How many times do you think, say , or hear “hindsight is 20/20”. Of those times, how often do you say to yourself, “I should have trusted my gut”. For me, this has happened too many times. Recently I experienced this feeling of regret and I sat down to revisit all the other times in my life, both personally and professionally, where things just didn’t turn out as I hoped they would.
Now it isn’t fool proof, however I could say with conviction that more than 80% of those past experiences would have turned out differently if I had listened to my gut telling me otherwise. In some cases listening to my wife would bring that closer to 90%! Whoops….I meant 100%!
This feeling of regret motivated me to type away for my first new post in over a year. That and I actually sent my blog as a link in an email to a possible new POI that I am meeting next week. (POI – I will cover that in my next article of interest….)
Ricahrd Branson philanthropist, entrepreneur and founder of the Virgin Group wrote a column in the Canadian Business Magazine titled “Four Guiding Princples for Chief Executives” in 2011. It is worth reading the entire article however the first one he lists is “Trust you Instincts”:
“There have been many occasions when I have led our team into markets that industry experts told us to avoid because the competition was too fierce or the cost of entry too high.This was the case when we launched our airlines Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Blue (recently rebranded Virgin Australia), in 1984 and 2000, respectively. On both occasions, my fellow directors were nervous about our chances for survival, given the strengths of our competitors—namely their market share and fleet sizes and experienced personnel. But I felt that our competitors had become complacent; that passengers wanted something different and with the right energy, focus and flair, we could make our mark.
Virgin Atlantic went from strength to strength, and now carries more than five million passengers per year. In the case of Virgin Blue, we backed the plans of former Virgin Express executive and entrepreneur Brett Godfrey, who first presented his ideas to me sketched out on a beer mat. After launching the business with just two Boeing 737s, we have built Australia’s second-largest airline, and now have a fleet of nearly 90 planes.”
Instincts = Gut. I have not mastered this myself and in many ways I am typing this in order to avoid hypocrisy and instead practice what I preach to you today. There have been times that I have had “the guts to trust my gut” and for the most part I was happy I believed in my own intuition. So why is it so difficult for us to trust our gut instincts?
For one thing, it could the circumstance that you are in when faced with the challenge. Is your self esteem low at the time? Have you really taken a hit in some way, is your focus elsewhere? Any one of these could prevent you from taking that step in the direction that your inner voice is telling to go towards.
A great snippet from www.tinybuddah.com by Sonya Derian breaks it down, not to the fact we don’t know which is right, but that we don’t trust that we know.
“How do you know that you “know” something? Well let me ask you this: How did you know that you were going to marry the person you married, or take the job you were offered, or go see the new doctor you read about? What made you decide that this was the right decision for you? What made you “know” that the house you bought was the right one for you, or the apartment you chose to rent was the perfect spot for you?
It’s intangible, isn’t it? It’s a feeling. You know, and then you “know” that you know. Or, how do you know when it’s time to end a relationship? Or when it’s time to move on from a friendship that is no longer serving you? Even if it’s been one you’ve been with for a long time? I’m going to say it: usually, you know. Most often, it’s not the “knowing” that is the case. It’s the trusting.Trusting that our assessment is accurate, that our feelings are valid, that our observations are not all in our head. Trusting that we know what is true for us. And then trusting that we have enough courage to take action on what we know.
We often doubt ourselves. We wonder “What if I’m wrong? What if something better doesn’t come along? What if it’s not the right time? What if…? ”So, what to do? My feeling about it is this: we always know what is going on with us. But fear has the opportunity to creep in when we second guess ourselves. So, when I get stuck in a particular situation, I always ask myself this question:“I know what I don’t know. But what is it that I do know?”And then I usually go into a litany of what I actually know, either because circumstances have proved it in the past, or because of a logical conclusion:I know that I can never make a wrong decision because I can always “right” my decision down the line. I know that this is an opportunity that is presenting itself now which means on some level I am ready for it. I know that I can try it out for awhile and see what it’s like. I know that I can always change my mind if I want to. I know that in making a decision, I will propel movement, either way, and change is good. I know that things always work out for me, regardless of what happens. The list goes on and on.There are a few things we know. Always. And we can stand by them.
So, what is it that stops us, really, from trusting ourselves?That we’ve made wrong decisions in the past? That some of our decisions have caused us pain or misfortune and we are afraid of our judgment? That we don’t know what the outcome will be and so if we can’t predict it, why risk it?What is it?Because even these argument we can dispel. We are a result of all we have lived. Every experience we’ve had contributes to the people we are today. And this is not all bad. We stand at the precipice of new beginnings, right now.
Life is full of second chances.So the question is not if we’ve made poor decisions in the past. Undoubtedly, all of us have!The question is: how willing we are to get up to the plate and swing again? Make a new decision, have a new experience, try something new.Trusting yourself is a practice but you can’t get the practice if you don’t start somewhere. How is it that you gain trust of anyone in your life? Time. Watching whether they do what they say they’re going to do. Consistency. Faith.So, start with yourself. Build the kind of trust in yourself that you would want in a good friend. Make a decision, stick to it. See what happens.Someone once pointed it out to me that choices are “strategies”. They’re not right or wrong, good or bad. They simply either work or don’t for the time being.And when they don’t, you can always choose a different strategy.”
The bottom line is this, if you won’t trust your gut, who else will? Hey at worst there is a 50/50 chance your instincts are dead on and you will probably begin to see (at least I believe) that your gut really knows what it’s doing…..
Harvey Mackay, whom I have mentioned in previous articles and posts, has written several books on sales and networking. I truly hope that one day I will have the chance to meet this person who has had a great effect on me and my outlook for sales, networking and managing. Harvey, in his simplistic and spot on way, covered this same topic in a column of his back in January of this year.
“Decision making is jungle warfare at its worst. Choose well, and you are a hero. Make a bad choice, and your career could be over. Sometimes the choices are so dicey, the options all look alike. Or as Yogi Berra said, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
After you’ve done all your homework, when making decisions, I’ve found that you have to trust your gut. Deep down, your gut is likely to know what’s right. Keep track of what instinct tells you to do. It’s amazing how often expert advice sides with your gut.
Psychologist Joyce Brothers advises, “Trust your hunches…They are usually based on facts filed away just below the conscious level.”
So lets do that. Let’s commit to trusting our gut, siding with our own instincts, our born intuition and keep track of it and the results that unfold. Grab a notebook, a small one that you can keep in the car, and jot down the next time you feel an onset of uncertainty Go with your gut and jot it down. Down the road look back and see if your gut was within the 80% I mentioned when I began this topic. Let me know, I will be sure to do the same.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life”. – Steve Jobs
And to end it all – one of the all time best tag lines for any international company……