Earlier today I had an exploratory phone call with a potential client. In the end I turned down the work.
And boy did that feel good.
My first contact was through email and as soon as I read the information my gut stirred in a way that said, “Do not take this gig”. When you’re self-employed, it’s easy to get seduced by the money. I confided in someone I trust to test my theory. After a short conversation, my gut feeling was validated. Wrong gig for me.
One of the many things I’ve learned over the past five years of self-employment is that it’s better to politely decline work than take it if the end result is not a win-win. In this case my skill set didn’t match their needs. I’ve also learned to pay attention to the feeling in my gut, literally a stirring in my stomach followed by tension in my jaw and forehead. This physical response begs me to listen up and listen closely.
Decisions require a combination of data, risk assessment, gut instinct and confidence. Although not the only indicator, my gut is a key component whether I’m assessing work, people or my physical environment.
It took some time to pay attention to my gut and I’m not always on target. What helps?
Asking questions like: Am I afraid because this is new or is it really beyond my scope of ability?
Meditating or sitting quietly in order to pay attention to the stirring in my stomach. Sometimes distractions are not helpful.
Writing down my thoughts. I write down every possible scenario, often in response to the question above.
Getting a new perspective. Talking it through with someone I trust is incredibly helpful. Even though the decision is mine, the outside perspective may shed some light I hadn’t noticed.
How about you? When you’re gut speaks do you listen? How has paying attention to your instincts worked for or against you?