It makes me smile when the most successful business people I know base a huge part of their decision-making on what their gut says. Big decisions involving big bucks are often made on ‘a hunch’. Big moves that could be the beginning or end of a business venture are made on what could be categorized as ungrounded evidence. But is that what it really is? Just because you can’t explain it, does that mean that you should just shuck it off?
Sometimes you can’t understand your gut reactions. You meet someone and just get that feeling that he or she is someone you absolutely need to work with. Sometimes you’re faced with an opportunity and it makes your stomach turn. In these kinds of instances, you might not know why you feel pulled strongly towards someone or totally opposed to something but it really doesn’t matter why. More often than not, when you overanalyze and talk yourself out of your first instinct, you look back and say, ‘shit. I knew that was gonna happen.’
Your gut reactions are actually far more important that you might initially think. Especially if you’re an expert in what you do. When you’re faced with making a huge decision and you rely on what your gut might be telling you, that’s grounded in your knowledge. Think about it. As an expert, the natural pull to do (or not do) something is often based on a subconscious consideration of the factors in front of you. You analyze and process the situation without much thought. A thought or decision comes to you easily because it’s the natural choice based on what you know by being entrenched in your work.
You can easily convince yourself that your gut is grounded in some ethereal space and that it needs to be validated by hard evidence. And don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that it can’t but sometimes overanalyzing something you feel strongly about can lead to talking yourself out of a great choice or talking yourself into something you definitely don’t want.
One guiding principle is the idea that if it’s not a 100% yes – then it’s likely a no. If you’re not excited about an opportunity, you need to check in. You need to understand if it’s just stage jitters. We all get that sometimes. It’s normal to get nervous about trying new things (the beauty of reaching beyond your comfort zone and growing). But the difference is when something just doesn’t feel right. That feeling that something is just ‘off’. While you may not be able to explain it, that doesn’t mean you should dismiss your instinct.
Fear makes us question ourselves and hold back. When we hold back, we don’t allow ourselves to move on what may naturally be the best thing for us and our businesses. Running your life and/or business on fear simply gets you nowhere. Fast.