Everyone experiences gut feelings. From matters of personal safety to decision making and relationships, the gut speaks to us. These intuitive clues come to us in many forms and will rarely steer you wrong. In my experience, gut feelings are a combination of wisdom, experience, and an innate intuition. Wise entrepreneurs listen to their inner voice and others don't even acknowledge it or deny their ability to access intuitive hunches. Perhaps these insights will help.
What is intuition?
Perhaps a logical explanation of intuition will help to put things into perspective. Your intuition is based on past experiences, perspective, and accumulated knowledge. A robust, intuitive ability does not replace the need for logic and analysis; it complements our ability to make smart decisions. We cannot access the information stored in our brain within a nanosecond; however, our intuition kicks in without thought or intention getting involved. It offers a wealth of information, even if we can't remember where the information comes from.
Intuition is neither magic nor nonsense.
"Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary." -- Steve Jobs
According to research published by Project Management Degrees, only 50 percent of Americans trust their gut to tell them what's true. Moreover, only 62 percent of business executives often rely on gut feelings.
It takes courage to trust your gut, and it takes greater courage to admit to others how much you rely on your intuition. I think that's because many people make false assumptions about intuition, believing that it's a magical phenomenon, it's a lie, or that it only exists in the minds of crazy people.
Does the physical gut have anything to do with gut feelings?
There is a growing body of scientific evidence that the gut is physically involved in intuitive processes. Your intuitive sense is triggered by signals sent via several channels of neural communication between the gut and the brain. Our gut can actually store memories.
The microbiome, or the healthy guts beneficial bacteria, produce neurotransmitters that reach the brain and may stimulate or alter its operation. Scientists have found that our gut has a second brain; this could be the reason for our gut feelings.
Why logic should not overrule intuition.
"I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics."--Richard Branson
Have you ever made an important decision based on the fact that you really, really want something? Yet, your inner feelings don't match the logic you try so hard to apply to your decision. Often, people stuff down a sense of fear or dread, ignoring what their body knows and is trying to communicate. I think we've all done this, and we usually end up regretting our actions.
It is wise to vet financial and business decisions with research and logic-based processes, but those alone don't paint the whole picture. When making a decision, you may have intuitive hunches about the people involved, or you'll receive a reminder from your subconscious mind that you don't have the time or necessary skill. There's much information stored in your subconscious mind, and it will come bubbling up at just the right time.
How to connect with your intuition.
"I've trusted the still, small voice of intuition my entire life. And, the only time I've made mistakes is when I didn't listen." -- Oprah Winfrey
Your bodily sensations are the most powerful means of communication for your intuitive voice. In addition, thoughts that quickly come and go are often the result of your intuition at work. Sometimes, words aren't even involved; it's an image or just a sense. Some people even experience minor physical symptoms such as headaches, indigestion or queasiness, muscle ache, or heart palpitations when they ignore their gut feelings.
Sit in silence.
Important decisions merit silent time. Sit with your eyes closed and listen to thoughts that relate to the topic. Write them down and let your mind loose in your journal. Exploring your thoughts will lead to insights that you might never have tapped into had you not externalized your thoughts. Keep a journal that tracks the results of following your intuition; this will help you to learn to trust it.
Distinguish between fear and intuition.
Some of the messages you receive may be fear speaking; some are your intuition. How do you tell the difference? Just ask your body. Stand up and state your decision as though you have already made it.
"I am going to purchase this new business."
Now, scan your body. Do you feel positive excitement, such as feelings of joy in your heart or a soaring sense?
Alternatively, do you feel like the world is crashing down on you? Does your chest or stomach feel tight or constricted? Again, write about these feelings and see where it takes you.
Now do the same in reverse and see what happens.
"I am not going to purchase this business."
How does that feel in contrast? Write about everything you notice.
Follow your gut. The greatest entrepreneurs trust their intuitive instincts; there's no reason you can't do the same.