3 Ways to Avoid Being Sabotaged by Your Instincts


“Just follow your instincts.”

Sometimes that can be great advice. When your brain is confused, your gut can be a compass that helps guide you. This can also be dangerous territory. Following your instincts can prove useful in the short-term, but doing so over the course of a long period of time can develop into harmful habits. This is how we end up chronically overeating, smoking, damaging relationships and making poor career choices.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you should ignore your gut feeling. But use that instinct as one piece in the puzzle when making important decisions.

Here are 3 to avoid being sabotaged by your instincts:

  1. Assess your track record in this particular area. Have your instincts served you well in the past? Consider the long-term results of your choices as well, not just the immediate returns.
  2. Consider the opinions of trusted advisors. Whose advice do you value? Are they in agreement with your gut reaction?
  3. Meditate on it. Have you spent time deeply considering the issue? Maybe you can shut your office door, close your computer, turn off your phone and see what happens when you focus on this one thing without the distractions of the outside world.

Once you’ve gone through these steps, you can get the bigger picture and see options that aren’t obvious when you’re in an instinctively reactive mode. You won’t overcome your weaknesses completely, but you can improve your track record, gain the support of those you trust and find peace of mind with your final decision.

In the end, your instincts will be less like a seeing eye dog – leading you in place of your senses. They’ll be more like your bird dog – pointing you in a direction but leaving the decision up to you.

Dustin Staiger is a business and marketing coach in Houston, TX. He addresses team and individual effectiveness, marketing, communications and creativity for smaller, entrepreneurial organizations as well as large enterprises.

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