In the world of business, especially when you’re starting out, intuition and going with your gut count for a whole lot. You might be lucky to have a mentor, and friends or family to help steer you through bumps on the road, but there is something about the feeling, the words that come to you as a crucial decision looms; inside yourself, you’ll know if it’s a yes or no answer and you’ll also know that following either could potentially make or break your business. So, do you go with it or rebel for a safer, textbook option? It can be a tough one to call.
We asked some of those nominated in the Social Entrepreneurship category of the IMAGE Businesswoman of the Year Awards – buy your tickets HERE – to tell us if they’ve ever gone against their instincts and what they learned from it all in the process.
I think for any leader to have real, lived experience, doubt will have and should be a critical element to your decision making. We learn more from what doesn’t go according to plan from what goes perfectly well and for any leader who hasn’t got it wrong at some point or hasn’t doubted themselves then I do not believe they are authentic and I believe it indicates that they are not open to real self-evaluation, analysis, and learning. Of course, for me, there have been times when I have doubted myself and I often refer to the ‘dark night of the soul’ and many people in leadership positions will know what I am talking about. I’m referring to those nights when you lie awake going over the decision and sleep escapes you. However it is during those nights that you can often see things most clearly, so yes I have doubted myself, and I am glad of it. Stephanie Manahan, Chief Executive, Central Remedial Clinic
I never doubted my intuition. What might seem a good reason to take that route at the time, has its reasons and consequences; it might take longer to achieve the overall goal, learning from your decisions and finding a way forward but with good people and support you will always get there, don’t ever doubt that. Suzanne Roche, CEO, Limerick’s Gateway to Education
Trusting your instincts is the most vital thing anyone can do in every situation be it personal or business. Joanna Sweeney, Lecturer, Institute of Education
When we’re hiring a new Physical Trainer, they must have at a minimum a degree in the field to ensure they have the expertise to handle our participants’ varying conditions. In the past, when my colleague and I interviewed potential candidates, I have gone against my instincts and hired those who on paper look like the ideal choice, with the right qualifications/experience, over someone with less experience but more desirable personality traits. This has resulted in less commitment from those trainers who have often moved on once a “better” opportunity has arisen. In 2015, I overhauled our employment process to give more weight to personality traits and shared vision; this has resulted in 80% higher staff retention. Carla Piera FitzGerald, Brand and Communications Manager, Siel Bleu Ireland
In a previous business, I doubted my instinct which was telling me that I was in the wrong business. As a result, I stayed in that business and was extremely unhappy for several years. Also, my pride would not let me admit that I was in the wrong business in case I was seen as a failure. Moira Geary, Director, Mind Experts Academy
My instinct 16 years ago was to get involved and help this charity build and open a Ronald McDonald House for families while their children were ill long term in Crumlin Hospital. I have never regretted for one moment that instinct or the journey it has taken me on. Marian Carroll, Volunteer CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charity