Oct 6 / Matt Saunders

Follow the Feeling

Do you tend to err on the side of caution? Do you deny yourself amazing opportunities because fear holds you back? If so, here I share the basis of a script you can use to get yourself out of this self-defeating rut and build a richer, more positive life for yourself.
A phrase I find myself repeatedly saying to clients recently is "follow the feeling". The first time, it slipped out without much thought, but the general response to this phrase is an affirming nod.

It seems that we all intuitively know what it means. But, as always, I'd like to unpack it so you have something tangible to work with.

Listen to your gut (most of the time)

Figure looking up at constellation of stars
I generally agree with the classic piece of advice to "listen to your gut". It speaks to your inner voice; your instinct. Tuning into your gut feeling can be helpful to drown out the incessant ramblings of your thinking mind.

But, your gut does not always have your best interests at heart, and here's why.

Getting past the negativity bias

Humans have evolved an innate bias toward seeing the negative. In simple terms, this means that whenever you have a good idea, it is generally vanquished by all the possible bad things that could occur should you execute on your good idea.

For example, your gut might be telling you "I should raise my prices!" But then you're met with a cascade of thoughts calling into question your competency and self-worth. Doubt takes hold, and you do nothing.

In my personal experience, the gut instinct is great at uncovering good ideas, but is falls prey to the negativity bias. In this case, "following the feeling" won't produce good results because the gut feeling is one purely of fear. We need a contrasting and opposing force to balance things out. This is where inspiration comes in.
[Above] Clip from my membership group talking about self-trust

Follow your inspiration

I realised that what I mean by "follow the feeling" is actually "follow the inspiration". Or to look at it another way, tune into what excites you.

I have come to realise that a meaningful life is made up of events that balance a beautiful blend of fear and excitement. They are two sides of the same coin. Unfortunately, for most of us the fear side of this coin is heavily weighted. Any possible sense of a positive outcome leads to us quickly tossing the coin again, secretly hoping we land on fear so that we don't need to get uncomfortable or risk failure.

What a way to live *smh*

Let's see if we can bring a sharper focus to the positive side of the coin which contains all the things that excite you.
[Above] Learn to be guided by your inspiration

Feel the fear and do it anyway

The trick to following the feeling is being able to clearly separate true desire from fear.

Let us imagine that you'd love to travel for six months and take your business on the road. If this thought inspires you, what you need to do is become acutely aware of the negative voice that will say "you can't do it". This voice is usually a deep echo from within, and unless you consciously hear it, it will keep building an ever-stronger case for you to act on its suggestion.

Once you hear this voice, the next step is to say "thank you for the warning" then refocus on the inspiration...

Imagine the beautiful places you will visit, the people you'll meet. Imagine the experiences you'll have and the stories you will be able to tell. Think about those random conversations in bars, the local dishes you'll try and the sense of freedom you will feel in this state of temporary nomadism. It's going to be great! You'll love it! And if anything does go "wrong", it'll probably be a funny story later on. There's nothing to lose and so much to gain.

It can be supremely empowering to notice fear but not let it control you. And the more often you take the positive, expansive path (rather than the ever-shrinking path of fear), the easier it gets. Within a surprisingly short space of time, you become the person who follows their inspiration by default.

Imagine what is potentially available to you with this mindset. If you're not sure, the answer is everything you want and more.

Follow your feeling

Believe in yourself
If you've made it this far then something about what I've shared here has probably resonated quite deeply. The purpose of my work is to help solo business owners find their impossible thing and move toward it. Generally, we don't have anywhere to vent our frustrations, air our concerns or revel in our ideas. The closest thing many of us have is our partners, and in most cases, they're tired of hearing about it!

This is why I provide a supportive space for freelancers and business owners to visit, express themselves and move forward from a place of positive possibility. I can help you in a couple of ways - either through my 1:1 coaching or in my group The Solo Collective.

If you're unsure if this is for you, or you're not yet ready to invest, be sure to register for my free newsletter and follow me on LinkedIn for regular conversation, tips and advice for solo entrepreneurs.
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