Everyone has heard about ‘going with your gut,’ ‘trust your gut feeling’ and ‘gut instinct.’ That’s as little as most people know. *I’m going to share with you a bit more about your gut feeling and why you should follow it.*
A gut feeling is actually a physical response to your subconscious mind weighing up all known factors and then making a decision. Your gut is signalling to you the best option. “Malcolm Gladwell”:http://gladwell.typepad.com/gladwellcom/ in his book “Blink”:http://www.malcolmgladwell.com/blink/index.html discusses how using thin slicing and gut feeling you can make just as good a decision, if not better than consciously seeking all relevant information.
This is why you should follow your gut feeling. *It is summing up the best option based on everything you know*. Your gut is also taking into account subtleties like body language, feelings or other information you may have consciously pushed aside.
Some examples from my own life:
1) A couple of years ago now my girlfriend came home one day and said “hey why don’t we move to Auckland” (at the total opposite end of New Zealand). Here I was on the brink of my first venture, with a lot at stake. Not a great time to strike camp and start over. But my gut feeling was to say ‘Yes.’ So I did so, on the spot. I shocked her making such a big decision so quickly, but I haven’t regretted this since. Moving to Auckland turned out to be the best move for me as a founder: it’s the biggest city in New Zealand, so I found it has a huge pool of like-minded people. *I have met and bounced ideas off of many other entrepreneurs, and I’ve been involved in two startups* since moving here. These are opportunities that otherwise would never have eventuated, giving me vital experience I would otherswise never have gained.
*Gut Feeling 1, Ben 0.*
2) Not too long ago a friend asked me to do some Web Development for him. The project was small, wouldn’t take much time and I’d be doing him a favour. *My gut said ‘No don’t do it.’ However I went ahead.* Two weeks in I realised why I stopped doing that line of work; having to jump to the clients every request; comprimising my high work standards. I didn’t listen to my gut, and I wound up regretting it.
*Gut Feeling 2, Ben 0.*
3) Recently I faced the problem (or opportunity) of receiving two job offers at once. I then had to pick and choose. It was simple *my gut feeling was ‘take the first job.’* I wasn’t sure why — if I put the jobs side by side they were the same. I went with my gut. It was an intense time but after some time out I realised the question was easy – which is more fun? Thats my usual criteria but due to the pressure i’d missed the boat. The answer was concurrent with my gut choice. Two months later I have not regretted that choice.
*Gut Feeling 3, Ben 0.*
In the first instance I was on the brink of my first venture and was focusing on trusting my gut instinct. The second example I was letting my concious judgement be clouded by the fact it was a friend. My gut told me immediately ‘No’ and that was the right decision. The third example was a pressure situation where my own clarity wasn’t perfect — so, instead of deliberating, I just went with my gut.
Each and every time I’ve made a “gut decision” it has been the best decision I could have made at that time. Which is what *entrepreneurship is about: making the best of what we’ve got.* I have made many other important decisions in my entrepreneurial ventures this way — about when to bring in new people, when to expand, and when to sit quiet. I’ve made some mistakes (we founders can over think things sometimes) but I haven’t regretted one decision based on my ‘gut feeling’!
*Lesson: Trust your gut. Always. You will be more decisive and make better decisions* consistently.