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Trusting Your Instincts as an Entrepreneur

“Don’t you dare underestimate the power of your own instinct...Most great entrepreneurs I know are nothing like the other kids. They’re almost like tangent lines – those lines that seem to go nowhere. Nothing connects them, until they get out in the real world. Then they connect just fine.” ~ Barbara Corcoran As one of the self employed (AKA “small business owner”, AKA “solopreneur”), there are lessons every day to be learned, and hopefully implemented in how I do business going forward. And while I’ve brought it up before, the concept of not only LISTENING, but TRUSTING our instincts is one that I believe never can be repeated enough.

I’m constantly bookmarking items online, ripping out articles from magazines and putting them on my fridge to remind myself of what I need to be conscious of. Here is an excerpt from on tips to help us follow our instincts that I found to be especially refrigerator-worthy:

1. Follow your interest. When you can’t get an idea out of your head, your gut is telling you it has merit. “If I couldn’t sleep at night because I just wanted to do this, then I knew it was something I was supposed to do,” Germano says. That instinct fuels your drive and work ethic. “Instinct is really just passion disguised as an idea,” Germano says. When you act on ideas you truly care about, you are more likely to be right and more likely to work hard enough to succeed.

2. Commit yourself fully. Every good instinct has to be supported by a lot of dedicated work. “I always knew, no matter what, that I would work harder than anyone else,” Germano says. That faith helped him trust his instincts because he knew he’d find a way to follow through. To give that kind of commitment, live in the moment and focus on doing the best you can today. “If, for a second, I start getting afraid, we’re going to be in trouble,” he says. “Fear makes you question yourself and then you don’t give 100 percent.”

3. Immerse yourself in the world around your idea. We aren’t born with business instincts — we learn them over time. When you become immersed in a subject or group, your mind draws on all of that knowledge with very little effort. Your instincts become informed choices made in the blink of an eye.

4. Ignore the rules. “All the rules are made by someone else who had an instinct five years or fifty years before you,” Germano says. The leaders who trust their instincts will be the ones who set the new rules — the ones who anticipate and solve tomorrow’s problems.  When you’re bucking the trend, you could very likely fail. If you do, use it as an opportunity to hone your instincts by noticing what mistakes you made that ultimately killed the idea. “It’ll just make you sharper,” he says.

5. Allow your idea to change. When acting on instinct, be flexible about the implementation. “What you start out to do is going to completely change,” Germano says. The basic instinct stays the same, but the idea changes and evolves. As you grow your business, watch how people respond and modify your idea accordingly. “I listen to what makes people excited,” he says. You will have an easier time trusting your instincts when you give yourself the freedom to adapt.

And these tips, putting ourselves FIRST in our own lives is integral to being able to follow these instincts.  Being able to prioritize yourself, to take care of yourself first, in your own life, is vital to being able to not only listen to those instincts but TRUST them enough to act on them.  Lots of us hear, but do we listen?  Do we take action when we know something isn’t right?  Do we think of the big picture of our own lives, whether it be in how we operate our businesses or how we give and take in personal relationships?

I’ve been a big fan of Iyanla Vanzant for many many years, and love these reminders below about being “self-ful”. Because I, as I’m sure many of you have, have been in a lot of situations where I know it’s up to me to take the ball up the court, yet have seen the fear monsters sitting on my shoulder urging me to sit back, wait and see, hope it’ll all work out…when you know you’ve just got to take the wheel and steer.  That is what taking care of ourselves, and listening to our gut, is all about.

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