From time to time, most of us have to make choices based on limited information, or we make a decision based on what feels right at the time. Just this week, I was having coffee with a friend. She was telling me that she changed her diet because it felt like the right thing to do. Now, she laid out a bunch of anecdotal evidence for why she came to this conclusion. But, the bottom line is she felt like this was something she had to do. Ironically, this week I heard another person tell me of a change she was making based on a feeling. I started this consulting business because it felt like this is what I am called to do. Based on this series of events, I felt it was a good idea this week to talk about decision-making and the role your feelings can play in the process. I am offering a challenge that can change your life and your business for the better! Thank you for reading
I Just Have a Feeling…
Have you ever been confronted with a situation that just didn’t feel right? There was something in your gut telling you that the deal you were about to make wasn’t the right way to go. Maybe you met someone and you couldn’t say why, but you just didn’t trust that person. You got a bad vibe.
How about the opposite; did you ever make a choice just because it felt like the right thing to do? Have you tried to explain how you reached that conclusion and couldn’t really come up with a logical argument to justify it. I’ve made decisions based things “feeling right”. Then, when I try to rationalize it, I can’t even convince myself.
What is it that causes us to feel this way? What are our instincts and can they be trusted?
The Brain Science Behind Our “Gut Feelings”
The gut feelings we call our instincts are deep rooted in our subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is what is sometimes called your “primitive mind”. Biology actually supports that theory. Our subconscious mind is not the part of the brain where language is used or formed. That part of the brain evolved later. So essentially, the language of the subconscious mind… our primitive mind, is our feelings. This includes those gut feelings, those hunches we rely on when we’re feeling guided to make a choice.
Interviewing with the Subconscious Mind
In the professional world, when we hire someone to be part of our company or team, we interview this person. We don’t necessarily interview people to find out if they are qualified for the position. By the time a person is called in for an interview, we’ve already determined if they were qualified by the information provided on a resume. The resume appealed to your conscious mind, the part that uses words and language to communicate.
So, if we already know a person is qualified, and often times we can determine which candidate is most qualified, why do we interview? We want to see if a candidate is a “good fit” for the company or team. This is an opportunity for the potential hire to see if we are a good fit as well. Being a good fit is a subjective criterion. Even in the interview process, you can have three people give appropriate answers to a question or scenario. Usually, there is one person that just “feels” like the right person for the job. This is a gut feeling, driven by instinct and your subconscious mind. This is the person you hire.
Our instincts can be a powerful ally when we’re working in sales. A salesperson is most effective when they can build a rapport with prospective clients. This is what salespeople do when at networking events or on sales calls. The best sales professionals try to build a relationship with clients, because then the purchase will just feel like the right decision for the buyer. Coincidentally, relationship selling increases the seller’s satisfaction with the transaction as well. This isn’t manipulation, but good technique. If a client needs a particular good or service, they are going to purchase it from someone. Doesn’t it make sense for both parties to be satisfied with the sale?
Trusting Your Instincts
As I stated earlier, our instincts and gut feelings come from our subconscious mind, and to that extent we can trust them. BUT… we can only trust them if our subconscious mind is working with a goal or objective in mind. The candidate that we interview is a good fit for a team or company, because they have a similar set of values and beliefs as the person doing the interview. The client is comfortable buying from a particular salesperson, because they believe their salesperson is looking out for them. These are decision factors based completely on feeling and not so much on the rational mind. That is why it is so hard to explain logically why these decisions feel right.
Developing Your Instincts as a Leader
Great leaders often make decisions quickly and based on limited information. They are comfortable doing this because experience tells them that they can trust their instincts. They have a well-defined goal, and set of beliefs or ethics they follow. Their goals and beliefs are so ingrained into their subconscious that they are able to make decisions based on feelings. They’ll know what options are right, based on feeling. They can make that choice and feel good about it. This is why great leaders often stick to a decision and rarely change their minds.
If someone doesn’t have a well-defined goal or belief system, decisions become harder. These people have to rely on their rational mind. They become consumed with facts and figures, and are always looking for more data. Eventually, these people become overwhelmed with data (paralysis by analysis) and become unable to make decisions. They are indecisive and are always asking others for advice. These people are not leaders. If you want to become a great leader, learn to be one that can assess things quickly with limited information. A true leader can trust their gut feeling, and have other people trust in their strong ability to decide.
The challenge this week is to evaluate your decision-making techniques. Are you able to make decisions quickly with limited information? Do you reverse or change your mind once your decision is made? Do you have a clear and concise goal and belief system driving your decisions? Learning how to develop your instincts will help you make better decisions. This is an important skill, as it will help you grow your business and your career… and bring you closer to the results you are looking for!
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Quote of the Week
“Successful people make decisions quickly (as soon as all the facts are available) and change them very slowly (if ever). Unsuccessful people make decision very slowly and change them often and quickly.”
– Napoleon Hill
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