What’s your gut telling you™

…about your career, health and relationships?

We make dozens of decisions every single day. Fortunately, many of these don’t require a lot of thought – hmmm…blue shirt or brown shirt? We can comfortably live with either choice. However, when it comes to the bigger decisions surrounding career, family, romance, health and finances we want to be sure these choices align with our passion, mind and soul. We know what is best for us…. our gut knows what is best for us! We need to learn how to pay more attention to our gut and trust that it will help guide us in the right direction.

I am not the first one to advise you to ‘trust’ your gut’ or ‘trust your intuition’. Many successful, well-respected business people, athletes, film-makers, doctors, writers, inventors etc., advocate listening to your gut for brilliant insight, clarity of thought and focus.

If you ask any athlete competing at the 2012 Olympics, if their parents and/or coach had ever advised them during training and competition to ‘trust their gut’, they most certainly would all answer yes… and often!  The confidence to perform at a world-class level is not just the result of years of disciplined preparation but a sense of ‘knowing’ what is best and how far to push the envelope. Take Ryan Lochte, for example, who won the USA’s first gold medal of the Games in the 400 meter individual medley – an event in which Michael Phelps, the two-time defending Olympic champion came in fourth. In an interview following his win, Lochte stated, “I have said this before, this is my year. I know it and I feel it …I feel it inside my gut. This is my year.”

An Olympian athlete’s tremendous physical conditioning, mental stamina, passion and innate wisdom make it possible for him/her to score personal best records and win medals. The sense of ‘knowing’ they can achieve greatness comes from their gut! Good luck to all of the athletes and especially our Canadian Olympians.

Written by Rebecca D. Heaslip – President of Leadership Insight Inc.
© Copyright Leadership Insight Inc. August 2012

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3 thoughts on “What’s your gut telling you™

  1. I agree that instinct (or gut) should be the driving force behind everything we do. However the knowing of it is easier to espouse than the doing. I find my instincts over the years have been drowned out by the rational brain. While the brain serves a useful purpose, there are many times it interferes with one’s ability to access their own instinct. For instance, when I place something into the microwave, I have no idea intellectually how long I should heat the food for. It is all done by instinct and very rarely is it wrong. When I try to locate someone’s house by instinct, the brain chatter is so loud that rarely do I find the house. I have to use my map or GPS.
    With employees, one must use their instinct in order to determine what an employee is really saying. For instance if an employee approaches you and is extremely angry about something, chances are what they are communicating is not what is behind the anger. That is where it is extremely important to listen to your instincts. I think this takes years of practise to develop. When starting out, your instinct may not be accurate because there is too much brain interference.
    For most of our school lives we are taught to use our brain. Is this rational? Does this make sense? Why are you doing this? How did you do this? There are many triggers that force us to use our rational mind. Unfortunately instinct or gut (which seems to be a male oriented word that seems less threatening than “intuition” or “instinct”) is not taught very much in our schools. There are some exceptional teachers, but they are far and few between (that’s why they are exceptional). Therefore, we have to develop these skills on our own.
    When we enter the workforce we are busy trying to prove ourselves and make a name for ourselves. We rationalize. Very seldom do we tell our employees to use their instincts. If they do, we ask them to prove it through documentation so they are able to “rationalize” the decision. This cannot always be done. I cite the case for riding a bicycle or learning to drive a standard car. I don’t care what explanations you provide on what to do when you get into a standard car or sit on a bicycle, you will not be able to ride that bike based on the explanation you were provided nor will you be able to shift appropriately between gears. These are instincts that are developed and they are not teachable or transferable.
    The real leaders are able to extract instincts from their employees and work with them so that they can trust their instincts.

    • I agree Arno, it is easy to say ‘trust your gut’ but quite another to actually do it and to do it with a degree of success. While it is not something that is taught in schools, people can improve by staying quiet, meditating and zoning out. But it takes practice. Leaders who have the confidence to engage and inspire others to trust their instincts know this is when real creativity occurs.

      • I agree with you, since meditation allows for reflection and to be in touch with your inner person (the person behind the mask) it is, in my experience, easier to follow your instincts.
        For leadership, this is an important subject and should have much more discussion that it does.
        Thank you for bringing it up.

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