As a business owner, I have advocated for ‘listening to your gut’ when it comes to decisions such as hiring staff, joining forces with another business, and even entering into some deals. But when is your decision based on fear or intuition?
There is a lot of research about our brain’s ability to make good decisions when we’re under stress.
So how do you know if the ‘ping’ you get is intuition, fear, procrastination … or just a really bad decision?
This is probably too big of a question for me to answer in this little blog, but it’s certainly a question that I’m contemplating more and more.
Dr Bruce Lipton, amongst other brain researchers and neuroscientists, tell us that 95 to 99% of our decision-making happens at a subconscious level. There is a lot of back catalogue of experiences and hurts stored up in our subconscious minds (which we aren’t aware of because it’s subconscious by nature) that are having an impact on our decision making.
We also know that our brains have old mechanisms for survival built into them, which are triggered unnecessarily by modern day stressors. Our flight/fight/freeze response is not a rational response to a stressful situation, and yet this is the space that many of us are operating from. Whether it’s from being in chronic stress, or whether it’s a time-stress we place on ourselves, it’s rare that we give ourselves the mental clarity to make a decision from a place free of stress.
So, I’ve come to the conclusion that because many of us are labouring under regular, if not constant, stress responses, we don’t have reliable access to our intuition. We also don’t put the time and effort into learning what our intuition sounds like, as opposed to what our fear response sounds like. Or what procrastination means for us – is it fear stopping us, or are we on the wrong path?
Following what we believe to be our intuition can sometimes have us heading down dead ends, and making poor decisions. So we stop trusting our intuition. But it may mean that we haven’t actually been using our intuition at all.
So how do we tell the difference between our intuition and fear? That’s the hard question.
I find my intuition comes through early in the morning, after exercising, and being away from screens and media for at least 8 hours (from the night before). Otherwise, I cannot trust that what I experience at any other time during the day is my intuition, because I know I’ve fallen into the hustle and stress of the day.
Otherwise, like I said earlier, this is an ongoing question that I’m contemplating, and constantly trying to answer for myself. I’d love to know your thoughts of solutions.