A Simple Gut Check Can Save You Millions
by Tiffany Crosby on 10/02/16
We live in a world obsessed with information. We spend countless hours and dollars trying to turn information into useful data upon which we can make sound decisions. In that search for that perfect performance indicator or that magical measure or trend, we can forget to something as simple as a gut check.
There really are two types of gut checks.
Unconscious gut check
The first type of gut check is that immediate, visceral response where you just feel like there's something more. I call that the unconscious gut check. You can't necessarily explain it or immediately identify what it is but you just know is not what it seems. In slang terms, we'd say that it just doesn't smell right or sit right with me. I've learned to listen to this unconscious gut check as it has never steered me wrong. The few times I've proceeded despite a gut check, I've regretted it. My Hades Project, as I affectionately call it, arose because I ignored my gut. I persuaded myself because of the company name associated with it. I was still relatively new in business and it would look good on my portfolio listing. I convinced myself to move forward despite my misgivings. Though years have passed, I can still feel myself trying to break out in hives when I think about that project.
The Conscious Gut Check
Then there's the intentional gut check when you pause for a few minutes to ask:
- This all looks good on the surface but if I pull a string or two does it still make sense?
- Am I too emotionally invested in this to be objective?
- Would I care if my decision was blasted over social media?
This conscious gut check slows you down so that your critical thinking processes can kick into gear. It's a habit that you have to intentionally cultivate. You have to know yourself well enough to know when you're liking to make a quick, emotional decision and pre-determine that you're going to put the brakes on that decision.
So how do you cultivate the gut-check habit?
1) Listen to testimonies of those who have acted in haste. The saying "act in haste, repent in leisure" was coined because it reflects the dire consequences experienced by many who have moved ahead blindly, without stopping to count the cost. Businesses have gone bankrupt because of deals that were executed despite misgivings. Individuals have accept job positions in other states, uprooted their family, and separated from their community despite misgivings. They were attracted by the title and the promises. Only to then find themselves out of work or in a desperate ethical situation at this new company.
2) Recognize sales tactics for what they are -- pressure to get you to buy (or act) without thinking. Whenever you feel pressured to make a decision so you don't miss that deal that is too good to be true -- stop. Ask yourself, what's the worst that could happen if I don't move forward. Perhaps you decide the purchase makes sense after all -- then move forward and negotiate a deal. Maybe that job is a good position -- then move forward. But, if after thinking about it, you realize that it was the wrong choice -- think of the money or heartache you just saved.
3) Slow down. Just because we live in a twitter-obsessed society, doesn't mean that you have to live at that pace. Take time for prayer. Check out God's Word and see what it has to say. Ask for more information (data) if necessary. Seek out counsel and advice of respected leaders and mentors. Use the resources you have available to do your homework.
Gut-checks are a gift. They're our friend. Embrace them. Understand their source. Whatever you do, don't discount them, they could save you millions.