You have to master not only the art of listening to your head, you must also master listening to your heart and listening to your gut. - Carly Fiorina
Some people recently expressed their concern about my tendency to make judgements based on "gut".
It's inexact, someone said.
You can't make your decisions based on something you can't quantify or qualify, another said.
Everything else pulls together and looks right, all that's stopping this whole thing is something that you can't even put your finger on. How can you do that? Someone questioned.
It's not right to decide against something that you can't explain clearly, they argue.
Yet, every time I made decisions that went against my own instincts, I see things begin to unravel bit by bit, until it all falls apart.
Like the time I agreed to hiring some people that I wasn't 100% sure with - and most of them ending up with different degrees and classifications of issues.
Or saying yes to a job that I felt wasn't quite right, but circumstances and external voices said I should do it - so, I did. In the end, encountering so many unnecessary heartaches and headaches.
Or trusting the word of a guy that I liked even though every ounce of my inner being was screaming out not to. Again, unnecessary heartaches and headaches followed.
Each moment that I end up trusting my own judgements, whether I'm able to articulate the rationale behind each one or not, I end up with fewer regrets.
Like when I applied to a job that provided a number of great opportunities for me, even though at that time, I wasn't looking for work and I had other plans.
Or, when I applied to study in a university almost last minute, just because something inside me told me I should. That whole experience became instrumental in my life in a number of ways.
Or, when I said yes to marrying my husband, even though we barely knew each other at the time and some people expressed grave warnings and all. Yet, the overwhelming direction I felt was that it was the right thing to do that time. No matter what happens, it was a choice that I could stand by. Now, almost 12 years later, we're still together. And, it has been quite a dozen years!
Or when my husband and I decided to pull out our son from a school even though he was only 2 weeks in to starting there. When we felt something was wrong, we bit the bullet and left the said school. A couple of years later, an acquaintance of ours from that school told me that there were a lot of things wrong happening there and we were lucky we managed to get our son out when we did.
Still, I end up with naysayers and unbelievers of The Power of Listening to Your Gut.
"Trust your gut instinct over spreadsheets. There are too many variables in the real world that you simply can't put into a spreadsheet. Spreadsheets spit out results from your inexact assumptions and give you a false sense of security. In most cases, your heart and gut are still your best guide." - Naveen Jain
Yes, I can't always explain why I do what I do.
Why I quit jobs that seem okay from the outside, but are all wrong from the inside. Why I ended up with a whirlwind wedding. Why I left the U.S. to go back to Manila. Why I ended certain friendships. Why I expressed doubts over certain possible business partners, colleagues, or collaborators.
That's why even though I know that the reasoning of "Because my gut tells me so!" will never be enough for most people, I can't help but listen to what my own instinct tells me.
If someone else doesn't agree with me, then that's okay. If it's a decision that I can't make on my own, I am willing to trust other people's judgements too. Just as long as they know what I thought and if I was able to express my misgivings. If they decide to override my feelings, then we just need to have an understanding on how to deal with the results of that decision, without having to play "the blame game".
How about you? How much do you trust your gut? Do you make decisions based on your instincts?
Shai has been managing and blogging here at ShaiCoggins.com for 17 years. Here, she writes about creativity, productivity, and how to recharge for a better, happier lifestyle. She is the author of Today: Life Journal, Colour Bliss: Kaleidoscopes, and a little known children’s book.
A serial entrepreneur, Shai also currently runs Vervely.com, a boutique digital media agency offering online content, community, and conversion marketing services. Her blogging experience and digital work have been featured in various media, including being listed in Fast Company’s “Most Influential Women in Technology” list.
Originally from Manila, Shai lived in Singapore and the USA before moving to Australia with her British husband. They have two children, a pet bunny, and a rambunctious rescue Labrador.