Let’s talk about this ‘trust your gut’ tactic. That may have worked last century when things were predictable and mono-cultured. ‘Trust your gut’ is based on using a set of what is technically called heuristics – or rule of thumb.
A big mistake many community and business leaders make is that they rely on their ‘gut instinct’.
Why do people rely on gut instinct? It’s easy. It’s right there. It feels good, especially when your gut instinct pays dividends. However, like betting on the horses, it’s not a science. It’s luck. And luck isn’t a plan for fostering future growth. Luck isn’t going to grow your income or revenue – except if you’re lucky enough to with the lotto (and that isn’t a business plan either).
Gut instinct is the distillation of knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, instinct is clouded and cultured with an incredible amount of psychological baggage. Instinct, like flight or fight, often takes you down the road of your personal averages - I always pick the team in blue.
Instinct is very different to inspiration.
I’m a fighter. Every time a problem or situation would come up, I would stick in there to the end. I’d fight every battle. But I now know that’s not the way to go. Some battles aren’t worth fighting, and I’d like to spend my energy on creating a positive impact. You may be or know of someone who, at the first sign of crisis, retreats and does nothing. They may procrastinate. That’s just as much of a risk – doing nothing – as trying to fight every battle.
Recently, I’ve been making active decisions about this most basic of responses. I’ve chosen to withdraw the armoury and approach problems differently. What a difference! When I do need to ‘fight’, I’m not exhausted from putting out the flames from other skirmishes. I can tell you – my life has become so relaxed as a result of NOT reacting to my gut instinct! Plus, it frees up my mind to work on real issues.
If your gut is driving your business and it has too much of the wrong kind of baggage, then there is a problem. If you are culturally different to the people you are serving, and by culturally different I mean age, generation, gender, race, religion, postcode, birthplace, fashion, music, political persuasion and so forth, then you definitely need something other than your gut in the driver’s seat.
One of the reasons I’ve removed ‘competitor’ from my business lexicon is because of this flight or fight response. When I hear ‘competition’, I see victory over another at any cost. However, that’s no longer how I want to live each day at work – crushing other business people. From the flight point of view, there could be a lack of engagement – ignoring other business people. With both approaches, the thing we lose is an opportunity to learn from one another; to join forces and partner for better outcomes for everyone. When you think about ‘the competition’, what does your gut do… and is this any good for fostering future growth?
Think of people you know – or you might have these yourself – who have fit abs. Those sculptured abs are really hard to get. I only ever had them once in my life and I was training like an Olympian to get them. A fit gut is fuelled by knowledge and formatted into fitness through experience. A fit gut puts out the challenge every day to go one better, to find the edge, to climb higher. You don’t do that by looking backwards. You have to know your benchmark, then better it by always moving forwards. Interestingly, athletes often talk about beating their PBs – their Personal Bests.
So we have to ditch that ‘trust my gut’ mindset and be actively aware of our initial response pattern. Let’s start to become fit in our thinking. Fostering future growth starts with your mindset – recognising bad thinking habits about yourself, your ability to achieve success and your willingness to learn new things. ‘Think it and it will come’ isn’t a strategy either – it also relies on luck.
You need a healthy and intelligent approach to your mindset to foster future growth.