Trust Your Gut

I was preparing for the start of the final Australian Rowing Champs, in an eight man crew, something didn’t feel right. I didn’t address it. We lost.

I met a lady and we moved in together. All my friends loved her. Something didn’t feel right. Turns our she was a high class hooker and needed a base … I lost.

I started a company and invested tens of thousands of dollars in it. My business partner was a bully, something didn’t feel right. I didn’t trust my gut. I lost heaps.

I was sitting in Melbourne’s best seafood restaurant eating oysters. One I put in my mouth tasted different. I forced myself to swallow it. I paid for three days.

There are millions of chunky “didn’t trust my gut stories” and for the most part they just waste time and energy. Not really all that important until I became a leader and then my choices started affecting tens and then thousands and now millions of people. Now, not trusting my gut could lead to a life and death struggle or a break up of a family or the downfall of a whole organisation.

So, whether it’s one person in a meeting or 100,000 reading a blog, I need to be in the Zone, in the right space, allot.

At first I thought this meant “if I feel it, it must be right.” but that’s a catastrophe. I feel hungry 99% of the time and if I ate to follow that feeling I’d be the size of a Bondi Whale or a Prince Edward Island Backside. (the land of the double bum)

Feelings, emotions and “it feels right” are three different topics. A mentally disturbed corporate leader will not be able to separate them. As a result, they err to logic because then, there’s no confusion. Sort of!

If I say “I feel like an ice cream” it uses a certain part of my brain. It’s an important part of the brain because it knows what we do and don’t like. That part of the brain remembers what we don’t like and what we do like – so it simplifies everything to like it or hate it.  – Primal brain.

Then there’s the emotional brain. It’s another layer that knows what we want. It’s wants things or needs things. Not so primal but certainly it gives it’s power to the perception of feel good and not feel good.

Then, there’s the “gut feel” brain. It’s the brain we use when someone puts a brick in your hand and asks you “what do you think this weights?” and you say “it feels like about 3 kg to me.” You can’t be sure, but you might be within a close tolerance, especially if your job is weighing vegetables.

So, feels right, is different to feels good, and feels good is different to I feel like this.

Feels right is therefore totally prone to error. If you are conditioned by your memories and thoughts to think that good is right, then when someone asks how you feel about something you might just jump in with your primal brain and answer before you even try to get a sense of it.

More advanced than feels right is intuition and more advanced than intuition is inspiration. Basically it’s all gut feel.

My gut has always been right. I haven’t always trusted it. And I haven’t always wanted to hear what it suggested. My gut told me my first marriage was a mistake long before we signed the paper but I didn’t want to know, there were other things at stake.