Go with your gut

by mckennabailey

What’s one time you wish you had trusted your gut? Why didn’t you?

I should preface this post by saying I’m not really going to answer this question. I’ve surveyed my life thus far and can’t come up with a situation where I didn’t go with my gut. Certainly I’ve made some choices in life that went against what I knew was right, but that was a rebellion against my brain, not my gut. To this point, I haven’t ever decided to go against my gut.

Two reasons come to mind when I think about why this might be. The first, and most important, reason is the support system behind me. My family, particularly my mom, makes it easy for me to follow what my gut is telling me because I know that I will always have a safe house should things go south. That isn’t a luxury many people are afforded, and I’m grateful for it every day.

The second reason is broader and could be applied to anyone’s life and it came to me in a quote a few years back. I can’t remember if it’s attributed to anyone in particular, but I read it on designer Jac Vanek’s Twitter. The quote read “No reason to stay is a good reason to go” and I’ve applied it to my life ever since as a sort of mantra.

Friends mention to me that this is quite a melancholy mantra and suggested I pick something slightly more motivational, but for me, this works in every area of my life. It’s not just about a location or job- it’s about anything. If you don’t have a good reason to stay exactly where you are, then you have a good reason to change your circumstances. My “circumstances” include everything from your city to your job to your current mental state, your lifestyle, a relationship – I always search for that solid reason to stay and if I can’t come up with anything I know it’s time for me to grow and evolve past them. And my search for answers always begins and ends in my gut – it holds all the reasons to stay and the sparks my urge to go.

Indeed some departures are harder than others – some involve more risk, some leave behind more valuable people or places – but if the spark is there it won’t die out just because staying would be the easier choice.

But here’s where I think I differ from most people, at least that are my age. The second part of going with my gut involves calculations. I assess what kinds of changes I need, how I could make them happen without incurring large amounts of debt, who my decisions will affect and how I can cut any negative effects for that person. I think deeply about my decisions not only to protect my own contentment, but also to ensure that I don’t do damage along the way. Fulfilling every desire immediately isn’t going with your gut, it’s hedonism. Instead, I think of it as thoroughly examining parts in my life that are stagnant and then following what my instincts are telling me I should do to get them going again.

Perhaps this part makes negates the whole concept of following my gut, but so far it hasn’t steered me wrong. I’ve had the great fortune of living in multiple cities, solving most of my emotional trauma, and working for many interesting companies, so in that way, I’m glad for my version.

Anyway, barring a Thanksgiving food coma, I’ll be back on Friday. Thank you for visiting me here today.