The Importance of Gut Instinct

The Importance of Gut Instinct

What is Gut Instinct?

Collins Dictionary: noun – an instinctive feeling, as opposed to an option or idea based on facts.

Having a ‘Gut Instinct’ about something may sound a little ‘woo woo’. But please read on because learning to follow your gut instinct (intuition) can do wonders for your business.

Milly Inspired is the third company I have launched. The other two did well but once they were up and running I felt something was ‘off’. That feeling (intuition) was right and although they made a profit, different aspects of the businesses were much harder than they needed to be. Those businesses and I were not a perfect match and so over time I moved on. When Milly Inspired Ltd launched I felt different, very positive, no negative inner dialogue. Opportunities also came quicker and easier. It just felt right (and it still does today).

Those feelings may sound familiar and they can come up in all aspects of your life.  You may be able to identify past feelings when you thought a relationship or situation was wrong. Maybe you felt some uncertainty about someone you had just met or a job interview that on paper was perfect, yet for some reason it still felt wrong for you.

Why using Gut Instinct is Useful in Business:

Learning to trust your instincts, using your intuitive sense of what is best for you, is paramount for lasting success. – Oprah Winfrey

You can see from the quotes in this post that many famous business people use their gut instinct when making day to day business decisions. Small businesses need to relying on instinct and experience to make business decision much more than these famous entrepreneurs as they are unlikely to have the funds to research ideas before moving forward on them.

I have already explained how I felt much more positive when launching Milly Inspired, compared to previous business ideas. This feeling I now use on a daily basis when making decisions large and small. For example, I start planning our next collection by brainstorming all the ideas I have. I then highlight the ideas I feel are the best (using only gut instinct to select them). From there I use my learnt experience to eliminate any ideas that for whatever reason are less likely to be successful. Finally I use my intuition again when deciding what ideas to progress first.

The Science behind Gut Instinct:

I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of Statistics. – Richard Branson

TED Talk Video: Food for thought: How Your Belly Controls your Brain, by Ruairi Robertson

This is a big topic and one I’m not qualified to answer. Instead, I’m going to give you a quick overview of the science behind gut instinct and if you want to learn more please listen to the TED Talk video above.

Intuition is nothing new. The feeling of approaching danger would have been present in prehistoric man. This means it has been past down with our genetic history and is reinforced in us by our parents and our environment. In the last few years, Scientists have found there are more neurones in our stomachs than our brain. These cells react to uncertainty and warn our brains of danger or even bad decisions. Making ‘Gut Instinct’ an actual physical reaction.

These reactions can appear to people in many different ways. Here are just a few:

Thoughts: This thought could be as simple as feeling a new idea should not be progressed. However, normally these feelings are much harder to decipher. You maybe thinking about a dismissive reaction a business friend had to your new idea. When thinking of their reaction, out of nowhere you may get the thought ‘your friend was stressed or unwell‘. That thought is a little out of context (it is nothing about business) but that would be your intuition picking up on the situation and explaining their reaction. Or the thought maybe less detailed like ‘there are other things going on in their life’. Gut instincts are thoughts that come into your mind naturally and although you have no reasoning behind that thought, they still feel true to you.

Feelings: This is a feeling that can appear in one area of your body or all over. I know some people can get sudden pain or sickness feelings when they know an idea or situation is not right for them. Personally, I literary feel it in my stomach (a proper gut instinct moment). For me, a bad idea also feels foggy, like I have no energy and even slightly saddening or nauseating. Over time I have literally learnt what the feeling of a negative idea is to me. In contrast, a positive idea gives me energy, makes me smile and I feel light and ready to work.

Steps to Following your Gut Instinct:

You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life. – Steve Jobs

By now you may have noticed there would have been times in your life that you would have been using your intuition but you may not have been aware of it. Below are a few tasks that help directly engage your intuition when making daily business decisions. The more you carry out these tasks, the more you will be familiar with your intuitive feelings, until one day it becomes second nature:

Ask a Question:

The easiest way to directly engage your intuition is to ask a question and receive the answer. To do this simply take a moment to shut your eyes (optional) and ask the question in your head. Take a deep breath and then your next thought will be the reply. You can also write down a question and then automatically start writing the answer.

Modern Meditation:

Calming the mind through meditation will help access intuitive thoughts. However, I know not everyone can follow this traditional practice. Instead, going for a walk alone or even taking a relaxing bath can also be a form of meditation. To get guidance while doing traditional or modern meditation, simply start the activity with the intention of getting the answer to your question before that activity ends. As you progress through the activity be aware of your thoughts and feelings and see where they lead you.

Ask for a Sign:

A fun way to search for guidance is to ask for a sign. For example, I always see white feathers when I’m on the right track. Simply pick what your sign will be and affirm to yourself, if this idea is a good idea then I will see that sign at some point today.

The Rules:

Here is some extra guidance to help you on your way:

  1. Don’t push for an answer: If you actively look for your sign, chances are you won’t see it. If you ask yourself a question and then think up the answer, that is you, not your intuition. You need to keep your mind clear and then the answer will come.
  2. The answer may not make sense: Sadly we don’t always get simple yes or no answers. Instead, another better idea may come into your mind. Maybe you think of a person you need to contact for the answer. No matter how the answer is delivered, you will feel uplifted when you receive it.
  3. No answer is also an answer: Yes this is true. If you ask a question and don’t feel you get a reply then that is the answer. You can wait a while and try asking again in a different way but if you still don’t get a reply then that is your answer. At that point try asking if you are on the wrong path or what the right path is.
  4. Remember the answer maybe a feeling and not a thought: When asking questions be aware how you feel immediately after. A positive or negative, happy or sad reactions can also be your answer.

To Finish:

To finish off I wanted to show you this video by Jess Lively. US Business Owner turned Life Coach, Jess will explain what intuition is and how to access it in her own words. She also explains how she converses with her intuition:

Do you use your gut instinct and intuition when making life and business decisions? We would love to hear your intuition stories in the comments field below.


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Welcome, I’m Gemma

If you are a Craftsperson, an Artisan, Design-Maker or Micro Manufacturer, looking for product design inspiration then is a blog written for you.

I have run my own Designer-Maker Business, Milly Inspired, for over 7 years now. Today our six-figure company is still growing at 50%. Learn how to get the same results right here!

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