Every day we make decisions: Bagel or protein shake for breakfast? Nikes or heels? UBER, taxi or subway? Can I put laundry off JUST one more day? The decision-making process itself takes up much of our waking lives. And ultimately we are the sum of our choices.
I have a tendency to poll wise friends, family, and mentors when faced with tough decisions. While the usual routine consists of weighing every option logically, there’s a tendency (either to shut me up or because they believe this makes sense) of those helping to eventually reply: “Just go with your gut.”
While brimming with the prospect of great reward, there is an unusual element of risk to our lives as entrepreneurs. One of our Dreamers and Doers recently raised a very daunting question on the very topic of risk. What unfolded is a fascinating discussion of how going with “what feels right” plays into our lives and business decisions.
Should one forgo what is, on paper, an amazing career opportunity? At what point does something that sounds like a “missed opportunity” become a springboard for greatness? Why, and what questions can we ask ourselves to make this decision thoughtfully? To what extent should you listen to your “gut,” or subconscious, or however you choose to understand the mysterious but powerful tugs of instinct? In business, do we go with what “feels right” when “logic” favors the safe road?
This particular conundrum turns out to be a common one among entrepreneurs. Below are incredibly powerful and unfiltered insights from some amazing doers within our community (thank you for opening up!) as to why we as women might forgo that “dream job”...but end up in greener pastures:
Dreamers and Doers weigh in:
Kendra: "I didn't ask any questions, I listened to my heart & my gut instinct. I went after what I really couldn't stop thinking about and what I felt was driving me... Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss :)"
Elizabeth: "Offered to work for Oprah. Didn't take it. It all works out in the end. Also if they want you, in the future when they grow they will call you back - as Harpo did with me, as they said they would. Still didn't work out - but had no regrets about it."
Danielle: "Trust your gut and do what feels right. At some point I realized that every job I took to further someone else's dream was just delaying what I knew I was supposed to be doing."
Julia: "Aside from following your gut as previously mentioned, I think you've got to ask yourself the question of regret. When I made the decision to go after my own business dreams, it was/is scary but I knew I would regret it if I DIDN'T do it."
Silvia: "Here some questions to ask yourself: Is it aligned with who you want to be? Is it aligned with what you REALLY want to do? Is it aligned with what you want to create, learn and experience? Will it allow you to grow in the direction you want to take your life? Will it take away time from something you are currently working on and would rather do? Then it's not even a question of how much do you believe in them but how much do you believe in you? Why build someone else's dream when you can build your own?"
Avery: "I spent 10 years chasing what I thought I *should* do in investment banking and found myself constantly banging my head against a wall because the status and money and social acceptance within my circles were really just red herrings. Once I got very real with myself about who I am - with no shame or ego - and where I am headed (and you can do this by journaling and just letting your thoughts flow freely with no judgement) I realized I was actually sabotaging myself from becoming the best version of me. So the decisions I started making (to leave banking, go solo and become an entrepreneur) were true to ME. At first it was really freaking scary to leave behind the comfort of a world I knew and find the confidence deep inside that I could make anything a success if I put my focus into it. But the more you practice, the more that confidence becomes self-fulfilling. And you will eventually never look back."
An opportunity that looks great on paper (or to your parents or in someone’s pitch) may not be for you. Many of you will face decisions the go against the grain of what's comfortable. For many of these ladies, what they deemed risky actually steered them straight into entrepreneurship.
What is your personal experience? How have decisions played out for you that you've done purely by going with your gut vs. ...ignoring your gut?
Share your thoughts
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