Some of the most powerful names in business, from Richard Branson to Oprah Winfrey to Warren Buffet, credit their success with following their gut. Marc Randolph, co-founder of Netflix says ‘Much of decision-making is grounded in historical data, but there’s something just as important to consider when making decisions: your instincts.’
What exactly is gut instinct? It’s your intuition or your in-built inner guidance system that is based on wisdom, experience, vision. It relies upon a personal preference that comes from a deep energy within. Its courageous, heart-led and draws upon some energy that sits deep inside you where you trust yourself. It often kicks in strongest when we are in danger, and then the fight or flight mode that comes from the gut kicks in to help us survive. It is this same instinct that leaders and entrepreneurs often draw upon to guide them forward.
- Listen to your gut – This involves moving into the feeling body. If it feels right do it. If something feels amiss, then don’t do it. It can be a really strong feeling or a subtle feeling. Either way, listen to it. If you are not sure, or your mind is in the way, then you can use this simple tip to overcome this. Flip a coin, and as it lands, you will find yourself wishing it lands on heads or tails. That’s your gut. Go with that. Doesn’t matter what it lands on.
- Strengthen your connection to your gut – The way to do this is through quiet times. Mindfulness, Meditation, Yoga, Journaling are some great ways to do this. Other examples include spending time in nature. The more still you are, the more you get to connect to your intuitive nature. It involves understanding that the answers don’t come from the mind, or data but from a deeper place within.
- Trust your-self more – Here’s a great definition from Emily DeSanctisin in Onelove
“Gut instinct, or intuition, is your immediate understanding of something; there’s no need to think it over or get another opinion—you just know. Your intuition arises as a feeling within your body that only you experience. … Because of this, trusting your intuition is the ultimate act of trusting yourself”
- Take Action – Listening to your gut is one thing. Then trust yourself enough to act on it. It’s like a muscle that needs training. The more your practice this with small things, the stronger your ability to trust your gut. Read all the data, listen to the experts, check the research, but in the end.. listen to your own guidance system which comes from your gut to make the business decision.
- Have techniques to deal with the fears and doubts – If you are not used to trusting your gut, inevitably your mind will take over and start questioning whether you have made the right decision. Have techniques to deal with this. Even mind-led decisions aren’t always correct. Understand it’s just the mind, or fear… and come back to the gut instinct. Meditation helps with detaching from the mind and fears.
Following your gut instinct is a real personal and empowering experience. No-one can feel it but you, and no-one can quantify it but you. Leaders who trust their gut instinct know that they cannot be swayed by opinions of others and they make decisions based on who and what they truly believe in. This requires deep courage and a deep understanding of you are. However, like a muscle it can be strengthened. And it can bring forth great change, be deeply rewarding, provide a sense of peace and a very clear ad firm decision.