Trusting your Instincts in Trading Should you do so

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Trusting Your Gut: Testing Your Decision-Making Instincts

Do you trust your gut? (Photo credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art)

Do you know when you should trust your gut instinct when making a decision? 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. But how can we be sure our gut isn’t giving us wrong information?

If it is true that we can’t prevent our gut instinct from influencing our judgments, what can women do to protect our decision-making against unconscious bias? Campbell and Whitehead provide tests women can use to help them feel confident that they are “drawing on appropriate experiences and emotions.” These four tests include:

    The familiarity test: This means thinking through past experiences and searching for appropriate memories where we have experienced identical or similar situations. This test is about examining the key uncertainties in a situation and determining if you have sufficient similar experiences to be able to make sound judgments about them.

  • The feedback test: This test is about analyzing the feedback you have received from past situations. Were your previous decisions perceived to be the right decision by others and why? If they were not perceived as good decisions, what was the feedback given and why?
  • The measured-emotions test: This test is about separating past experiences with past traumatic experiences by realizing a traumatic experience can make us wary of similar situations and thus may bias us from deciding in the same way. If this is the case, it is important to bring in others and solicit their opinions of the situation.

    As you mentally work through each of the tests, if you find yourself where a situation fails even one of the four tests, the authors recommend strengthening your decision process so as to reduce the potential of a bad decision.

    The three suggested methods include: Stronger governance (such as a boss who can weigh in on the decision); additional experience and data; or more dialogue and challenge. While gut instinct can be helpful, it can sometimes cause trouble. As Campbell and Whitehead note, “We should never ignore our gut. But we should know when to rely on it and when to safeguard against it.”

    What steps do you take to make sure your gut instinct isn’t leading you toward and incorrect decision? Share your thoughts in the “Comments” section.

    Speak up! Join me on Twitter and Facebook

    Photo credit: Microsoft Free Clip Art

    I’m a career coach, business consultant/organizational trainer and former Fortune 500 executive. Now that I’ve “been there, done that” with more than 20 years of…

    I’m a career coach, business consultant/organizational trainer and former Fortune 500 executive. Now that I’ve “been there, done that” with more than 20 years of experience climbing the corporate ladder, I’m sharing the career advice you need to excel and standout in your profession as a leader. I’m the author of “Secrets of a Hiring Manager Turned Career Coach: A Foolproof Guide to Getting the Job You Want. Every Time” and “Your Career, Your Way,” and I’m blogging for Forbes and The Seattle Times.

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    @anildash spoke some truth today about tech and its antiblackness. Maybe if us black folk in tech #CallInBlack tomorrow they’ll notice. — Megan Anctil (@megsa_) July 7, 2020

    [tweet_quote display=\”What will you do? Use the hashtag #breakthefuture to share what you’re doing to create systems change.\”]What will you do? Use the hashtag #breakthefuture to share what you’re doing to create systems change.[/tweet_quote]”,”description”:”

    Anna was frustrated and discouraged that her boss had a clear favorite in the department and it wasn’t her. It seemed not only unfair, but unjustified to Anna. There are no private offices in the financial services firm where Anna works and the entire team shares an open space with their boss. He sits next to his “favorite” and laughs and carries on private conversations during the day. There is no question that this person is in favor despite the fact she is not the top performer on the team.\r\n\r\n (Photo courtesy of Pexels)\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\nWe know that favoritism is part of human nature. We want to work with those individuals that we like and with whom we feel comfortable. We choose certain friends based on commonality and chemistry and this plays out in the workplace every day. Senior executives are not immune to this behavior.\r\n\r\nApparently, favoritism is also a reality in the C-suite. A survey on this topic by Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business polled senior executives at large U.S. corporations found that 92% have recognized favoritism at play in employee promotions. 84% have seen it at their companies and 23% said they have practiced favoritism themselves. What’s particularly troubling is that 56% said that when considering candidates for promotion, they knew before any deliberations who they wanted to promote and 96% said they promoted the pre-selected individual. 29% said that they only considered one candidate in their most recent promotion.\r\n\r\nSo how do you overcome the reality that your boss has a favorite and it’s not you?\r\n\r\nIn above mentioned situation, Anna contacted me because she realized that her frustration was affecting her performance. I coached her that her best approach was to improve her own relationship with her boss, build a supportive network, as well as maintain her excellent performance.\r\n\r\nHere are 5 things to do when you’re not the boss’s favorite.\r\n\r\nUnderstand your value proposition and how your work contributes to positive business outcomes. It’s important for you to know how you add value to the organization and how you can potentially help your boss succeed. This helps you build influence and credibility not only with your boss but with the entire organization.\r\n\r\nFigure out how you can help your boss succeed. What’s important to them? What are their goals? Do they currently have initiatives that need support? How are they incentivized? What are their business objectives? If you don’t already have this information, do your homework and ask. Offering to help based on the value you add is a powerful way to strengthen a relationship and supersedes a “favorite” relationship that’s not based on performance. You can vastly improve your relationship this way.\r\n \r\nBuild a network of people who have power and influence in the organization. Who are the people who have influence over your career? How are decisions made? Who is in your boss’s circle of influence? You should build relationships with all these people. They need to know how you add value to the business and how you can help the organization move forward.\r\n\r\nFind allies and champions. Who can advocate for you in your department and in your company? Look for people who can give you information about the politics, open doors for new opportunities, and provide access to resources that will lead to your improved performance. Find out what they want and need and build mutually beneficial relationships. They will stand up and speak up for you when appropriate.\r\n\r\nCreate visibility across the organization. Use your value proposition to communicate and demonstrate to others how you can contribute to business objectives. Maybe your recent success on a project has some valuable information that will help others. Perhaps you tried a new methodology that was effective. Sharing this information not only gives you visibility but the credibility you need to establish yourself as a valued contributor.\r\n\r\nIn summary, your boss’s favoritism is a clear sign that there isn’t a level playing field and that your performance alone may not trump his or her affinity for another team member. Therefore, it becomes your responsibility to nurture a relationship with your boss on a different level. Communicating how you can help your boss achieve his/her goals and business objectives creates a strong bond. Understanding what other key stakeholders want and need to be successful and offering to assist them gives you the opportunity to build the visibility and credibility across the organization. That visibility enables you to establish relationships allies and champions at all levels. These are the people who will speak for you and support you and help you circumvent obvious favoritism.\r\n\r\nThis approach worked well for Anna. She now has a very strong relationship with her manager and he is fully aware of how Anna can help him and the organization move forward. She is well positioned for a promotion despite the fact she’s not the “favorite”.\r\n\r\nWant to learn more about how to advance your career? Check out my book, The Politics of Promotion: How High Achieving Women Get Ahead and Stay Ahead (Wiley 2020) and my website for additional resources including an online course based on the book.

    There’s a chance you’re sitting here, reading this while holding a giant bag of Cheetos, and you’re thinking– what the heck is she talking about? But the reality is, you know how you should treat your body, regardless of if you’re doing it or not. My suggestion to you, dear ladies, is that we approach our businesses in the exact same way.\r\n\r\n1. You Are What You Eat\r\n\r\nI’ve worked with a nutritionist for four years now, and I truly credit her for reshaping my thoughts around food. I’ve learned to view food as fuel and have taken steps to ensure that my fuel is the kind that will let the engine that is my body run at its optimum capacity. For me, that’s lots of organic protein, vegetables, and some fruit/healthy fats. As I got healthier, I did really start to see a correlation between what I ate and how I felt. When I ate garbage, I felt like crap. Even if it was totally psychosomatic, that correlation helped shift my thinking towards a more long-game view of wellness. I began to realize that it was the exact same thing with my company. When I hired great people, I got great results. When I held on to people who I liked, and made me feel comfortable, but didn’t produce results, the entire company suffered. I saw this correlation with vendors, with clients, even with ideas that I thought were great but simply weren’t. I began to optimize my company the way I optimized my food intake. Things that I knew were good for the business, I did more of. Luxuries that felt good, but were temporary and not working towards the long term health of the org, I killed quickly. And soon, my business became healthier and happier too.\r\n\r\n Photo courtesy of iStock\r\n\r\n2. Push Yourself Forward\r\n\r\nI’ve always enjoyed spin classes and definitely used that to help get in shape. But it was only when I started using a personal trainer that I understood the correlation between fitness and business. My trainer talks about pushing my muscles to the point of total fatigue and almost failure– and all about the energy, increased metabolism, and benefits that come from muscle regeneration. She pushes me to my limit, every week– to the point where I look at her and say, without fail, each and every time, \”I can’t\”. Of course, she reassures me that I can, and I do. And then, I rest and regenerate, and push even farther the next time. As an entrepreneur, I do this every single day. I have pushed myself beyond the point of comprehension– taking risks I never thought I would, pitching business I never thought I could, putting myself out there in ways maybe I never should. I have pushed myself to almost failure many times. And sometimes, I do fail. But almost always, I become better as a result of the pushing.\r\n\r\n3. Be Responsible\r\n\r\nI’ve been using birth control for over 20 years now, and it makes me mad. We, as women, endure menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth. And because of this, we are generally responsible for birth control. Why? Because if we don’t want to get pregnant, it’s on us. The buck stops here. Only we can truly be responsible for ensuring that we only get pregnant when we want to. And that’s frustrating– it would be easier to push it to the man, and say \”you deal with it\”. It’s the same thing as a CEO. Ultimately, the buck stops with you, and you’re responsible. As a woman, I must ensure that I’m protecting my body. As an entrepreneur, I must ensure that we have enough resources to execute on our promises that we make to our employees and customers. In both avenues, it is a good idea to think about protecting yourself– are you taking steps to ensure you have enough capital to run your business? Because at the end of the day– it comes back to you as a leader to solve that problem.\r\n\r\nYour body and its ability to move is one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever have. Your business and its ability to help you create the life you want is also one of the greatest gifts you’ll ever have. Cherish them both, be grateful for them both, and treat them well.

    Should You Always Trust Your Gut? 5 Instances When You Need to Go with Your Instinct

    Everybody says to always trust your gut, but nobody seems to know what that means, exactly.

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    There are many phrases and sayings surrounding your own instincts and intuition. People say that they ‘had a gut feeling’ or tell you ‘always trust your gut’ when it comes to making important decisions.

    Why is this?

    We have so many avenues of discussion and information open to us in this day and age. So there is no need to rely solely on our own feelings anymore. And yet, people continue to trust their guts over other available evidence.

    There may be a number of reasons for this, but one of the main ones is that people tend to be more sensitive than they realise. We pick up on things below the level of conscious thought, which can influence our actions and decisions later.

    If you are worried about letting go and letting your biology take the lead, don’t worry.

    There’s no need to jump straight into trusting your gut to make huge decisions. Try and follow your instincts on small decisions first. Once you have seen the results and know that you can fully trust yourself, then you can start moving into always trusting your gut for bigger decisions.

    1. Don’t ignore your gut feeling about health

    Many people ‘just know’ that there is something wrong with them, even when they seem otherwise healthy. Think of how many people go to the doctor (including me!) with their suspicions, only to be proven right in the face of the evidence.

    The reason for this is surprisingly simple, and when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You know how your body works and how it feels when you are healthy. When something is out of kilter, you will know, because your body will feel differently to the way it normally does. Don’t ignore this feeling!

    2. Always trust your gut for danger

    I remember reading about a fireman who was in the middle of a burning building with his team. Everything was going as well as you can expect a fire to be going. Suddenly, he had a feeling that everybody was in danger, and that they needed to leave the area immediately. Once everybody had cleared the building, an unseen force caused the roof to collapse. If the firemen had still been inside, they would all be dead now.

    It was only afterwards, when the cause of the fire had been ascertained, that the man realised he had seen the exact conditions in another fire, some time before. You should never ignore an instinct which tells you that you are in danger – it may very well be right.

    We are animals, after all, and we do still have the instincts and reactions of animals, even if they have become muted after our thousands of years of evolution. This is not to say that we are always correct, of course.

    All of the recent reports of shootings where people are completely innocent of any perceived crime or wrong-doing show. In this particular instance, it is particularly important for us to use our brains in conjunction with our guts.

    3. Trust your gut to reach your potential

    Again, people who do this should always use a healthy dose of critical thinking before they enact anything drastic. But there is a lot to be said for making life changes which can take hold of your life.

    Trust your gut when it says that you can expand your potential and meet new targets in life. Meeting your potential can be as simple as taking a baking class to bring your cakes to the next level. Or it may be as complex as setting out to learn a new language in preparation for a trip abroad. It doesn’t really matter.

    What matters is your willingness to follow your gut when it tells you that whatever subject it is that will expand your potential, it will be the one that you enjoy and that will lead you to new places. Expanding your potential is worth a lot, and it can sometimes take that push from your gut to convince you to do it.

    4. Always trust your gut to tell you that you can do something

    This applies to two different areas. If you are trained in a certain area and you know how to handle that area well, don’t put yourself down. Stand up and make sure that people know you can do it. This applies to your normal work or hobbies, to any particular new situations, and to emergencies. Don’t let yourself be ignored or pushed aside. Make sure that you stand up for yourself and your abilities.

    Sometimes, we end up in situations where we have the opportunity to try new things or try something which we haven’t done for a while. You should trust your instincts here too. Try something new and you might find that you enjoy it!

    It doesn’t need to be something as terrifying as sky-diving. It can simply be landscape painting or gardening. Just go with it, if your gut tells you to. You might be surprised by what happens.

    5. Go with your gut when it comes to love

    Note that this is not in reference to the falling in love at first sight, which is the favourite plot of all kinds of movies. That may happen, but it is not something that does so regularly.

    No, when we talk about trusting our gut when it comes to love, it means that we take a chance which we might not otherwise take. People are wary around matters of the heart for a good reason. It is so easy to get hurt, after all. But trusting your gut can lead to great things; and who knows what will come next?

    Copyright © 2020 Learning Mind. All rights reserved. For permission to reprint, contact us.

    From Getting in the Sales Trenches to Being You: 99U’s 10 Best Tips for Trusting Your Gut

    We’ve collected the best advice from Louise Fili, Adam J. Kurtz, and other 99U thinkers on following your inner voice.

    By Emily Ludolph Header image header by Julie Campbell

    Confidence, experience, and your own special brand of authenticity all come together to make that intangible authority: the gut check. But trusting your instincts can be hard. Never fear. We’ve collected the best advice from Louise Fili, Adam J. Kurtz, and other 99U thinkers on how to have confidence in your decisions.

    1. Know how to manage your own clients.

    For an up-and-coming illustrator or designer, it may seem like getting an agent is the surest ticket to stardom. But the shrewder move may be to start out by going it alone. Learn the ropes of the business side —from negotiating fees to sorting out licenses—so you know what an agent should be doing for you. “There’s a certain amount of satisfaction that comes from handling it all myself,” admits Laura Callaghan , an Irish illustrator working in London who’s been freelance and agent-free for the past seven years and counts Adidas and Nike as clients. “I enjoy dealing directly with clients and getting a sense of who they are and what they need.

    2. Study the numbers, but trust your instincts.

    Data can give us a lot of the answers. But it doesn’t possess every answer because the insight we get from our mysterious subconscious is its own kind of data. “Our guts have a wealth of past experiences and rational decisions that we can combine with digital data to make amazing experiences for our customers,” says Adam Morgan, author of the upcoming book, Sorry Spock, Emotions Drive Business: Proving the Value of Creative Ideas with Science.

    ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” src=”″ alt=”Designer Jessica Hische photographed in the Bay Area by Jennifer Michelson.” width=”2480″ height=”1840″ srcset=” 2480w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 2480px) 100vw, 2480px” />

    Jessica Hische photographed in the Bay Area by Jennifer Michelson.

    3. Redefine success.

    Designer Jessica Hische, author of Tomorrow I’ll Be Brave, has aimed for enough pie in the sky projects to know that the thing to fear when making big plans is your own sense of confidence. To that end, she’s re-jiggered her own metrics for success: “Achieving is great, but the real accomplishment is pushing through the initial fear to actually start doing something,” says Hische.

    4. Try a crazy career move.

    Sometimes, the fear of scaring big-name clients can lead to safe but lackluster proposals and atrophied creative muscles. That might be the sign it’s time to try a crazy career move. Matt Wegerer, more afraid of another year of risk-averse creative work than of failure, left his cushy agency role to found Whiskey Design. Now, he leads his team with the motto: no mediocre excuses for mediocre work.

    Louise Fili in her New York City studio. Photography by Franck Bohbot.

    5. Pursue personal projects to experiment with new skills.

    Build spaces outside of work, where your main goal is to develop not only a portfolio you’re passionate about, but also a point of view that is uniquely yours. “I feel very strongly that every designer has to have his or her own personal projects,” says designer Louise Fili. “Because it’s the only way that you really grow and find your design voice.”

    ” data-medium-file=”” data-large-file=”” src=”″ alt=”Photographer Scott Rinckenberger captures snowy mountain scenes in Washington.” width=”2480″ height=”1840″ srcset=” 2480w, 150w, 300w, 768w, 1024w” sizes=”(max-width: 2480px) 100vw, 2480px” />

    Photographer Scott Rinckenberger captures snowy mountain scenes in Washington.

    6. Venture off the beaten track.

    Find ways to bridge the great passions of your life with your hunger for creative growth. For instance, adventure photographer Scott Rinckenberger used to practice the high adrenaline sports that he now photographs. The former semi-pro skier bridged his lifelong passion with photography when he felt himself wanting to try something different. “I needed a new creative stimulus to keep my mind sharp and engaged,” he says. “I needed some new input and photography offered that.”

    7. Prepare ahead so you can live in the moment.

    As a travel photographer for the New York Times, Susan Wright often has only a few scant hours on location to shoot her images. That means there’s no time to ask questions or second guess. To get herself in the right state of mind, Wright visualizes the shoot ahead of time, so she can trust her gut in the moment. “Get in a meditative state and think about a location. Feel it. You get visions in your mind: the image that would be truly beautiful to capture…I give myself a shot list and then time to live in the moment.”

    8. Be you.

    At the end of the day, a successful career isn’t about talent, connections, or fancy tech capabilities. In the inimitable words of the artist Adam J. Kurtz, “We all have the tools and skills. Being yourself is the difference.”

    Big Spaceship CEO Mike Lebowitz and illustrator Ping Zhu talking at an AIGA NY event. Photo by Tony Tailor for AIGA/NY.

    9. You have more options than you think you do.

    There are bound to be moments in your career when you feel like there are no good options. Those are the moments to remember you have the greatest power in the world: the power to walk away. Yes, there are real and important responsibilities, like families or employees, that may impact your ultimate choice. But even in the moments when you feel like the least powerful person in the room, remember, you always have the power to say no.

    10. Do the worthwhile thing, not just the measurable thing.

    “We’ve all been there where there’s a good idea on the table. We know it would improve the experience, but it would be hard to measure. So, it gets killed,” says Lyft Director of Product Design Audrey Liu. Go to the mat for those ideas that you know will have impact beyond the hard numbers. It may be more worthwhile than you ever imagined.

    Trust Your Gut: Here Are 3 Tips That Will Help You Make Better Decisions

    We all have diverse opinions and points of view when it comes to approaching different situations in life. Most approaches to a situation merge into a vast gray area rather than clear blocks of black and white. So how do we make choices every day? What is it that tells us what the right decision is? Which job should you take? Should you move in with your partner? These decisions can get complicated really quickly.

    That is where your instincts come in. While reason should also be utilized in decision making, here are 3 reasons why you should always trust your instincts

    #1 Sometimes your subconscious might know something that you don’t: That turning in your gut tells you when to run or when things are fine for a reason, and that applies to situations in life that aren’t necessarily life threatening as well. We are biologically designed to automatically assess risk this way, without even knowing we are doing it. More often than not, these instincts are trustworthy and punching you in the gut for a reason.

    #2 You know more than you think you do: Our brains can hold more information that we are able to recall on demand. We may not give ourselves enough credit for what we do know. Sometimes things like denial or even love can also blur our judgement, but our gut feeling will always be there to tell us the truth what we already know, whether we want to hear it or not.

    #3 If you are wrong you know who to blame: If you made a wrong decision and trusted only yourself when making that decision, you will have no one else to blame. When the stakes are high, it is better to be held accountable to yourself than to listen to someone else and pin the blame on them when things go the wrong way.

    So, the next time you have to make a big decision, don’t disregard that feeling creeping up on you so easily. It might be trying to tell you something that you are overlooking or even outright ignoring. If you need more guidance on trusting your instincts you should read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.

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