Sometimes You Shouldn’t “Trust Your Gut”

Your gut may be ego

  • “I’ve been doing this for X amount of years.”
  • “We’ve done this forever.”
  • “What do you know, I founded this company.”

Whenever I hear these phrases, or things close to them, I know that a follow-up question usually ends in “instinct,” meaning they are relying on gut rather than facts.

That is fine. Sometimes, that can lead you to victory.

I’d ask you though, to recognize sometimes you aren’t crunching old memories in your head like artificial intelligence. Sometimes, you are looking at the messenger and doing an ego check. It’s less “I’m running on experience” and more “who is he to tell me this.”

If it is, you might want to take a breath and listen because it is a sign of entropy.

If they are wrong, correct them and help them grow.


Permission is Fragile

Don’t break trust

Permission is sensitive.

Every time you ask someone for the right to do something, explicitly or implicitly, there is a cost.

That price draws against what I like to call the trust bank.

The trust bank is how much does someone trust you.

Like a regular bank, the trust bank relies on deposits and withdraws to work.


  • Gratitude
  • Appreciation
  • Challenges
  • Support


  • “Permission” (small, when you don’t abuse trust)
  • “Permission” (HUGE, ABILITY TO WIPE AN ACCOUNT, when you abuse trust)

Big withdraws are happen quickly, and unlike a regular bank, once you overdraft, you are out, and the relationship ends.

Permission is fragile, don’t break it.

Do What You Need to Do

No one cares.

No. The people around you don’t care, especially if the following is true:

  • You show up when they need you
  • Your contributions matter
  • You bring ideas to the table

If you are reliable, interested, and curious, people trust you. So when you have to disappear to get something done, they aren’t thinking about you.  They know you bring the goods.

If you earn trust, feel free to use it.

The only thing you can’t stop doing are the three things above.


Say It


How can I say What I Want if you:

  • Haven’t proven to me that you understand where I’m coming from
  • Don’t follow through on what you say
  • Break my trust by gossiping

If I know you don’t listen, act, or believe then how could I say it? How could anyone?

Would you?

Precision vs Accuracy

Don’t confuse one for the other

For many, these seem to be the same words. However, physics has a clear definition for both.

Precision is the grouping or closeness of your choice.

i.e. A bunch of arrows hitting the same place. Think of a bunch of arrows.

Accuracy is how close your choice is to the value.

i.e. Hitting the target as specified. Think of the bullseye.

They are mutually exclusive.

The trouble comes when we lead; sometimes we confuse one for the other.

If one thing “works” out of five, we were accurate, not precise.

If five things were in the same ballpark but were none of them “worked,” we could have been precise.

It is impossible always to be accurate and precise because we aren’t robots. We also must recognize that because we aren’t robots, it is our duty to understand when we aren’t, and communicate it.

To gain trust consistently, you have to recognize the difference and act on it.

Answering the Unasked Question Creates Trust

How do you answer and unasked question?

You can answer a question before someone asks it. It isn’t magic.  It can happen during your pitch.

Before you show up, think about what the other side needs. If you base your discussion on that point, then you’ve done the first step. If you follow that up with the right research and confidence, then you’ll find yourself answering things they want to know.

They won’t need to ask questions.

You’ve done the work beforehand to understand what they will ask; your pitch is a compilation of your work and their questions. You will demonstrate that you know the client.

It is preparation and domain knowledge. This work builds trust.

Trust opens the door for you and as a result, the opportunity to use your taste.

That is when things will get interesting.

The Joy (and Work) of Maintaining Boredom Leading To Insight

Avoiding boredom

I first thought of boredom as a terrible thing. So, I would (and still do in some respect)seek out anything to keep my mind busy. I tried anything to keep the boredom away, so I would indulge in video games, Netflix, a magazine, call someone, text someone etc. Anything and everything that kept me “focused” and “on task,” no matter what that task was, seemed like progress.

However, nothing is worse than progress in the wrong direction, and making yourself do things for the sake of doing them often leads you in the wrong direction. After heading the wrong direction a few times ( uh oh, how did I end up in a pasta making class when I hate to cook),I had to think of something different. It didn’t reconcile with my idea that time is our only resource when I looked for specific things to do to waste it.

How do you stop that?

Maintaining boredom

I turned off everything, now there are no notifications on my phone, I beat the video games I planned on beating, and I avoided the “Netflix machine” (my TV). I decided that I was going to try to see what boredom brings. Instead of looking at learning how to slice tomatoes, I decided I would sit in my room and dedicate the time to absolutely nothing.

I turned on a YouTube speech I heard several times and just sat there (I cheated, but it’s a start). I recognized, rather quickly, that the brain is a rebel. When I tried to do nothing, a whole list of to-do’s appeared in my head. I thought about quests I didn’t complete in RPG’s, old work projects I never scuttled, and if I cleaned my sink correctly.

In short, any and everything that came up was a distraction.

What happened?

After sitting there for almost three hours doing mental gymnastics, something appeared and didn’t stop. I ended up recognizing my need to “minimalize,” and remove the stuff around me that I didn’t use anymore. I just shot a video on minimalism, and it didn’t surprise me that this came up.

After sitting there for some more time, I put it together. I had the why set in my head, and the impulse to start. I completed it.

This isn’t a story of me cleaning my apartment deeply, but something more interesting.

Why was the boredom important

What I didn’t see until I sat there was the reason I kept all of this stuff was because I wasn’t  moving on with my life. All of my old trinkets from my office littered my apartment. Most of it was stuff I didn’t use, didn’t need, and allowed me to feel comfortable with old ideas from the office.

The cleaning represented me stripping the extra weight from quitting and retrofitting the rest to help propel me into this new chapter. Those thoughts lived under (no pun intended) all my other ideas, and colored my decision-making since I quit. Since I did it, I feel amazing and now the old stuff I had is now fitting in my life now.

I couldn’t have gotten there without dealing with the boredom I had.

 I am fully free to start this new chapter.


Giving Away Books