She broke the silence. “I can’t do it. I can’t sign those papers.” The young woman shifted uncomfortably in her seat, never taking her eyes off her husband who sat across the mahogany conference room table, his own pen in hand. As silence hovered like a cloud of uncertainty over them, the gentleman in the three piece suit occupying the end of the table rose and leaning both hands on the shiny wood surface said, “What do you mean you can’t sign? This is what you want. You were so sure of it.”
Tip #1: Do not let someone else tell you what you feel. You know what you feel. You alone can fully understand your feelings. Uncertainty can be a gut feeling. Don’t dismiss it.
Eyes locked on her husband’s steady gaze, the young woman took a deep breath, the kind that starts in your stomach and fills your lungs and whispered, “It doesn’t feel right.”
She couldn’t explain why it didn’t feel right. She knew it must seem crazy to others, but she couldn’t shake the discomfort that had taken root in her. She knew. She just knew it wasn’t right.
Tip #2: When a nagging feeling is persistent enough to linger, don’t ignore the feeling. Don’t try to explain it away or justify it. Examine it. Let yourself really feel it.
She tried to silently convey all of this to her husband whom had been by her side for so many years. They had been together since they were just a couple of young college kids, but they weren’t young and naive anymore. They had each grown individually and matured into the person they each were today. Their marriage wasn’t a young marriage anymore either, having recently celebrated their fifteenth wedding anniversary. In those fifteen years, the man across the table had become all too familiar with her “gut feelings” and as they locked eyes now she hoped he not only recognized what she was feeling, but somehow agreed with her. She silently pleaded with him as the gentleman between them cleared his throat and realizing what was happening, leaned closer into her and said, “You’re making a mistake. You may come to regret this if you walk away. Don’t be rash. Impulsive decisions don’t tend to pay off in the long run.” On and on he went, but she tuned him out and focused solely on her husband.
Tip#3: Tune out everything around you, take a deep breath, and allow yourself to focus on what caused you to feel uncomfortable about the situation. Find the triggers. They exist.
It was then she saw the recognition in her husband’s eyes, the clear focus as a fog was lifted. He slowly lowered his pen and gently set it down. He pushed the papers slightly away, never taking his eyes off her and as she released the breath she didn’t realize she was holding, he simply said, “You’re sure?” With tears in her eyes, she nodded.
Tip #4: Act on your gut feeling. Even if you can’t pinpoint the trigger in that moment, something caused you to not feel right about the situation. Do not dismiss it, but remove yourself for a few moments, a few hours, a few days until you can comfortably make a decision.
That young couple did the right thing no matter what outside forces were pushing them to do otherwise. I know this because I was/am that young woman. It wasn’t a divorce attorney in that room with us. It was a realtor. My husband’s position had been eliminated a few months prior and the company had offered him another position that would require us to move. We weren’t strangers to relocation, but this particular one didn’t feel right. We had gone house hunting and not a single house had felt like it could be a home for our family. Amidst the whirlwind of house hunting, school visits and discussions with moving companies, we had finally settled on a house. Notice I say settled.
Tip #5: If you feel like you’re settling, it may not be the right choice. If you’re going through motions that don’t seem genuine to who you are, chances are your gut is telling you something.
We kept plugging along, justifying and convincing ourselves that this was the right move…until it came time to make it official . Much to that realtor’s disappointment, I couldn’t sign those papers. I’m lucky to have a husband who is so in tune with me and my gut feelings. Two days later, my husband received a call out of the blue inviting him to interview for a position that was the right one, the right move for his career and our family.
We’ve all been there…that moment when an uncomfortable feeling begins to take over each cell of our body one by one. It swirls through our head, around our neck, travels down our spine and around our body until even our toes tingle with it. It finally comes to settle in our gut…hence the reference to “gut feeling” and too often we ignore it. All too often, we find a way to justify it or explain it away.
Next time you find yourself in a situation that just doesn’t feel quite right remember to go with your gut. Do not take another step in a direction you’re not completely comfortable with if you’re not sure what’s behind that door.
Do you remember the last time you felt that gut feeling?
How did you respond to it? Did you remain silent or did you speak up?