How To Listen To Your Gut

How To Listen To Your Gut

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘It takes guts’ or have been asked: ‘‘What does your gut tell you?” But do you know how to listen to your gut? What is the gut exactly? How do you distinguish what messages come from your gut vs. your mind? If you have ever felt pings from your body at key moments, or had a strong feeling about a situation or person, you have been utilizing signals from what experts are now calling Gut Intelligence (GQ).

"Every single person has Gut Intelligence—intuition. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or not."

We know of our IQ: our intelligence, education, and training. We rely on it, and put a lot of effort into improving it, in ourselves and in our children. In the last two decades,  value has been placed on our Emotional Intelligence (EQ) — the ability to empathize or understand the needs of others. EQ, (or Heart Intelligence) has begun to reach beyond the obvious social rewards to its application in business, with clients and our audience. 

Today there is much scientific evidence emerging that we have a third “brain,” stemming from the gut, or the enteric nervous system… and it is being called Gut Intelligence (GQ). 

In literal terms, your gut is the pathway from your esophagus through your digestive system, but did you know that it’s got more neurons to fire communications through your body than your brain has?  Besides it’s important work in your digestive system, it is also your inner alarm system – the place your fight or flight triggers come from!  While the brain is busy being distracted by all kinds of data, in a dangerous situation, the gut kicks in. It processes information far faster, releasing signals through the body to the brain, all focused on protecting you!

Jay Pasricha, M.D., director at Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology, said in a recent post, “The enteric nervous system doesn’t seem capable of thought as we know it, but it communicates back and forth with our big brain—with profound results.” In a word, it’s instinct. We’ve evolved out of primal days when we needed those skills to stay alive, except for extreme circumstances in modern life like avoiding a car accident. Yet those signals are still in top working order and can now be incredibly empowering to you in your work life. 

Being gutsy has positive connotations, but hints that it’s the quality of a maverick, not the average person. The truth is, every single person has Gut Intelligence. It’s innate, and is just about whether we tap into it or or not. 

It can be hard for those in leadership to put much faith in their intuitive instincts over stats, trends, and deadlines. But it’s as viable a skill as any other you’ve honed. One that out pictures as courage, and can heighten the success of any endeavor, professional or personal. You won’t abandon your data, systems, or protocols by adding your intuition… you enhance it! 

We know those times we’ve ignored our body’s hints and clues. So if your gut  senses and communicates critical things your head may not, how can you become aware of that and trust it? And how do you know when to use your instinct or just note it and wait?

If you want to learn how to listen to your gut and develop trust in your judgement calls, I’m here to help. Let’s talk!

This is the second of a three part series on Intelligence. Read the first, The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership, and bookmark this blog to return for the third installation next month!  Even better, sign up to my newsletter for my latest blog posts, inspiring hand-picked resources, and to be the first to hear of my upcoming workshops and coaching opportunities.

What is a Courage Coach?

What is a Courage Coach?

You might ask, what is a Courage Coach exactly?

Whenever I talked with my clients, regardless of their industry or title, the topic of courage always came up. Some were just starting out, some were reaching for big goals, others were in the midst of juggling it all, and a few had reached their pinnacle and were looking at what was next. Technical skills, expertise, good relationships and connections all count for a lot, but when you are not certain and everyone is relying on you to be certain you have to dig down deep and figure out the right thing to do. How do you trust your instincts, show up as your authentic self and stay the course?

It takes courage.

I know because I’ve lived it. For a decade I’d worked as an attorney, growing to a senior position at a Fortune 500 company. While it brought many rewards, I began to hear a calling toward other work that became too loud to ignore.

But making that change would be a big one. Leaving the practice of law was a leap of faith. As I embarked on an entirely new path into uncharted territories with no map, I set up my first email as Courage to be a grounding reminder.  It represented what I was doing – leaving behind a secure position that was financially rewarding, in a role that garnered respect, to follow goals and dreams with no net. In addition, there was the unexpected hurdle that not everyone understood why I left.  There was a lot of pressure to go back to being an attorney, so not only starting something new but staying on that road took a lot of courage.

When you think of the word courage, it may conjur up a warrior on a horse with armor, riding on the front lines into battle.  But when it comes to your unique personal situation, courage can display in a variety of ways, and not all are obvious.

What’s your brand of courage?

  • Bold —You can be very much out there, visible, lobbying, breaking down walls.
  • Quiet —Slow and steady, you take deliberate steps , not ruffling feathers but steadfast.
  • Resolute —You may have the ability toto inspire people around you to follow the course to accomplish what you want and how.
  • Tentative — In in the face of uncertainty, you feel the fear and do it anyway

Regardless, in the span of your career and your life you will have to make tough decisions. It takes a lot of courage to stay the course – especially if some may disagree or discourage you.

Where you see challenges, I offer solutions to those challenges. I’ve walked that path less traveled.  I now want to help you do it!

Let’s CONNECT and move on, together!

The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership

The Role of Heart Intelligence in Leadership

Leadership. When you think of what it takes, what comes to mind? Perhaps it’s education and skills, strategic planning and execution, or the ability to marshal talent and manage teams. And you’d be right… but it also takes courage, vision, empathy, and instinct. Each of those qualities come from one of three sources — the head, the heart or the gut. Those three have been called the Three Brains of Leadership.

Heart Intelligence is an essential part of leadership, especially in these challenging times. And that is more about the person leading than it is about the title. I saw this aspect emerge within my own work and that of my clients, to the point that my focus toward being a Courage Specialist came out of a clear need for it.

“Wise decisions aren’t always analytical.”

Doris Quote Testimonial

The new world that we’re quickly adapting to working within — and the future it’s taking us toward — begs for innovation, original thinking and fresh business models. And those require that we tune into the untapped resources of our heart and gut intelligence rather than solely relying on our rational, strategic brain.

In Asian Cultures, the values are that head and heart are often connected. There are even words for this. In Japanese, it’s called Kokoro; In Chinese it is xīn, where the word for heart and mind are actually one in the same!

Yet in Western society we’ve separated the head from the more instinctual heart and gut, and we’ve done so at our peril. When immersed in the responsibilities of a leadership position, it’s easy to focus on our intellectual resources and yet wise decisions aren’t always analytical. By valuing only our head we are losing access to information that would help us every day.

The awareness of this connection goes far back. Aristotle, a student of Plato and tutor to Alexander the Great, taught a ‘cardiocentric‘ model of human anatomy, where the heart was the true center of human intelligence, not the brain. In our age, science has evidence to back that up. Modern neurologists and scientists have pioneered and furthered the concept of a functional brain in the heart and the higher level of awareness available from it. From these analyses and the work of groups like the HeartMath Institute, we’ve come to know that “the heart has its own nervous system, which actually sends more information to the brain than the brain sends to the heart.”

Really good leaders harness this Heart Intelligence and navigate from intuition with courage and conviction.

ThePerformanceSolution.com summarized this beautifully: “Without the head intelligence, the decision will not have been properly thought through and analyzed. Without the heart intelligence, there will not be sufficient values-driven emotional energy to care enough to act on or prioritize the decision against competing pressures. Without the gut intelligence there will not be sufficient attention to managing risks nor enough willpower to mobilize and execute the decision once challenges arise.”  

In today’s world, especially when you have to make critical decisions, having the ability to access all the three modes is key. It requires a whole new level of self-awareness and self-facilitation. One of the precepts of my work is about reawakening your heart and gut and connecting them to your head. I find helping people to access wisdom and grow their consciousness as they make decisions and carve out new paths for themselves exciting!

If this resonates with you, let’s connect and learn how we can work together on your specific path.

This is the first in a continuing series on this fascinating, cutting-edge topic. Keep an eye out right here for the next post — or sign on to my mailing list to be notified about them, my workshops and more!

This is the first of a three part series on Intelligence to raise awareness of all – from the heart, gut and head. They all work together, and this series is to help you realize you may have only been aware of, or using, using one. My goal is to help you be aware of them all, how you can access each, and work toward balancing how you switch between them based on what kind of wisdom and courage you need to access at any given moment in your endeavors.