How reliable is gut instinct

Should you go with your business gut instinct?

Something doesn’t feel right – do you push through, walk away or adjust?

You have worked hard growing your business but your ‘gut’ – or ‘gut brain’ – is sending inexplicable ‘warning’ signals.

Something isn’t right.

Maybe you –

  •  are going to bed or waking up with less enthusiasm than you feel you should have.
  • have taken on advice about things like content, branding or pricing – which don’t feel ‘right’ in your ‘gut’.

But can you trust your business gut instinct?

 – or is it just you being daft, naive or not ‘resilient’ enough?

I am not talking about moments of impending danger here – just those nagging feelings that keep coming in waves.

Try considering this question through the lens of your squashed and unsquashed self. 

If you are being driven primarily by your squashed self – you are more likely to feel confused about what your gut instinct is telling you.  


With a lack of confidence in yourself, you might

  • push through because you think you ‘should’.
  • walk away – but with a sense of ‘failure’ – even anger. 

That anger is directed at yourself or even the whole ‘evil’ world of business and everyone who ever gave you advise!

However – 

If you are driven by your unsquashed self you recognise your triggers and welcome your gut instinct as a prompt to listen and consider.

You will be open to exploring adjustments.

And if you do push through or walk away it will be a considered and conscious decision made from a place of anchored calm.

How do you find your unsquashed self – the ‘person within’?

You’ll love this…

Trust your impulses – your gut instinct!

As author of ‘Feel the Fear and do it Anyway’ – Susan Jeffers, suggests – 

“Although you might have difficulty getting to the ‘person within’ through the soul-searching process, your body sometimes gives some good clues about which way to go.”  

But hang on – if you haven’t found your unsquashed-self – and trusting your impulses is one way of doing this – but you can’t trust your impulses so much when you are driven by your squashed self …. er….. 

Fun isn’t it!

There are no neat templates and magic pills to smooth the path of your business and personal growth – it has to involve twists, turns and trial and error!

But being equipped with knowledge helps.

Do the forensics on what might be going on in your connected brain and body – avoid the trap of blindly following default thinking.

To grow and tune into your gut instinct in a beneficial way (when not in immediate danger) – spot and break default patterns, understand more about human behaviour. You don’t need to do a thesis.

As Malcolm Gladwell reminds us – 

” our unconscious reactions come out of a locked room, and we can’t look inside that room. but with experience we become expert at using our behavior and our training to interpret – and decode – what lies behind our snap judgment and first impressions.”

Where to start?

Self-awareness journey

To listen to your gut instincts whilst unsquashing your squashed self – simultaneously – try pressing pause and ask yourself these questions:

1. Am I asking ‘why’ more than ‘what’?

‘When we ask why, that is, examine the causes of our thoughts, feelings, and behaviours, we are generally searching for the easiest and most plausible answer. Sadly, though, once we have found one, we generally stop looking – despite having no way of knowing whether our answer is right or wrong. ” 

2. Is this ‘confirmation bias’ – emotional patters – defaults.

“..conformation bias … can prompt us to invent reasons that confirm our existing beliefs – and since our answers reflect how we see ourselves, we accept them as true.” 

3. Am I tired/going down with a cold/having a low-mood day?

“Let’s say you’re in a terrible mood after work one day.  We already know that asking Why do I feel this way? should come with a warning label.  It’s likely to elicit such unhelpful answers as because I hate Mondays! or because I’m just a negative person! What if you instead asked What am I feeling right now? Perhaps you’d realise that you’re overwhelmed at work, exhausted, and hungry. Rather than blindly reacting to these feelings, you take a step back, decide to fix yourself dinner, call a friend for some advice about how to manage your work stress, and commit to an early bedtime.”

I am quoting from the excellent book – Insight – by Dr Tasha Eurich.

And here is one more – 

“Asking what instead of why forces us to name our emotions, a process that a strong body of research has shown to be effective.”

Summing up this exploration of ‘trusting gut instinct’ through the lens of the squashed and unsquashed self – in a paragraph:

The Mystery of the Squashed Self

The Mystery of the Squashed Self – a book well worth reading!

Gut instinct feelings are not ‘magical’ – they are your brain- and body working together – equipped with past patterns and predictions. It is not a question of whether you can trust your gut instincts or not – it is a question of listening, pressing pause and doing the forensics and then moving forward accordingly! Doing this is more natural when operating from an unsquashed self – but the more you do it – the more unsquashed you will become.