Should You Listen To Your Gut?

By Jamie McSloy / March 30, 2018
listen to your gut featured image

The Gut Feeling

I saw a couple of people asking questions recently about following your gut, and asking how you get a mind for business.

Now, for the more charismatic among you, I imagine there are some Tony Robbins sized businesses in the above sentence.

For the rest of us though, there’s a problem to ponder.

There Are Several Gut Feelings

Your gut is a complex organ. There are multiple feelings that emanate from your gut, both physically and metaphorically.

And in both cases, you can have good feelings or bad feelings.

Sometimes people say follow your gut with business. This is either a great idea or a terrible idea. Let me illustrate:

Hey Jamie, that little voice in my head says; that girl has a big red warning sign above her head. She gets mad when you don’t respond to her texts within two minutes, you only met her two weeks ago and she’s talking about marriage… but she sure is pretty, isn’t she? Why don’t we talk to her some more.

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Everyone has experienced the above uneasiness of a bad idea mixed with their various primitive mechanisms whirring. Hey Jamie… I know you were avoiding sugary stuff, but those sure are some nice looking cakes in that window right now.

This is the side of you that you don’t want to listen to. The primitive part of your brain that says “Hey… we might be dead tomorrow. Some wild beast could kill us or we could starve. Why not gorge ourselves on food, have sex with whatever makes itself available, spend all your resources getting before death takes you.”

On the other hand;

Hey Jamie… you should put your prices up because nobody is taking you seriously.

Hey Jamie… hitting that Publish button on the sales page might mean you make a ton of money.

Hey Jamie… do those stretches because your flexibility is going to hell and you want to be able to stand upright in twenty years’ time.

These are all your little voice telling you the right way to be. How do you differentiate them?

Should You Listen To Your Gut?

Here’s a weird thing.

The root of all of this is that your body wants stuff on the one hand (sex, food, money, whatever) and on the other hand wants homeostasis – i.e. for nothing to change.

This presents problems in business, because if you don’t act, then you don’t win. There’s risk and  reward and your body can’t really deal with either because the gut and primal feelings just simply aren’t triggered by zeroes in a ledger or words on a screen.

And so you get quite random feelings.

For instance, I’ll write this post and it’s about 8.30 on a Friday evening. Good Friday no less so it’s a holiday for everyone. So I’ll write this pretty quickly and not edit it until tomorrow or next week or whenever because I’d rather be doing something else on a Friday night.

I won’t feel any negative thoughts about doing this, because it’s my blog and it’s all very comfortable and my readers understand that these blog posts are conversational and so on.

This is familiarity. Back when I started the blog, I used to get nervous every single time I hit publish even though I knew that nobody was actually reading the posts!

And the weird thing… Now I get it with the emails. Even though most of the people on the email list are the exact same readers and I write in the same style as the blog, (except better information because it’s more private.)

Because the behaviour is new, there’s that fear that it’ll all go wrong.

It’s the same when you put your prices up or start a new web store

When To Listen To Your Gut

Your gut will tell you one of two things:

  1. Avoid changing the status quo
  2. Get something for free

This isn’t really helpful.

Here’s a better way to look at it that I’ve found works.

You win by preparing well and picking your battles.

Have you done everything you can to get a best-case scenario?

And is the best-case scenario at all likely?

If that’s the case, then go ahead. If you are about to start a new ecommerce store and you’ve put the work in regarding branding, product research and setting up ad campaigns, then you hit the button.

You’ve done everything you can.

The only issue to take into consideration at that point is your likelihood of success. If you have done all your preparing for a battle you can’t win even with your best preparation, then you’ve picked the wrong battle.

If your gut is saying, “You’ve got no chance, mate” and your logical mind agrees, you’ve probably picked the wrong battle.

Ultimately, your skills, knowledge and strategy are worth more than your gut.

Don’t rely on your gut for online business. Rely on your brain. Pick your battles and then prepare for the accordingly.

More on this in a later post, because I’m out of time and I realise that I need to more fully form these thoughts.