Why Is It So Important To Follow Your Instincts In Business?

Business Leader Post, May 2, 2012

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

Following your instincts is crucial in order to succeed in business. Instincts encompass not only your knowledge and training, but also your values, what you know to be true and all that you have learned from a life time of experiences. Instincts are the intersection between theory and reality, between what you would like to be true and what your experience tells you to be true.

So how do you apply your instincts in business? In two ways:

The first occurs in the everyday flow of business activities. Like engaging in a sport you know and enjoy, you field what comes your way while remaining constantly aware of the circumstances of the game. You develop a set of basic parameters for effective decision making which you implement in a variety of circumstances. When you have to address a set of challenging situations, you become creative with those basic parameters. When you use your instincts, you can be decisive without having to think too much about it. The message you send is one of confidence. Those two attributes—decisiveness and confidence—define success.

The second way to use your instincts is while you are working on your business versus working in your business. You cannot make those types of decisions quickly. While making daily decisions is comfortable, making larger decisions about your business is not. You need to remove yourself from your routine so that you can find quiet. You need to think and deliberate in order to find your instincts and intuition. You have to ask questions rather than give answers. You have to get advice rather than get it. You have to spend time figuring out what provides relaxation and quiet and whom you know and trust to provide the emotional and intellectual stimulation that will help you drill down to your core, where your instincts lie.

You can be successful with the first level of instinctual decision making, but you have to learn the second in order to take yourself and your business to the next level.