Gut Instinct: Why It’s a Valuable Tool for Entrepreneurs

Intuition. A hunch. A sixth sense. A funny feeling. The English language is full of ways to describe a gut instinct: an instinctive feeling about what may happen, what could succeed or who to trust.  For entrepreneurs, your “guts” may mean your courage, but your gut instincts could spell success.

Go With Your Gut

Human beings often operate on our instincts, free from “over-thinking.”  When an athlete defies odds and just pushes through to a goal, when an artist communicates through a medium to a remote audience, even when we avoid someone we instinctively fear on our walk home, we are listening to that basic intuition.  Infants, dolphins and ants might also communicate non-verbally, and yet can be understood (at least by one another).  That’s because there’s more to communication than just words.

Often, it is in this “wordless place,” where we have a first impression, that you make the best decisions.

You should “go with your gut” when:

  • You have an idea you believe in
  • You feel comfortable about a decision, even if others do not
  • You are willing to take the risk associated with a path
  • You feel fear and think you should walk away

At those moments, your instincts are a tool, and with the effort to back your faith you may pull off a miracle.


Use Your Head

So if you should trust your gut instincts, what about if they are wrong?  When is it better to think with your head than go with your gut?

Some scenarios where you might want to pause and re-analyze include when:

  • You are judging a book by its cover instead of consider the situation and your own feelings
  • You are not willing to take the risks associated with what your instincts would mean
  • You are making personal relationship decisions!  While research has shown we have great instincts about other human beings when it comes to business relationships, in our personal relationships “love is blind” and can adversely affect judgment.

Experts suggest meditation, taking a step back, or pausing and reconvening the next day, when you find you are not sure if you are being objective in a situation.


Your Entrepreneurial Toolbelt

Be it starting a new business venture or reinventing the sewing machine, there is no straight line to success, nor is there an exact rulebook which all entrepreneurs should obey.  Even the internal urge to branch out and become an entrepreneur, rife with inherent risks, has sometimes been compared to insanity.

Yet that drive and those instincts may be the very tools in your tool belt that will cause you to succeed.  Theodore Geisel (AKA Dr. Seuss) famously was rejected by 27 publishers before he finally found one that would take him.  Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at the light bulb before he illuminated the world.

What these and other stories will tell you is that persistence and instincts are two of the most important tools in your entrepreneurial tool belt.  By many accounts they are more important than starter money, in terms of your long-term success.

So go with your gut and get going!

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