Do you ever think about how many decisions you make within 24 hours? Simply deciding between which graphic to insert in a PowerPoint presentation, whether to communicate using e-mail or voice mail or simply where to go for lunch can be exhausting. I’ve been known to need a nap after listening to people place their coffee orders!
Although we have more choices and more information to help us decide, it’s not getting easier. And what about the big decisions? Whether or not to find a new job, relocate or go back to school, for example.
According to a recent conversation I had with a colleague and friend, Mary Goulet, the key is to Go with your Gut!, which also happens to be the title of her book. Personally, I prefer the word intuition.
Although many of us have been schooled to listen to our hearts, Goulet disagrees. She dissuades us from listening to our hearts since emotions are unpredictable and not reliable. Her advice is to let it emote, but listen to your gut.
How do you determine whether you’re listening to your head or your gut? You’ll notice a more logical, analytical thinking process. Do you find yourself concerned about what others will think, whether or not you’ll fit in or other fears? Chances are you’re in your head, not your gut.
Goulet says your gut always speaks to you in five words or fewer. Any more than that, and you’re either listening to your head or your heart, not your gut. Flashing back to all my major decisions in the past 20 years, I couldn’t agree more. “Start your speaking business.” “The kids will be fine.” “Take that vacation!” are just a few of the succinct phrases I heard that turned out to be wonderful choices.
Still confused? Goulet believes that confusion is knowing the right answer, but not liking it! Our concerns and fears about what could happen, how our lives and the lives of those we love might change can keep us in analysis paralysis. Going with your gut requires you to step out of your comfort zone and trust that what you know is right even with the possibility of never finding out why.
The next time you have a big decision to make, stop and simply listen to the clarity that comes in five words or less. Now put that intuition into action. Probably the best decision you’ll ever make.