I recently went on an interview and almost walked out in the middle of it. As my would-be boss droned on about how amazing she is, my gut said in no uncertain terms, "Must. Leave. Now."
But instead I heard my mouth say, "This is a great opportunity and I know I will do well here."
What happened? Why did my mouth just say that? Aren't we a team? Why is my head defying my gut? Where did my heart go?
I got the job. Of course I did. My mouth wouldn't listen to my gut and said things like, "I believe in this mission. I want to help you be the best you can be." My mouth never shut up with the incessant compliments...I'm surprised I didn't offer to pick up dry cleaning. To be fair, this woman may have had some reservations about me, wondering if I was borderline stalker.
I was speaking in what seems to have been the language of, "Kissing Major Ass." I don't recall taking advanced courses in this language, but somewhere along the road I learned the correct intonations, when to laugh even though my gut is fearing for its life, and how to sprinkle in 'ego boosters' so my superior feels...well, superior.
What is with this defiant stance on doing the opposite of what the gut tells me to do? It only leads to pain and misery. Like the time I went snowboarding on what I can only describe as an "icy hill" and broke my tailbone.
I think we all come installed with our own little orange detour cones, but for some reason, we seem to question if it's legit. I have friends that ask, "But what do YOU think? Should I go to Mexico or Europe?" And I do the same. "What does YOUR gut say about me becoming vegetarian?"
Perhaps we're not really asking for an answer necessarily, but rather, we need a gut checker. A friend to help us navigate the way into our guts so we can check it out. I wish I could have had a gut checker in that interview.
We could have called for a recess, leaned in close as we drank coffee and I'd spill out in a caffeinated panic, "I'm totally repulsed and want to leave, but is that rude? What do YOU think I should do?"
My answer was there already waiting - I just needed a gut checker. A friend with a cup of coffee to say, "Sure it's rude, but this person is a fucking lunatic. Let's go shopping."
But I will say, even when we defy our intuition and we make huge mistakes that usually end up with a broken tailbone, broken heart, or busted up ego, we have the guts to move forward and try again until it feels right to us. And the next one is usually better because we learn what isn't right for us.
That's the power of human nature. We've got guts, that's for sure. All we have to do is check it once in a while. If we're lucky, we have a friend to help us navigate the way.