From the February 2004 issue of Startups

As entrepreneurs, we are constantly seeking new ways to start or grow our businesses. We research the competition, analyze the marketplace, read special reports, and scour the Internet for new opportunities. Yet we often skip over one of the simplest methods of discovering new ways to achieve success: trusting our instincts and our gut feelings.

There is a widely accepted myth that thoroughly researching an idea is the only way to guarantee success. In reality, if we did only what we knew would work, there would be a lack of innovation and creativity. To succeed, we need to combine both what we know and what we feel to produce a unique point of view-our distinct contribution to the world. This special perspective makes us entrepreneurs and enables us to create real business success.

Your feelings create an energetic foundation from which you can build. Combine these instincts with what you know, then follow these steps to achieve your dreams:

1. Listening to yourself: Fear has a stealthy ability to trump our instincts, causing us to follow traditional methods. True creativity comes when you stop ignoring what you are telling yourself and embrace it. Simply ask yourself what your business's needs are, and then use your inner voice to answer the questions. Do not censor any ideas or thoughts. You have achieved many successes in your life-you have the strength and intelligence to create strategies that will work.

2. Learning to trust your instincts and ideas: Trusting yourself is awkward at first, so keep practicing. Relying on your intuition brings you peace and a subconscious realization of what to do next. It creates a dynamic force that propels your business goals forward. We are taught to validate our thoughts and opinions with others, such as teachers, consultants or experts. As an entrepreneur, your instinct and imagination are the gifts you bring to the world. They are the blood that runs through every part of your business. Open your eyes, heart and mind to the possibilities, and you will achieve success much faster and with less stress.

3. Creating a road map to success: Use your intuition to generate incredible ways to grow your business. Then write down the action steps you need to take to connect your "intuitive goals" to the real world. Your list does not have to be perfect; remember, you are testing out your ideas and learning what works and what doesn't.

4. Asking for help: Run your action steps by trusted friends and colleagues-they will share their experiences with you and let you know if you missed anything important. They will offer resources and contacts that can help you accomplish your goals. They may even offer to help you themselves. Most important, they will remind you of your strengths and your innate ability to make your goals a reality.

5. Taking the daily leap of faith: Trusting your instincts is difficult at first, but practical experience diffuses anxiety and fear. Try creating and accomplishing a new "intuitive goal" each day. Just pull an idea from your gut, and quickly take action to connect it to the real world. The universe and your instincts are there to help you-just allow them to work.

You are in charge! Trusting yourself puts you ahead of the game-since you thought of the idea, you have the built-in confidence to achieve it. Listen, and have fun discovering the crazy ideas your heart and subconscious create. Soon, trusting your gut will be as natural as trusting an expert's advice!


Speaker and consultant Romanus Wolter, aka "The Kick Start Guy," is the author of Kick Start Your Dream Business. Write to him at Romanus@kickstartguy.com.