How to give yourself some credit and realize that you know more than you think you know
Have you ever had a “gut” feeling? Also called a hunch, a feeling, and intuition. Pretty much everyone has. A gut feeling is when you feel very strongly about something even when you cannot see the whole picture. You start saying things like “I feel it in my bones that this is what I should do” and “There is no way that I am wrong on this one”. But then someone or something comes along and presents “facts” to you as to why your gut may be wrong. So you proceed with what you think are the facts only to find out that you were right all along and, in your particular situation, the facts were anything but. It’s right about this time you start saying things like “Why didn’t I just listen to my gut?” and “If only I had trusted myself to know that what I was thinking was the right thing after all!” It’s called “intuition” and everybody has it. And, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to start paying more attention to it.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Facts and theories and practice and research are all very important – even crucial – to the way we operate in life and in business. They are, after all, the very foundation on which science, math, education, history and many other important facets of existence are based. We need finite truths to function. We need them to provide us with the stepping stones to success. But when did we stop trusting ourselves to do what is right even in the absence of concrete information? The answer is simple: because intuition cannot be observed and measured in a scientific setting, it is not really taken too seriously. And it doesn’t help when the facts-people come along to make sure that we don’t step out of line or excel above them – especially the entrepreneurs who are about to walk out of their cubicles for good. Haters indeed.
I cannot accurately describe or define intuition except to say that is some kind of primitive survival technique or a biological and spiritual guide ready to pick up the slack where reasoning and logic may fail. But its purpose is pretty impressive. Because if you can honestly say that there is no one else in the world you can trust, intuition is designed to enable you to TRUST YOURSELF.
It’s screaming from the inside “You know more than you think you know! Stop using your brain for just a minute and hear what I have to say!”
It helps us to descramble the billions of pieces of information and stimuli we receive on a daily basis and process only what is vital to us. It keeps us away from that bad client even though he is waving a pile of money in our direction to work with him. It leads us to help the hopeless stray even though everyone says it is dangerous. But more importantly, it gives us back the power we have seemingly lost in the shuffle of rules meant to keep us in line with the status quo. It gives us back to power to trust ourselves, step outside of the safe zone, make important mistakes, and excel.
As an entrepreneur, intuition has taken me down some of my own enlightening paths. When I first started working for myself years ago, I cannot tell you how many people asked me what I was going to do if my business failed. FAILED?! And here goes…I COULD FEEL IT MY BONES that I was going to succeed! I had passion (I lived and breathed my work) and I had that “gut feeling” that everything was going to be ok, great even. But as the weeks and months went by, I was not succeeding. I found myself taking job after job to make ends meet. Logic should have told me to give up and save my energy. But my hunch was too strong. More months and then a couple of years went by. More jobs and more not-succeeding. Reasoning should have told me to stop paying monthly fees for sites and accounts and subscriptions but I was making ends meet ok with my little jobs and I still had that feeling that success was right around the corner. I always asked myself which was worse: trying and failing and maybe one day succeeding at something all my own or always and forever working for someone else? I always made the same promise: Promise me you will not quit. I trusted myself never to quit. And so I just…kept…going. It turns out that my business was a slow little snail. All that time I had been looking for the fast money but it was going at its own pace. It started to move along and I was finally able to stop working those little jobs 2 years ago and just be my own boss. And all because my intuition taught me to trust myself and I did.
So remember, the road may be long and hard, sometimes disappointing and scary
Someone will come along and try to sway you from your purpose and bring them on their side only because watching you go down a strange path is more exhausting for them to watch than for you to traverse. Logic and reasoning will try to gain your favor, and money – OH MONEY! – will make you think twice. But never ever think for a single second that what you are feeling deep in your bones, down in your belly, and at the very core of your soul is wrong. It may be a little unconventional, maybe even a little illogical, but it is never wrong. Trust yourself because you know more than you think you know.
Chantal Khanis the founder and CEO of The Pretium Consultants Group, Inc. and The Future Mind of Business Project. When she is not recruiting top talent across the country or helping businesses and professionals reach their optimal organizational capacity, this former city girl from Chicago is living it up in the burbs with her family, pups, and violin. Twitter: @Chantal_Khan