Everyone says, "follow your gut," but that can actually be very dangerous advice. In today's message, I'm going to make sure that you know when you should follow your gut instinct and when you shouldn't.
Hi, my name is Eric Partaker, and I'm on a mission to help people realize their full potential, both in their work and their life. And today, we're going to talk about when should you follow your intuition, and when shouldn't you? Because as I said, sometimes if you follow your intuition, it can actually create more harm than good. So let's start off with just understanding what is intuition, what is gut instinct? Gut instinct is simply that feeling sometimes that you get about whether or not you should or shouldn't do something or do something with another person or work on something. It's an important part of our programming, right?
It's one of the key reasons why we've survived as long as we have on this planet. It's because we're protected by this incredible instinct, this incredible intuition that helps us make the right choices and decisions without having to agonize about whether or not we should do something or not do something, but we shouldn't always just blindly follow what that gut instinct is telling us.
There are certain situations when we should follow it, certain situations when we shouldn't. So let's start with talking about some of the situations that we should follow our gut instinct. One of the best places to use your intuition is after you've whittled down your options. So if you have a lot of things that you can choose from, you are trying to choose a new partnership for your business or trying to choose amongst different people that you could be working with or hiring. Always try to whittle down the options first. Once you've got into a small number of options, say you have two, three, four things to choose from, that's a good point to start tapping into your gut instinct and ask yourself, "Which of these options feels like the best way to go? Which of these people feels like the right person for the job?"
Trust that instinct, especially with regards to people. We're going to be talking a little bit more about that one in particular, a little bit later. Or I'm not sure yet, which path I should be pursuing as a career, for example. If you're thinking about a career change, and once again, you've whittled it down to a few options. What does your intuition tell you? Where do you feel that pull or that push? That is a great sign. That's a good sign for where you should be going next. So after you've whittled down your options, that's a good opportunity to then bring your intuition into the picture and ask, "Where should I be going next?" What's your gut instinct telling you?
Also, I mentioned about choosing or making decisions about people. So when your intuition is telling you, for example, anything related to trusting another person, another human being. It's always wise to listen to what your gut instinct is telling you there. I never second guessed that. If I'm feeling trust issues with a person, I totally respect that, and I will as a result, maybe not work with that person. Or as a result, I might not continue working with that person. Or as a result, I might decide that I'm not going to hire that person, or when I've been having trust issues in a relationship, for example, I trust that intuition.
So your intuition around people, especially around trust, very often in my experience, it's trying to tell you something very important. I would be thinking twice about ignoring that. Also, with regards to safety, especially with physical things. For example, if you're in an environment that feels physically unsafe or you're questioning whether you should go walk in a particular area or something like that. Your intuition, again, it's trying to protect you there. So I would definitely trust your intuition in those situations as well. Again, it's highly evolved. This has been programmed over millions, years, since our early, early, early ancestors.
So trust your intuition in those situations, when you're feeling issues about your physical safety or you're questioning, "Am I safe in this situation?" Usually your intuition is right in those instances as well. Another good intuition area, when to follow your intuition is with regards to congruence with the best in you. Moment, to moment, to moment, throughout our days, we have opportunities to act in a way that's congruent with the very best in us, or we have opportunities to act in a way that is incongruent with the best in us. If we take a moment to just simply pause in those situations, when we're wondering how to respond maybe to a particular situation, and then ask ourselves, "What is the best way to respond here? What's the best way for me to move forward?"
Our intuition in those moments is really good at showing us the best way forward. You may not know how to respond to a particular thing that's triggering you or bringing out the worst in you. But if you took a moment to pause before that worst came out, if you took a moment to pause and just ask yourself, "How would the best version of me respond right now, to this particular stressor or to this particular challenge or to this particular obstacle?" Your intuition is almost always right. There's an infinite wisdom within you, and if you just take a moment to pause and ask, it reveals itself. It gives you the answer. Your intuition steps forward and says, "I think you should respond in this way. This would be a way that would be congruent with the best in you."
Now last but not least is when to ignore our intuition. So sometimes we will get the gut instinct to not do something. Maybe we're trying to develop a new skill, or we're trying to make a shift in careers, or we're trying to stand up for what we believe in, and our intuition or what we think is our intuition says, "I don't know if you should do that." It's really fear being disguised as our intuition. That's not really a gut instinct in those situations. It's parading itself as, "I'm your intuition. I'm telling you that you shouldn't do this," but that's really your fear that's holding you back. You should listen to that maybe, after you've tried doing whatever it is that you want to master, if it's a new skill. After you've given some effort in progressing in a new area, whatever might be holding you back. Maybe then trust what your intuition is telling you.
But if it's right at the outset and you haven't even given any effort yet, that's probably your fear masquerading as your gut instinct. That's an opportunity for you to maybe break down, instead of wondering whether or not you should operate on this false gut instinct. A better thing to do in that situation would be to ask yourself... Okay. Let's take the example of, you're trying to develop a new skill. Ask yourself, "Are there any experts that I could connect to that could help me develop this skill more quickly? Have I zeroed in within the skill on... What are the 20% of the things that I could be working on that could create 80% of the improvement that I'm seeking? Have I broken those sub-steps down and have I scheduled that into my calendar so I know when I'm going to be working on those things?"
So when fear is masquerading as our gut instinct, it's a really good signal to ask yourself, "What is the handful of things that I could be focused on rather than the myriad of things? How could I get some support? How could I break that down to make it feel a little bit more manageable? And how could I schedule that in my calendar so that what I'm working on, what I want to improve actually gets done?" And in a way, that's not going to elicit this fear response. So in summary, your intuition is there to help you, but you shouldn't always follow it. You should follow it in the times when you've at least whittled down your options to a subset or a handful of things to consider. It's generally good to follow when it's around trust issues with people.
It's generally good to follow when it's prompting you to question your physical safety, right? It's a great thing to follow when you're asking yourself, "What would be the best way to respond to this situation? To be congruent with the best in me?" But I'd be really, really careful about just following it when it's saying, "You shouldn't do that because... or start to work in a particular area or develop a particular skill. You shouldn't try to put yourself out there." I would question that, because that could just be fear masquerading as your gut instinct. Instead, in those situations, break it down. Ask if there's some help out there from someone else, schedule it into your calendar and work on that. So I hope you've enjoyed that, and if you head over to my website at ericpartaker.com, you can also subscribe to my weekly Peak Performance Insights newsletter.