When your “gut” speaks, do you listen?

I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about. It’s that niggling voice in the back of your head. The one that says “don’t do this, it isn’t going to work,” or “there’s trouble brewing, be prepared.”  When it talks, do you pay attention? Alternatively, are you like me and it requires a “thump upside the head” before you listen?

Erika Napoletano (aka Redhead Writing) wrote an awesome post on this just last week, and I even commented. Apparently, I needed another “thump.”

Of course, I’ve always heard it, ignored it quite a few times, but sometimes I listened (and it was a good thing I did). I have found though in business it seems to be more crucial to pay attention to it.

I had an opportunity to do something that in the back of my mind screamed, “Don’t do it.”  I didn’t listen, but I learned a great lesson today and all it cost me was time. Without going into details, this lesson taught me an important business lesson, and not a specific life lesson (this time).

I had a rather lengthy project that I’ve been involved in over the past week or so. While up front it looked like a great project, that little voice in the back of my head started to whisper. It was telling me “Sherree, pay attention, something isn’t right.” Being the ever diligent professional that I am, I continued to work on the project. The voice got louder and louder – as if to say, “why are you doing this?” It was literally screaming at me over the weekend (while I worked on this project), to stop. I didn’t listen.

When I finally finished the project, it dawned on me it was all for nothing. The project was not going to go forward as I didn’t trust the people I was working with. I didn’t trust their honesty (or lack of, actually), there were too many questions that went unanswered and so much more.  The voice said, “I told you so.”

How often in the past in your business, have you heard that little voice and ignored it? How costly were some of those lessons when you didn’t listen?

There have been many times over the years that I have listened to the voice. It led me to take appropriate actions that worked for my staff and for me.  Funny thing about that, when it comes to being a leader of others, I listen to that voice when it first starts talking. I look for the problem and find a solution. That has always been a strength of mine – listening and problem solving…except when it comes to me personally.

Are you diligent about listening to that voice when leading and managing others? Do you see the problem and then solve it? What makes you stop and listen, then act?

I’d love to compare notes.

  4 comments for “When your “gut” speaks, do you listen?

  1. July 7, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Sherree, this is great. On #bizforum last night, we “debated” the importance of the rational and emotional in sales and marketing. This is a great illlustration of why marketers need to be cognizant of the emotional. We all have that ‘gut feeling’ that we can’t quite put a finger on the reason for, and we ignore it at our peril.

    Thanks for the story that makes the point!

    — @wittlake

    • July 8, 2011 at 10:54 pm

      Eric —

      There has to be emotion in business. Without it, we are nothing but a rigid group of people. Emotions are what give us the ability to trust the deal or the people we are doing business with. Can’t imagine not having that – can you?

      Listening to your “gut’ gives us the emotional edge we need. So yes, it is important to have both the rational and the emotional in sales, marketing and business in general.


  2. June 30, 2011 at 4:57 pm


    I hear it when it’s screaming at me…and still dismiss it. Gotta love it.

    You’re welcome :)


  3. Aaron@Biebert
    June 30, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Unfortunately, I talk too much/loud so I’ve missed the voice many times. This is a great reminder…thank you!

    Keep the great posts coming!

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