Trusting your gut, or giving your intuition a chance is a HARD thing to do for entrepreneurs. Often times we find that we are once bitten, twice shy when it comes to trusting what our intuition is telling us. Something has happened in our past that lead us to just not blindly “have fait”. It’s first important to understand where this intuition comes from.
Intuition isn’t just intuition, it is broken up into 4 categories. Having an understanding of what your body is telling you gives you an ability to know how much you can trust it.
Imagine walking through a parking garage and the hair on the back of your neck standing up. This fear, or natural intuition, is likely a good thing! (See below to see which one this is NOT an example of). It doesn’t necessarily mean there is an intruder by, it just means there are conditions present that should give you a heightened sense of awareness. It also doesn’t mean you need to take off running or to grab the mace. What it does mean is that you will give this feeling enough priority to be aware of the changing conditions around you.
How about when you met your spouse or a significant other for the first time..…did you do the analytics about the potential fit, or was there a natural response? There is no difference between how you handle these feelings and emotions in business as you do in life.
There are the four different categories of intuition:
Clairaudience (hearing voices)
Clairvoyance (seeing images)
Clairsentience (recognizing feelings)
Now that you are aware of WHAT these intuitions are and WHERE they come from, we can simply apply all the normal decision making tools about where to give the most merit. So, can you trust your gut now?
Read more about the 4 types of intuition from Mind, Body, Green, here.
Albert Einstein said “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift”.
In business we have processes and procedures for the processes and procedures. But there are no lengths of checklists that can overcome good decision making with an appropriate amount of risk mitigation.
But how do you know if that pit in your stomach is a sacred gift urging you to take action, or the fear that is the brain’s natural response to an impeding dangerous situation?
The process to discern the difference is actually quite simple, but it involves something most entrepreneurs aren’t very good at.
First, Get clear in the asking. The quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask. Be specific about what you are trying to gain resolution on. Learning to listen (get quiet). This means actually slowing your brain and creating space to listen for the answer. Be prepared to take action. Once you have asked the right question, and listed for the answer, you must take action based on faith.
I often say if I ever was asked to describe why I am the best candidate for a position, the answer would be quite simple… “I make decisions that are 90% correct with 80% of the information”
HBR has a great read about trusting your gut (or not), here.
I am an analyzer- of most components of my life. My businesses, relationships, finances, health, etc all fall prey to a system of analysis. As a matter of principle I am quite proud of my ability to quickly make decisions. But what happens when my “gut” tells me something to do something different than the results of my critical thinking?
If you are anything like me, you may find yourself often at odds with what your intuition is telling you to do vs what you think is most practical. Carl Jung pioneered a concept called collective unconsciousness which explores patters of subconscious thought that cannot be learned.
I wish I had an easy answer of when I trusted my intuition (even blindly) and when I made a decision based on an overwhelming amount of convincing information. The problem is that as entrepreneurs we are often faced with making decisions in the best interest of the business without all of the information.
It’s like hopping into a car and pushing the accelerator pedal with our having a full understanding of how the engine works or how brake pressure is physically activated. Collectively we use our experiences to gain supporting data (like the car) that will help us have high confidence in our decision making and thought process.
The most simple way I can describe it for myself is by asking two questions
If I don’t have overwhelming confidence that I have enough information to support a decision, that is when I seek information (either through mentors or reading usually) to either prove or disprove what my gut is telling me.
BUT, if I am just out of time, I usually just go with my gut- simply because I have a long enough track record of constantly being correct.
Read more about Collective Unconscious here.