Sitting across the table from Michael at a hotel bar in Beverly Hills, my gut was telling me to get the hell outta there. He was a nice enough guy, but very odd and something about him seemed untrustworthy.
My brain told me, he’s the “publicist to the stars” and Cameron Diaz (one of his many celebrity clients) must know something I don’t.
After paying him to help me launch my book, it soon became apparent that all he saw in me were dollar signs. My brain ignored my gut and made me learn an expensive lesson.
Sitting at the interview table, her answers were spot-on. We wanted to hire someone who already understood our business model to save time in training, and she knew exactly how to respond to our questions.
She was very nice, but my gut was telling me not to hire her. Unfortunately, my brain ignored my gut and two months later, I had to let her go. It was a good, somewhat painful, learning experience that could have been avoided.
Last week, heading toward a speed trap, I was following a little silver Volkswagen Bug that was driving an erratic speed. Normally, I turn a block before the speed trap, but the Bug was irritating me so when it turned off on my normal route, I decided to go straight.
My gut was telling me to turn, maybe because that’s the way I always go, but my brain thought it would be faster to take the Broadway exit. My brain ignored my gut and now I have a speeding ticket to pay.
I could share many more stories like this, but you get the idea. My brain ignores my gut.
This week, my business coach challenged me to change this pattern. She suggested that I have a good instinctual sense about things, but I’ve been programmed to tune it out and defer judgment to my logical brain.
That reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell’s book, “Blink.” In it, he talks about how we make better decisions when we think less about them. In other words, our gut knows best and our decisions will improve if we start listening to it.
The hard part about letting go is that my gut doesn’t always tell my brain why it feels a certain way about things. It simply asks my brain to trust it without providing any sort of reasoning.
Since my brain is very logical and must have valid reasons, it often uses its veto power to override my gut instinct. Then, later, when my gut is ultimately proven right, the reasons become obvious. Hindsight is 20/20, after all.
In an effort to balance the power struggle between brain and gut, my coach and I agreed that over the next week I would write down the decisions my gut is telling me to make.
Perhaps if my logical brain can see the decision on paper or screen, it will come up with the reasoning that my gut is lacking. There has to be a way to bridge the gap and whether this works or not, it’ll certainly be an interesting experiment.
I’d like to challenge you to conduct the same experiment with me over the next week. Then send me an email and let me know if it worked for you and what you learned from it. Ready. Set. Go.