Decision Making: When to jump and when to stand back
Decision making can be really tricky, can’t it? Listening to our gut vs those inner voices that try to stop us can be difficult to ascertain. When should we listen and when should we not. It is definitely an art. Others will tell you, that you are crazy and should do x, y z but that is based on what is right for them. Not always for ourselves. Advice and guidance are necessary but so is deciding what will work for us.
One thing my parents always taught me and gave me permission to do was to try something and if it didn’t work out, at least I knew. It was never considered a failure. This has always given me the courage to give things a go and see what fits. Life, society and particularly when you start a business for yourself, sets a lot of rules and expectations to conform to the done thing, forgetting that great things come from doing things differently. We can forget the imagination, dreaming and the desire for what makes our heart skip a beat as we did as a child. We lose our passion trying to fit in, letting go of our ‘crazy’ ideas. We get very cautious about making decisions in fear of getting it wrong. If an opportunity presents itself, we must make the most of it. And yes, I do agree……. To a point. But remember, what is one's person's pleasure is another's pain. What works for me, might not work for you and vice versa because we are all individuals. An opportunity isn’t an opportunity for everyone.
When Resistance and Avoidance Hits
Our gut instinct is one of our most primal instinct, designed to guide us safely through life. The problem is those dang voices in our head that we have picked up over the years tend to cause a LOT of interference, making it difficult to tell the difference when to go ahead and when not to. Fear, even when it is unwarranted, will trigger that primal gut reaction trying to save us. We resist going into the unknown, though in general, our safety is no longer at risk as it would have been for the primitive man, yet we still resist it. It is at our core. In fact, thanks to all the brave people who ventured into the unknown, discovered our amazing world and beyond with all it has to offer, demystified that ‘unknown’ so it was no longer a danger for us and we can all enjoy it now. But that fear of the unknown still resides within us, doesn’t it!
So, when it comes to the unknown, if it isn’t going to kill you, let’s just give it a go. At least you will know and you might just discover something amazing. What have you got to lose?
The Problem with Jumping in
I’m all for giving it a go, feel the fear and do it anyway. See things out. You know what I mean. But in the past, this led me very much away from my values, my passion and my dreams, serving other people’s needs rather than my own. My downfall, was that huge fear a lot of us have, the fear of saying No when things didn’t feel right for me. Like the world might end, judgement day hits, the sky turns red and that would be the end if I just said No. It is crazy, isn’t it? It is just a simple word and when it is phrased in a respectful and kind way, allows everyone be on the same page, but we still can hate to say it. For me, saying no at the start will allow things to continue, compared to suppressing it, allowing resentment and misunderstanding grow, it becomes the start of the end.
The ‘scene’ for my journey started in my early 20s trying to figure out crippling back pain and from then the journey began. All through my 20s, I relied on meds which physically destroyed my gut until I started to listen to it again and I realised it had to come from within. I learned to listen, listen to the silent signals that would either plummet me or save me from serious pain episodes. I learned to trust my gut with my back pain although I was a bit slow at times applying it to everyday life, I eventually got there. The first massive decision I made for me, was to say ‘No’ to the IT world and leave it to start my own therapy business full time. Since then, I never looked back. Starting my own business and getting into the therapy taught me as much about myself as it did how to treat others.
Second Time Around
Setting up a second business in tech was easy as I knew the business ropes well with loads of experience, so I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel this time round. Starting in a competitive space was another thing. Oh boy! WOAH! And boom ……. within 6 months, I had my IBS back for the first time in over 10 years. Why? My determination rocketed me forward, grab the opportunities, don’t hold back but what I wasn’t doing, was listening to my gut. So, guess what, it let me know…… ‘helllllllloooooooo there, did you forget about me?’. Thankfully, I am pretty tuned in and I started to realise things were not going great health wise. These things happen slowly so most people ignore them until a problem hits.
Trusting Your Gut Feeling
Trusting your gut is a well-known phrase which refers to trusting our instinct, our true self in what is best for us. If you have disconnected from your gut feeling or true self and let things rule you (if you have gut problems, chances are this can be true), you need to start to retrain yourself on what you should be listening to, block those negative thoughts that sabotage your instinct and blur the true signals from your gut. Do what is right for you, might not be for others and vice versa.
When it comes to decision making and trusting my gut, I follow a simple principle as it is very difficult to know, what is just fear of the unknown (which is worth ignoring fuelled by the voices in our head) and what is true protection to keep us aligned with our path (which we should listen to).
Think of going into a clothes shop and trying on new styles. Not the styles you usually go for, different ones. New opportunities. You try on a jacket or dress; does it work for you or does it not. New styles that do work can take some getting used to and will take a while for the resistance to disappear until you find your new style. Pursue those. Certain jackets are just never going to happen and are not right for you. They could look fab with someone else but not you. Let’s leave those behind and just say no. We are all individuals.
Don’t be afraid to try something at least once. The sky won’t fall. If it isn’t for you, then you know your path isn’t in that direction. There is the chance, the jacket might look pretty cool and worth checking out further. When this is the case, keep giving it another go while it feels right. It might take a while to get past all the fears until you develop your style. Don’t be afraid to say ‘No’ when it isn’t right, there will always be more options down the line. Trust both your heart and your gut. When you truly listen to it, it will not let you down.
Our heart’s desire and learning to listen to that is just as important as our gut feeling. This is our true self. We need to connect both. It can take some time if you have been switched off from it but it is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets.
This week I had to put this to the test once again. I was part of an opportunity that would suit many people but my resistance to go was huge. Why? I had been on a similar program which I found very stressful and my IBS was at its worst. I regular thought of the phrase, square peg, round hole. This isn’t right, but I didn’t stop and say no. I gave it my all, followed all the advice, yet I was unsuccessful with no explanation. It was the no explanation that stung, because how do you know how to improve without it. So now I felt paralysed. All decision making is based on feedback, from a look to words to actions. Getting no feedback leaves you in a limbo state, like deer in the headlights. At first, I was willing to try again but my gut was telling me otherwise. Why? Because the same thing was liable to repeat, and I would get no further along. That just didn’t make sense as it would take from other things I am doing to grow my business.
I had to listen to it based on the following questions:
- If I continue, will this add and be beneficial to what I am already doing now?
- Does this align with my values, dreams and passion?
- Will I learn from this?
The answer was clear at that point, and I decided to contact the organiser to share my concerns and explain. Once I hit send, my gut relaxed, and I knew instantly I had made the right decision for me. That is what is important. She was very understanding. I was very glad I opened up and spoke from my heart. She kindly gave me the space to think about it and sent me the information on the extra support in this programme so going back to questions above, I am reconsidering it. It is like she handed me a different jacket then the one I had before which definitely fits better. At least I know I am doing it from a place that aligns with who I am and my values this time. I spoke from the heart; the opportunity remains open and now have a different jacket to consider.
I hope that makes sense and you got something from it. I would love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to leave a comment below.
Follow your heart, your gut and your true self. I am loving the rhythm I am creating, and it is very different to the business norm. Hey, that’s me. Dare to be different. Dare to be uniquely me.