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December 23, 2019

How to Trust Your Gut

How to trust your gut in high-stakes situations takes practice.

Last year I wrote a book intended to generate business for Flow. When I finished, I had an “oh shit” moment — the book had nothing to do with Flow and wouldn’t accomplish the goal of driving business to the company.

I had spent three days in Costa Rica writing in flow state, and wound up writing about making a social impact in a book called Juice. My gut told me the book was the right move, but my head said I still needed content for Flow. So after-the-fact, I wrote three more chapters and tacked on this additional section to the end of the book to use as lead gen for Flow.

My editor was like, “The last section doesn’t fit. Strengthen or drop it.” Without a moment of resistance, I cut that section out, believing it was meant to be used as a separate book. At that point, my initial manuscript was fully edited and ready for publication. 

Then something crazy happened. 

Another utterly different message inspired me — Bling.

My logical side was screaming at me to write for Flow, but my gut told me to write a spiritual parable. I had a choice: publish Juice and work on Flow or follow a completely different path and write Bling

I choose to trust my gut. I shelved Juice and Flow and pursued Bling

Even though it wasn’t a logical decision, I know it was the right decision. 

No doubt, you’ve also made a crazy decision off a visceral feeling. 

Think about a time when your gut told you something, but you couldn’t exactly say why…and turns out you were right. Now imagine having that same strength and unwavering intuition with every choice. 

Your gut feeling helps you beat the odds and deserves more cred than you give it. 

Without your intuition, you’d get stuck in analysis paralysis and make bad choices. Yet, traditional education is all about teaching analysis. People rarely refine their gut feelings even though the brain utilizes logic and intuition. 

The analysis will only get you so far. At some point, you need to feel you made the right choice. But how do you turn your gut up a notch, and how can you trust it? 

Trusting your gut is not as simple as the phrase implies. Developing intuition is a skill, and without practice, the ego will guide your gut down the wrong path. I’ll break down gut barriers, then help you uplevel your intuition to handle riskier decisions. 

The Benefits to Trust Your Gut

I’m often asked how I do so much? 

I’ve accomplished a lot in a little time because I don’t over-analyze, and I don’t overthink. I make tons of snap decisions with my intuition and analyze the results. 

I trust my gut because our unconscious works faster than our logical mind. Plus, when you align your gut with the right intention, you make better decisions off of feeling. You can cut through irrelevancy and focus on crucial factors. Kind of like honing in on a clear signal rather than listening to white noise. 

In short, the significant benefits of using your gut more are:

  • Faster decisions
  • Better decisions

Think about it. 

If you were to analyze every single choice in front of you, you wouldn’t do much. You’d spend too much time thinking rather than taking action. In the famous words of Reagan, “Trust but verify.” Trust your gut, take action, and verify later. 

Barriers and Solutions to Unlocking Your Gut

Awareness of the issues that block your gut is the first step to unlocking your intuition: 

Your Ego Has the Gut on Lockdown

The Problem: The ego is so damn loud and domineering you can’t access gut feelings. 

The Solution: Get to know your ego so you can let it go. Daily meditation practice is crucial. 

You Can’t Trust Your Gut Feelings

The Problem: Analysis overrides intuition. Decisions without logic make you uneasy. 

The Solution: Build expertise and confidence with continued learning and using your gut. 

You Make Decisions From Bias 

The Problem: Preconceptions and prejudices cloud the right choice. 

The Solution: Create positive and impactful associations. Ignore irrelevant information while making choices. 

You’re Too Stressed Out

The Problem: Stress causes irrational short-term decisions. Tunnel vision blinds you to bigger pictures. 

The Solution: Destress yo’ self and let that shit go. Meditation, exercise, massage, and vacation will help. 

Take Your Gut Skill Level From Amateur to Expert

1. Awaken Your Soul

Start meditating. Meditation will get you in touch with your soul to feed your intuition. The deeper your connection, the stronger (and smarter) your gut will be. Here are a few ways to put an accelerant on your meditation practice:

Meditation is a never-ending journey. Once you start, don’t stop. 

2. Gauge Your Gut

Imagine there is a strength scale on your gut. From 0-10 here’s how to make better snap decisions with your intuition: 

  • 9-10: Do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t look back. 
  • 7-8: Have expertise and confidence? Go for it and track the results. 
  • 0-6: Back it up. Get more experience. Flip to analysis. 

The bottom line is if your gut feels strong and is screaming at you, don’t ignore it. If you’re feeling so-so, then rely on your expertise and confidence. If your gut feeling is anything less than great, then the analysis is your best friend. 

3. Pause and Practice

You make impactful decisions for yourself and others every day. How much are you stopping and trying to use your gut before you make those choices? As you’re building your gut skill level, pause and try to feel rather than think about the right decision. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I using my mind or gut?
  • Can I use my gut in this situation?
  • What’s my gut intuition?
  • Do I have the right intention?
  • Can I surrender to the outcome? 

As your gut skill level grows, the pause will become snap choices. You’ll go with your gut without blinking an eye.

4. Surrender the Outcome

Measuring the final result of your gut choices is irrelevant. I know this sounds counter-intuitive but here’s the thing, upleveling your gut is all about: 

  • Building self-confidence 
  • Trusting our feelings 
  • Making faster and better decisions

Since statistics are external validations of confidence, analyzing spreadsheets after-the-fact defeats the point. Honing your gut is all about feeling confident without the data. Plus, you’ll never have precise data that compares and contrasts the ROI of your gut versus your head. Instead of analyzing spreadsheets, reflect on your decisions in a journal.

Trust Your Gut All Day E’rey Day

Don’t wait to use your gut or try to use it in theory. Get real practice with context. You need feedback under realistic conditions, or else the results will be unreliable. Start by reflecting on a situation where you would analyze your options. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • How much time does analysis versus gut choices take?
  • What were the results?
  • What’s the cost and benefit?

After, put your gut to the test with something simple. Try to streamline your schedule using your intuitions. Let go of any appointments, meetings, and to-dos you feel are unnecessary. Don’t overthink it, just do it. 

I’m sure everybody has a crazy story about a gut feeling. Hit me up and let me know how it goes to make a gut decision instead of one where you’d normally use analysis. Describe a time your intuition was so loud you couldn’t ignore it. What happened after?! 

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