As business owners and entrepreneurs, we know what fear feels like. Our bodies have such a strong, physical reaction. We typically tense up, our heart rate speeds up, and that fight or flight instinct kicks in. This happens when we’re faced with something we don’t understand or have no control over. Fear stops us from making decisions, or at the very least, slows us down. It cripples our judgement, especially when we give this feeling power over us. But this article isn’t about tackling fear. It’s about the knowing feeling.
This knowing feeling is much more powerful, yet less recognizable. It’s the one that affirms you’re on the right track. Maybe it shows up as goosebumps or as an overwhelming wave of peace. Most of us have felt this sneaky feeling. Although, more often than not, we ignore this feeling. Or blame it on the AC or chalk it up to “just a good day.” This feeling is so subtle but in actuality, this is what we should pay close attention to. The feeling we should feed – not fear. Let me share a personal example of what I mean.
Years and industries ago, at a previous job, I was invited to Chicago for a meeting. I remember walking into the office and feeling connected to the space. Almost like deja vu. As if I had visited this building before. At this point in my life, I had never been to Chicago, let alone this office. There was no way I could feel connected to this place. But yet, I couldn’t shake the feeling. It stayed with me throughout my meeting, and followed me back to the hotel the company put me at. I ignored it and flew back home the next day.
The feeling that gnawed at me that day was my subconscious giving me a heads up on what the future had in store for me. Later on, years later, a brand-new position was created within the company. I applied and got it. Then, I was told that the position was based out of Chicago, in that same office I had visited a year or so earlier. My gut was sure I would be back in Chicago before reality did, even though there was no clear path yet or any inkling that there was potential. My body knew what I didn’t know yet. I ended up working in that office for two years. That very same feeling returned in 2016 when I met with the owners of Travel Planners International as a consultant. Deep down, my gut knew that my next career step was with them. And sure enough, here I am, VP of Sales and Marketing for TPI.
When you have this feeling, I dare you to pay closer attention to it. Give it a home inside your thoughts even if it doesn’t make sense. Remember, you just don’t have the whole picture yet. Look for signs that it’s getting stronger, because it will. Pounce on the opportunity when it comes around again, even if it tries to disguise itself as fear. As small business owners, we have to trust “our gut.” Think about how much you’ve accomplished so far. Believe it or not, it’s that very feeling that has pushed you to where you are right now. Without it, you may have never taken that leap of faith to start your own business!
Another perfect example is Steve Jobs. Whether you’re team iPhone or Android, we can all agree that Steve Jobs revolutionized the technology industry. In 2018, there were 101.9 million iPhone users in the U.S. and it’s projected to reach over 110 million by 2021. Steve Jobs was an entrepreneur and a visionary. However, before Steve Jobs was Steve Jobs, he was a college dropout. He saw no point in going to college, it didn’t feel right to him. Yet, he co-founded what is now known as the world’s leading tech giant. But by the time Jobs was 30, he was fired by Apple, his own company. A loss like that would’ve crippled anyone but yet, Jobs felt compelled to find his next project. He co-founded NeXT, a company that Apple eventually purchased, and Pixar, one of the world’s most successful animation companies.
About the ups and downs in his life, Steve Job said “you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
So believe in that feeling. Believe in the dots you can’t connect yet. Because no matter how well thought out our business strategies are, sometimes it has to take a backseat to this feeling. You know what you don’t know yet. Trust the process and yourself. Your future self can’t wait to thank you.