When confronted with a tough decision, people always ask, “What does your gut tell you?” Instincts come naturally, and yet somehow they’re easy to ignore when we aren’t sure which direction to take. Our heads can override our hearts, which isn’t always a bad thing. But in my experience, my gut usually has the right answer and rarely steers me wrong.
One instance in particular that sticks out to me happened a little over a year ago. I was job searching like mad, sending out resumes in response to any posting that seemed even mildly relevant. I landed an interview with a start up I’d never heard of, but I was looking for a change and this would do. I had several rounds of interviews, and after meeting with the CEO, I was pretty confident I was going to get an offer. But instead of feeling excited, I couldn’t help but feel really uncomfortable.
There had been some red flags during the interview process, and my instincts were telling me this wasn’t the right place for me. But, I have a competitive spirit, and I wanted to “win.” When the offer came, I felt victorious in having been chosen, but I had a few questions before I could commit. I tried to negotiate my salary, as well as clarify some of the benefits they were offering. It was during that process that the company’s true colors came out. They rejected my salary counter offer, which would have been fine, but they also made me feel like I was out of line for daring to ask questions such as, what was their parental leave policy, whether vision care was covered under their insurance policy and what kind of paid time off benefit they offered. After an unpleasant back and forth, I finally listened to my gut and rejected the offer.
I can’t help but think about what would’ve happened if I had taken that job. First, I would never have found the job I currently have, which has been the best job of my life and has set me on a career path that I’m finally excited to be on. Second, after declining the offer, I spoke to someone who had worked at that company, and she gave it a less than glowing review. I truly feel like I dodged a bullet, and it was because I was brave enough to drown out the voice that told me that I would make more money, that I could learn to love the tech start-up world, and that I could make it fit. My desperation to find a new job almost led me to make a glaringly wrong choice.
I have recently been confronted with a number of important decisions. To hone in on what my intuition is telling me, I’ve relied on journaling, speaking with friends and family who know me well to bounce off thoughts and ideas, and really listening to the voice in my head without trying to distract it with other things. Remembering your core values, paying attention to your body’s signals, and taking time to pause and reflect are all great ways to lean in to what your gut knows to be true.
Have you ever had to go with your gut to make a decision?