders and remember, some things are out of your control.