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Trust. Your. Instincts. | Leadership Coaching Life

Trust your instincts. Leadership, coaching, and life.

This is part of my Get Better Friday, all about being a better leader. Each piece is about me describing what I’ve been practicing to help me become a better leader and coach for my team, my career and my personal life.

This week:

  • Trusting your instincts before making a big decision.
  • Two tactics to increase your awareness for your instincts.

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This also appeared in the CorrTek Marketing Mixer #20 newsletter for Jan. 20 – 24, 2020. Also in the newsletter:

  • How to use Canva in B2B
  • It’s 2020 and people are still using vanity metrics
  • Using your personal brand to grow your business
  • Optimizing Google My Business

It’s early in the New year and it’s early in 2020, which time out for a second. 2020 is the future and we now live in the future. We have the things that go with a future which is like A.I. and self-driving cars and soon to come – drone taxis.

Speaking of the future, those things come with big decisions. It’s the start of a new year, it’s 2020, and the start of a new decade. That means that you probably thinking about some big decisions, which is what I’ve been thinking about the last few weeks. Since the last time I made one of these videos, I’ve been thinking a lot about big decisions. I read a great article that really got my attention, in particular about two big ideas. Both of them are about instinct and, in particular, trusting your instincts. This is important because all of us are in data-driven facet with our companies. We have to make data-driven decisions, were told to look at the data, and so we get lost in the data. In that process, one of the things that we forget about is our instincts. This doesn’t mean that you base your decision 100% on instincts, you still look at data, you still do interviews, you still ask other people for their feedback. But, in your decision making process you still need to listen to your instincts.

Heads or tails

In the article by Scott Young, there are two points that stuck with me. The first is flipping a coin. I know this sounds crazy. You might be in the position of making a huge decision, especially at the start of a new year. You’re thinking changing jobs, changing teams, hiring some more people, investing in new technology. You might even be considering making TikTok videos. In the middle of this process, you hear me say flip a coin! That’s nuts!

Instead of thinking of it as a coin flip, think of it as another person. Maybe it’s a friend, a co-worker, family member – Someone you really, really trust. In this scenario you’re going to explain to them the situation, whatever it is. In this conversation, the person is going to give you a binary answer. Either yes, proceed, all sounds good. Or no, immediately stop. Either way, their decision is final and you have to do whatever this trusted advisor says. This is the same outcome when you flip a coin. It lands on whatever decision you give each side and you’re going to do that , no questions asked.

When that coin lands, or that friend gives their answer, how does it make you feel? Excited? Depressed? Worried, thrilled, anxious, ecstatic? What is that feeling and why does it make you feel that way? That your instinct is pointing you towards the answer. This is a chance for you to explore that feeling and see why that was your reaction. It doesn’t mean that’s your final answer. But, Spend some time with it. When that coin landed and you got immediately disappointed, why was that?

Set up the interview

The second idea for making hard decisions is to interview your future self. Stage an interview and ask your future self, what happened after you made that big decision. What did your future look like? What do they say? If you took that new job, what happens to you? Let your future self explain it. Did those good things happen? Did those new opportunities actually open?

Now, you need to do this interview carefully. It’s really easy to give yourself a false reality, making up a future that isn’t actually possible. Of course we all want our wildest dream to come true from making just one big decision. The reality is, big things take time. So, be honest with yourself. What are the realistic expectations. What is actually possible. What does that real future look like? Play out all the scenarios, be honest with yourself, and see if that’s the future you actually want. In those scenarios one of the things that might come up more details that will give you more clarity. You might see that you’re putting too much pressure on this one decision. Or, before you make this big decision, you need to do xyz first.

This is what your instincts are telling you. This interview is pointing you towards your instincts and what you’re feeling is critical in your decision making process. I’ve been making some big decisions on the personal side of my life and digging deeper into my instincts has helped me. Using the coin flip, interviewing my future self and testing what do my instincts say. Then, listening to that more often has helped me.

I think this is something that us, as leaders, need to do more frequently. We need to pay more attention to our instincts and know that 100% of them can be or need to be made with data.

That’s what I got this week. I’d love to hear your feedback on this and let me know how you use your instincts. How you listen to them? If you’re not listening, what do you think is getting in the way? How could you listen to your instincts more.

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