You know when you ask yourself: “Did I hear that right?”, and not because you’re hard of hearing, but because someone said something that made an alarm go off somewhere in your body?? For some, the alarm is in their head. For others it’s in their stomach, hence the phrase ‘gut instinct.’ That’s where I get my alarms. Especially the loud ones. The noise makes me a little queasy, especially if the person in question repeats what they said and it turns out that yes, indeed, I heard it right the first time. In the creation and daily running of EasyLunchboxes, every relationship I’ve established has been through the Internet, where you can’t look someone in the eye or even shake hands. Before you exchange contracts or dollars, you have to get a sense of someone’s integrity (or, in some cases, their sanity) and sometimes the only way to do that is through email exchanges or phone calls. I have two colleagues/friends who’ve had bad experiences in this area.
Shhh. Your Gut is talking….
Barbara Schantz, super mom of two sets of twins and the inventor of The Baby Dipper Bowl, is someone I met online when I first launched EasyLunchboxes, and to whom I turned for mompreneur advice. Barbara recently wrote a very telling post about how she went with her gut instincts and avoided losing a lot of money.
My other friend, Alison Moore Smith, is my blog expert behind the scenes. I needed a WordPress Thesis expert and, starting with a Tweet I read of hers on Twitter, I went on to hire Alison to set up this blog. She impressed me from start to finish, and we are now friends. Just this week, Alison ignored what she calls “red flags” (there were 10 by her count), had her valuable time wasted, and ultimately, she went unpaid for her hard work.
Both have written interesting and detailed blog posts about what happened:
Interestingly enough, I established friendly business and personal relationships with Barbara and Alison because my gut instinct helped me recognize that they were good people worth knowing!
The other side of this, therefore, is that your gut can also confirm the positive feelings you have about someone. Although I had everything in writing, I still had to have a certain amount of blind faith when I finally decided to hire a company to manufacture my lunch boxes and a fulfillment company to package orders and ship them.
But I felt good about my choices because I had rejected the companies that did or said something alarming, and narrowed it down to those that had given me nothing but positive feelings through their professionalism in pursuing my business. (I also carefully checked their references, of course!)
The bottom line is that you have to ask a lot of questions and really get in touch with how the answers make you feel. A really clear “red flag” is when someone can’t or won’t give you answers, bad mouths others, or seems impatient with your line of questioning. When I was growing up, this was called giving off “bad vibes” and there’s definitely something to that. And in the case of “bad vibes” you should “just run away…fast” as Alison puts it.
How about you? Has your gut helped you recognize a certain someone as friend or foe?