The gut instinct

“When you follow your gut, you get indigestion.”

Sage advice coming from somebody as disconnected from the real world as possible: a Fortune 100 CEO in a high rise Manhattan corner office, who wrote a book about productivity years ago, aimed squarely at the people that he needed more of: workers, not thinkers.

Being aware of a gut feeling (or a better term: attuned sense of instinct) is a learned behavior, and one that can be nurtured, exercised, and developed.

In the vineyard, experienced viticulturists (especially those that biodynamically farm) can walk a row and sense what is wrong and right. An experienced sommelier can pick up an old bottle and through clues only built with years of practice, declare it a fake, or too old, or not quite right. And likewise for you, as a sales leader, you can develop tools that tip you off when it’s time to shut up, time to go for a larger sale, time to get into that unsold account, and time to simply pay a bit more attention to others.

And beyond the immediate gut reaction in a situation, an attuned sense of instinct allows far more productive reflection on situations and interactions, rather than simply reciting who said what. During this reflection is where some major personal growth can occur.

There is ample evidence out there that being attuned to your instincts is a huge benefit not only in your work life but personal life as well. In Fast Company, an article titled The Hidden Power of Following Your Gut Instincts, has a good quote from Melody Wilding of Hunter College:

Your gut is this collection of heuristic shortcuts. It’s this unconscious-conscious learned experience center that you can draw on from your years of being alive, It holds insights that aren’t immediately available to your conscious mind right now, but they’re all things that you’ve learned and felt. In the moment, we might not be readily able to access specific information, but our gut has it at the ready.”

It’s a good thing to keep in mind.

The gut instinct favors the thinker.

Follow up reading: 1, 2, 3.

 

 

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