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Your Gut Instincts and Conflict

Many of us have fine-tuned instincts that help guide us through challenges we face when we encounter situations and interactions that perplex us.  We might use the expression “my gut tells me….” at these times. Gut instinct or intuition refers, generally, to our immediate understanding of something – a feeling that there is no need to think on it to any degree. We just seem to trust ourselves that we have the answer.

The thing is, we aren’t actually 100% accurate all of the time about what we are intuiting and particularly, when we don’t have all the facts to support us. Because our instincts are often accurate, we might tend to think we are stronger in that area than we are and act accordingly. Over time though, I have come to see, by my own experiences and many of my coaching clients’, that trusting our guts can lead to foolish decisions and choices.

What I have come to realize is that when I rely and act on my gut instincts I sometimes do so to my detriment.  I miss the opportunity to strengthen my curiosity muscle – to ask more questions and get more ideas, to engage the person or persons about their views – opening up the space for them to also, share their ideas and feelings, and to be more humble about my determinations, and find other answers that may be better for others and me. These and the other things can get lost if we rely solely on our gut.

This week’s Conflict Mastery Quest(ions) blog invites readers to consider a situation in which you relied on your gut, and you are not so sure your gut held all the answers.

  • What is the situation in which you relied on your gut instincts?
  • What did your gut tell you was going on?
  • What did your instincts tell you to say or do that you acted on?
  • What made that feel right at the time?
  • What didn’t work about using your instincts, in this situation?
  • What was the impact on you as a consequence (your answer to the above question)?
  • What was the impact on the other person?
  • How did it impact the situation between you?
  • What might you have done differently – rather than relying on your gut instincts?
  • Given that you might be used to counting on your instincts – and they are generally strong and accurate  – what did you learn from this particular conflict that you may add to a tendency to rely on them?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

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