The Consultant Who Won't Shut Up

Trusting your instincts means trusting yourself.
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This story appears in the May 2010 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »
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Q: Can I really trust my gut?

A: Running a business is all about believing in yourself, and, you'll be relieved to hear, the chances are good that your intuition is right. "People are instinctively capable of making good decisions," says Bill Bartmann, author of Bailout Riches, "as long as they follow some rules."

First, if you think something is a good idea, don't let yourself get talked out of it. Apply common sense but develop a thick skin and avoid listening to naysayers.

If you feel something is a bad idea, pay attention to that hunch. This is especially important when the idea comes from other people, because virtually every business transaction has someone else on the other end of the line. "Just like dogs can smell fear, people can smell BS," Bartmann says. "But we don't trust our instincts when we want so much to succeed that we overlook that first inkling of discomfort."

If you're still wavering, ask yourself whether you're rationalizing. Are you making excuses to justify why your first reaction was too hasty? Are you procrastinating on making a decision when you usually move quickly? If you think something will not go well, are you telling yourself nothing is certain?

In the end, it boils down to this: When you trust your gut, you're trusting yourself. So don't succumb to mob mentality. Let your natural instincts lead the way to success.

Edition: June 2017

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