When you perseverate, you have the tendency to repeat an experience over and over (especially when you are trying to sleep at night). This is not positive, and it keeps you in a place of self-doubt, questioning everything you said and did. It’s almost like your brain will not allow the memory to be stored, and you keep reliving the experience. It can be exhausting with little return. It corrodes confidence and is a barrier to leader effectiveness.
An answer to this cognitive energy drain is to move from perseveration to rumination.
Rumination allows you to see something more objectively and disentangle yourself from some of the emotions. The following questions can help you shift from perseverating to ruminating:
1) What result am I seeking that I did not receive?
2) What was so critical about that result?
3) What am I allowing this to say about me?
4) What patterns am I noticing?
5) What changes am I willing to make?
These aren’t meant to ruminate on for long. These are questions that are meant to be answered. There is great power in naming something. Once it is named, it can be claimed, tamed and reframed. A conversation might not have gone well – name why. Claim it wasn’t your best moment. Tame the judgment and reframe it as learning. It sounds easy – far from it! It requires a good thought partner or a coach to help navigate truth from fiction in order to shift from the relentless reliving to the contemplative thinking that leads to new action and desired results.
What are you perseverating over?