‘Gut feel’ is a thing

Have you ever noticed that feeling of nausea in your stomach when someone asks you to do something that is outside your comfort zone? Maybe you get those butterflies in your tummy when you are about to meet with someone you’re interested in. Or the subtle and unexplainable ones where something just doesn’t feel right.

Those feelings, that sometimes have no logical explanation, are called a ‘gut feeling’ or intuition. We’re all be familiar with the concept, but are we are all on top of how to use it?

I’m a big believer in listening to my gut. I can recall when I first started exploring it. I was in recruitment and would interview up to 15 people per week. My job was to make a call about which candidate was best suited to which client. The ultimate match was a combination of their skills and their cultural fit.

On paper some people looked amazing. In the interview, they gave text book quality answers, but something told me I needed to be careful and I had no idea why. Until I placed them in a role and there were issues… Without going into detail, what I learnt time and time again, was that my gut feeling was a great rudder in understanding who was a good fit, and who wasn’t. It would tell me who I needed to interview more rigorously. I would ask those candidates more questions and do extra reference checks than the others. My intuition became another tool that helped me be successful. If only I applied that to the dating decisions I’ve made in the past (insert eye roll). 46 years later I am still learning.

We now know that our gut and our brain are connected, and the connection goes both ways. Our brain can affect our gut. A stressed or anxious brain can cause digestive issues. Think about those moments we can spend on the toilet before having to do a presentation or ruminating over ‘that’ conversation. Our gut can affect our brain. You get sharp pains in your tummy while driving and your brain tells you to pull over.

We all have neurotransmitters that go directly from our brain to our gut. The gut is our second brain.

Our brain recalls every decision, every meeting, every interaction, every conversation – whether it’s in our conscious or unconscious brain. It stores a vast amount of information that we are not even aware of. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle and the only pieces we have within our immediate reach are the conscious ones.

It makes sense that as we gather more experiences in life and understand and reflect on what our intuition told us at the time, that we are able to hone it. If we make the space to reflect and learn.

So when you’re intuition speaks – listen to it. Don’t ignore it. Investigate it. Be aware of it.

I’m not saying make decisions on it. But I am suggesting it means that something needs to be explored and understood. If you don’t have any facts or examples to prove your thinking, one way or the other, then be careful. At this stage it’s only a feeling or a vibe. It’s a story you are telling yourself or an assumption. It’s not that it’s untrue. It’s just unproven. Or it could be untrue. You don’t know yet.

I love my gut and what it tells me. The more I understand how it works and how to listen to it, the better decisions I make. Go on and start giving it a try.

Food for thought hey?!