What’s Guiding Your Decisions? Fear or Your Gut

Performance Tip of the Week – August 3, 2011

Making decisions can be difficult at times, especially when there is risk involved and the possibility of failure. And it’s easy to complicate things further when you don’t operate from a position of self-trust.

You have a “gut,” which is your inner compass. It has developed through your lifetime of knowledge and experience, good and bad. Your gut is the inner voice that knows you best, and operates to guide you at every fork in the road.

Fear, on the other hand, can steer you off course by throwing up all sorts of imagined hazards. Fear may rear it’s ugly head in your own mind, or through the words of others. Your greatest task is to determine whether or not it’s a warning you must heed, or just another roadblock keeping you from taking a step outside your comfort zone.

Learning to operate from the gut takes focused effort, and attention. The gut is not infallible, so you must use it as a tool, and not a master.  Fear, if you allow it, will hold you captive indefinitely, and prevent you from reaching for the stars. Every step you take away from that which is familiar and comfortable in your life, provides your fear the opportunity to grow, as your mind tries to fill in the blanks of the unknown that lies ahead.

So how do you learn to transition to decision making from a position of trust? One step at a time.

  • Never be afraid to look your fear straight in the eye. Often that is all it takes to see right through to the truth.
  • Do your homework prior to any decision to dispel as many of the unknowns as possible. This will clear the air for you to hear your gut speaking.
  • Reflect on past decisions when you did or did not follow your gut, and ask yourself if you would have been better off following your inner voice.

The only way to fully realize what you are capable of in this lifetime is to get out there are do the things you are dreaming of. So follow your heart, combat your fear, trust your gut, and learn from every moment. What are you doing to make decisions from your gut?


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  1. Posted August 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    My Love story is in the August Issue of Oprah magazine – telling how I followed my GUT INSTINCT and how it led me to my husband! I love intuition!

  2. Posted August 5, 2011 at 11:54 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great post Shannon. There is a great book, called The Gift of Fear, that digs into the why of our “gut”. While the book focuses on self-defense and stalking (something all women need to consider), it has incredible insights into our pysche.

    • Posted August 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for sharing your comment, Nicole! Yes, I believe I have that book in my bookcase and have to dig it out again. One I read back in graduate school. 🙂 Great to have you recommend it here!

  3. Posted August 4, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great post! I always try to make informed decisions based on thorough research or at the very least, lots of forethought. My gut instinct is always the right one when all the fluff and preconceived notions fall away.

    • Posted August 4, 2011 at 8:06 am | Permalink | Reply

      That’s the key, Samantha — learning as much as you can about the circumstances surrounding a decision. The fewer unknowns, the better. But when it all boils down to it, you have to learn to effectively listen to your gut. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

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