Follow Your Nose, Your Gut, and Your Heart for Career Success

Another way of saying you trust your sniffer is “follow your gut/instinct.” That queasy, tingly feeling you get in the pit of your stomach exists to warn you when something isn’t right (danger, danger!) It’s known as the “fight or flight syndrome.” Trust your instincts, the saying goes. Well, it makes for great career success advice, too!
Others tell you to follow your heart. When you pursue your passions, you will never work a day in your life. How do you know when the decisions you choose are the RIGHT decisions? What do all 3 body-sensing warning systems (sniff-gut-heart) have in common? In these times of significant change and chaos, following your instincts will lead you to make all of the RIGHT decisions, when you are confronted with the dizzying array of choices you’re confronted with, to ensure your career success.
Instinctive decision-making is NOT impulsive decision-making. Instinctive decision-making is based on extrapolating a set of most likely options based on similar past experiences and a comparable decision-making approach. You may not have had an identical past experience to draw from, but you most likely WERE confronted with similar characteristics. Making decisions based on your instincts is like drawing on a deep reservoir of unique perspectives. It’s called having a hunch, or a vibe. According to Andrew Campbell and Jo Whitehead, “Our gut intuition accesses our accumulated experiences in a synthesized way, so that we can form judgments and take action without any logical, conscious consideration.” This can be helpful because it speeds up our ability to act. The challenge is to actually listen to that nagging voice in your head that says: “I smell a rat because…” “I feel like this is the right decision to make in my gut because…” “My heart tells meto do this because…”

Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink proves that making quick decisions often lead to better results than if you conducted significant research and analytical approaches. This begs the question: “Can we be taught how to make decisions in our life more effectively?”
Jim Suhr, the President of the Institute for Decision Innovationsemphasizes that all decisions be based on the importance of advantages” or as he puts it:”choosing by making advantages.” When you make decisions impulsively, you do so based on your mood in the moment on a whim without any past experiences to guide you. We often have certain mental blind spots called “scotomoas” that prevent us from seeing the entire “BIG” picture. What do these look like? They are the biases and the prejudices that we carry with us through life that came from our past experience and upbringing but are actually irrelevant to the decision we a faced with.

Think about some of the major decisions you made in your life:
* How did you choose your spouse?
* How did you decide where to go to school?
* How did you decide where to live?
* How did you select the school for your child/children?
* Think about the major investments you made.
Overcoming impulsive decision-making Ask your family and friends how they might approach a decision you have to make or get their reaction on a proposed decision you are thinking of making. It’s called crowd sourcing, or seeking the intelligence of the crowd.
Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and psychologist Gary Klein debated the power and perils of using one’s intuition to make decisions for senior executives in a September 2009 American Psychology article titled “Conditions for intuitive expertise: A failure to disagree.” Understanding HOW you reached conclusions to make decisions will help you apply stronger reasoning and logic. And that will help you to withstand the smell-gut-hearttest.