Business Decision-Making: When to Trust Your Gut – TPP11

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Do you struggle with tough decisions? This episode is all about reflects on how and when to trust your gut. You’ll also learn what woo-woo hippies mean by “manifesting”.

Twila uses the phrase, “Danger Will Rogers!”, when really she meant to say “Danger Will Robinson!”, a phrase from Lost In Space. Will Rogers was an American vaudeville actor, famously known for being a cowboy from Oklahoma. We love Twila anyway!

TK:                   So, hey Jen.

Jen McFarland:             Yes.

TK:                   Trusting your gut.

Jen McFarland:             Yes.

TK:                   Yeah.

Jen McFarland:             What’d you have to say about that?

TK:                   Trust your gut, show over.

Jen McFarland:             If only it were that simple.

Recorded voice:           Your listening to the Third Paddle podcast recorded at the Vandal lounge in the beautiful Southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck in business shit creek. Tech strategist [00:00:30] Jen Mcfarland and business strategist, TK are your third paddle helping you get unstuck.

TK:                   How many times? Let me ask you this, how many times have you gotten yourself into situations and looked back and went, “I should have listened. My Gut was telling me not to do this. My Gut was telling me this was gonna happen. I shouldn’t have done this?”

Jen McFarland:             Most of the time I listened to that, but yeah I would say that in the times where I don’t [00:01:00] trust myself … Sometimes I’m surprised and everything’s okay, but sometimes I just shake my head and think, “Man, I really should have listened to myself. I really should have trusted my feelings on this.”

TK:                   And I think for you being that personality type that analyzes and really thinks about things, it probably does happen a lot less for people like you, right? I mean, it does happen once in a while of course, because we’re all human, but it probably [00:01:30] does happen less for you because you are innately set up to think about things first and think them through and try to imagine all the should-ifs and the what-ifs ahead of time, right? So that you make better decisions. Your personality kind of is innately in tune with doing that. Where a person like myself, it’s just, “Yeah, sure, whatever. Let’s do it. That sounds fun, that sounds good, [00:02:00] let’s do it,” right?

And then we get into it and it’s like, “Yeah, I should have listened because there was something in my gut that was telling me don’t do that, no. Might sound like fun, might sound like a good idea, but no, you don’t need to be doing that.” So I think it happens to different personalities more than others-

Jen McFarland:             Well, I think it happens in different ways. I think that I can research something and analyze it, but I’m still susceptible to the same outside influences as other people. Like [00:02:30] things like price and my overall budget, and what I can really … What I think I can afford versus you know, what I should be doing, versus what the research says. And so it gets to the point where you don’t know what to trust because you have these other constraints that are an issue. You can’t spend unlimited amounts of money on your own business. You don’t have an unlimited staff. You don’t have all kinds of time, [00:03:00] but you also don’t have the luxury to make mistakes. And that makes mistakes even more painful. When you’re a small business owner, you’re just getting started, when you do make a mistake, it can actually be more costly and set you back further than if you did just listen to yourself and pay a little bit more money, and just go forward with something that you can trust because you’ve done the research and you’ve done the work.

TK:                   Absolutely, or like in my case where I’ve gotten involved in certain projects or [00:03:30] being that idea generator, being that, “Oh yeah, that sounds fun, let’s go do that. Let’s go try that,” get into these situations where I’d take myself off of focus of my business and things that I really should be doing in my business to move it forward, right? These new ideas come in and you go down these rabbit holes or you squirrel for a little bit, which costs you so much money. [00:04:00] Because if you would’ve just stayed focused … I’m thinking back in time and I remember one time that I gave a lot of time to a certain project and that was one of those squirrel ideas, right? It sounded good at the time, got sold to me really well, but in my gut, I was thinking, “Yeah, I don’t know, that’s … It might take a little more time away than I really need for my business [00:04:30] and, you know, is there really going to be the return that they say there’s going to be? And you know, I don’t know. It’s just not. It’s not feeling quite right, but heck, it’s an opportunity. Okay, let’s go with it.” Right?

And went with it and took myself away from my business, took that focus away from my business and it was hard. Once I got to that point of reaching that realization that, oh, I should have listened to my gut [00:05:00] because exactly what I thought was going to happen did happen. Lord knows how much money I lost in that interim of not being focused and not building … Not keeping that pipeline and momentum of sales and clients and all of that, going in my business. I can’t even put an equation to that, right? I can’t put a number to that, but I know I lost for sure.

Jen McFarland:             Yeah. I always account for that [00:05:30] has like learning experiences. I took a job once that sounded so great on paper. It sounded like it was just going to be the absolute greatest thing. Making more money than I never made before. Doing a wide variety of tasks, creating something new. It looked so amazing and even a few months in as I was doing the research and starting to flush out what this would really look [00:06:00] like, what the job would be because I was creating my own job. I started to realize, “Oh boy, this is not a job that I want,” and then just kind of kept going and continuing and staying in it. And boy oh boy, if I had really not focused so much on the money, not focused so much on these other external things and really thought about it, and considered all of the players [00:06:30] and everything involved, I would’ve made a much different decision for sure.

TK:                   Right, and I think sometimes we start thinking about these things, right, and we’re probably even triggering some feelings in our listeners right now of, “Oh yeah, I’ve had those moments. I’ve had that should have, could have, would have, right. And I’ve not trusted my gut and not listened,” and looked back and said, “Well, I should have listened. If I would have listened, I wouldn’t be here.” [00:07:00] And then there are some people that I really do think have a really great point is that, well, maybe that’s not really what it was at all. Maybe it’s not that you didn’t listen to your gut. Maybe it’s that you kept focusing on what you thought was going to be the turnout, which was, “It’s not going to be good.” And so you, in fact, manifested that.

Jen McFarland:             That’s certainly one way of looking [00:07:30] at it. I think that in certain cases, if you look, well, like the job example that I just gave, had I really considered, again, all of the people involved, the outcome was very predictable. In other cases, 100%  you’re manifesting … You reap what you sow. If you only see the bad and you’re only going to get worse, because you’re not able to really see the opportunities and really see the goodness. [00:08:00] Sometimes you don’t have enough patience. You’re not willing to stick it out and really ride it out. You kind of end things too soon. Other times you ride it out way too long, and you stay way too long with something, and because you know, that … You just keep thinking like it’s going to get better, it’s gonna get better, it’s gonna get better, and you dig yourself deeper and deeper into a hole. So, it’s really hard to know what to do. It’s really easy to be that [00:08:30] Monday morning quarterback.

TK:                   Right. Exactly.

Jen McFarland:             Which means the game was on Sunday, really easy to talk about it the day after.

TK:                   Yeah, and you know, you brought up a really great point that you look at it and sure you … Maybe it’s not that you actually manifest it, but you actually make it come about even a little sooner, and you bow out too soon because you had it in your head all along that [00:09:00] it wasn’t gonna work. So, everything that happens is just going to prove that point to you.

Jen McFarland:             Yes, it’s evidence at that point.

TK:                   Right, it’s just evidence. And so every little thing is just going to make you go, “Yeah, I knew this wasn’t going work. I should have listened to my gut. I knew this wasn’t going to work.” When, if you wouldn’t have even started down that road with that thought process anyway, would that evidence be appearing the way that it’s appearing?

Jen McFarland:             Well, we don’t really know.

TK:                   Right, exactly.

Jen McFarland:             We’re not going to know. It’s really [00:09:30] hard to judge that. I do think, getting back to it, you see whatever it is that you want to see at the end of the day, and if you really want to see the good, you’ll see the good, you’ll see the opportunities. You’ll surround yourself with every opportunity to succeed. At the same time, if you have a bad attitude and you just think there’s no way this is going to work out, you’ll find all the reasons to self-sabotage and create problems in a project.

TK:                   Right? [00:10:00] And so it all just circles back to you got to listen to your gut. You got to listen because sometimes we’ll have that … Like I’ve even had this moment where I thought, “Oh, do I really need to be doing this?” But then there’s a larger call to do it. And that gut feeling is more fear than anything. It’s just, it’s a little scary. It’s out of my comfort zone to go do that. Right? So I don’t produce evidence and I don’t produce bad attitude [00:10:30] that it’s not going to work. In fact, the opposite actually happens, and so I’m glad that I listened to my gut at that time when it was telling me, “No, go ahead and do this. Just keep … Even though it’s scary, even though it’s uncomfortable, even though it’s going to cause you to grow, you got to still go do it. Listen to the gut.” And when your gut is telling you, “Look, this probably isn’t going to turn out good. You know this [00:11:00] isn’t …”

Then that’s not necessarily a fear. That really is that inner knowing inside going,-

Jen McFarland:             Yeah.

TK:                   Danger Will Rogers, danger Will Rogers, danger Will Rogers.

Jen McFarland:             But I know that, but like it’s so hard in the middle of it, and heat of it to discern when you’re freaking out for no reason. When you have all of this evidence that’s telling you not to do it, and when you are literally making yourself sick over nothing,

TK:                   [00:11:30] Right. So you know in that turn, I think what we need to do is we do need to stop and look at things, and even if we don’t actually take the advice of our gut at that moment, then what we still have to trust is ourselves, right? We have to trust in ourselves that even if this works out, even if this doesn’t work out and my gut turns to be right, I still will have learned something. [00:12:00] I still will have met other people along the way or gotten other opportunities along the way that I don’t even know we’re here, and I’m still going to figure it out. I’m still going to be okay. So even if you’re not listening and trusting your gut, you still at the end of the day no matter what, have to trust yourself.

Jen McFarland:             Well, but some people have a really hard time with that. That’s really about confidence and about [00:12:30] that ability to say, “I believe in myself no matter what, and good, bad or indifferent, I’m going to be able to get out of this one way or the other.” And whenever you make a bad decision you have to have that parachute, and I always have that parachute in mind, but I also have the confidence to believe in myself and that I can make a success. I can always make lemonade.

TK:                   Exactly.

Jen McFarland:             I’m not going to sit in a pile of lemons, so … But that is like a personal thing. Like that’s a personal [00:13:00] call, like a personal emotion and how you deal with things.

TK:                   It is. It is a personal call and I think the way that you can get there if you’re one of those people that are sitting there going, “yeah, I can’t trust myself. Like I don’t, I just can’t. I don’t even know what you guys are talking about because I can’t go there. I can’t trust myself. I haven’t been able to.” I think you have to sit and really look back on your [00:13:30] life, no matter what point it was, even if it was something in second grade for crying out loud, and celebrate all your wins along the way, right? Look at the things that you did accomplish along the way and then you can sit there and look at it and go, “Well, you know what? Yeah, every single time, no matter what, even if I didn’t listen to my gut, even if I didn’t trust myself at the time, I got through it and I still figured it out. And I went and did something else. [00:14:00] So that is evidenced to me today that I’ve had that pattern all my life that I can, no matter what, I can figure it out.” So then you can start trusting yourself.

Jen McFarland:             I think is that taking time for self reflection, taking time to really consider all angles of several difficult situations within your life, and realizing how strong and how powerfully you really are is [00:14:30] one way of then saying to yourself, “Moving forward, now I know I can believe in myself and I can trust in myself, and I may still jump into things that don’t feel quite right-”

TK:                   And I may not listen to my gut.

Jen McFarland:             “And I may not listen, but at least I know, and I know I can figure it out.” And the most important thing. I don’t think that any of us can say we’re never going like stop ourselves when we have that little icky feeling [00:15:00] in the pit of our stomachs because we’re still human and we still like to have an adventure. But I also think that acknowledging that that feeling is there and thinking about, “Well, what could go wrong? What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen?” And if you’re good with that, then go ahead and move forward.

TK:                   And you just, you took the words right out of my mouth because I was going to tell the story of my dad, and what he used to tell us girls was exactly that. He would say, “Look, it doesn’t really matter [00:15:30] if your gut is telling you that it’s a good thing or a bad thing, and if you listen to it or not, but if you can at the end of the day sit there and go, okay, my gut might be saying this, but I still want to go do that and what’s the very worst thing that can happen, that you can think of? And if you can still live without at the end of the day, go for it. Go for it, because nothing is really going to be a mistake,” because just like you said earlier, it’s still will have been lessened learned, [00:16:00] or you’ll still meet someone along the way, or you’ll still have an opportunity that comes about because of it.

Jen McFarland:             Exactly. I had an old boss that I had that when the chips were down, she was always looking for somebody to stand up and she’d say, “It’s an opportunity for excellence.”

TK:                   Yeah, I love that. I love that.

Jen McFarland:             That’s what it is.

TK:                   Yeah. So, on one hand, we’re saying, “Trust your gut. Listen to it so that you don’t make so many mistakes, [00:16:30] but we’re all human. We’re going to make those mistakes anyway, so in those moments, trust yourself.” That is really what we’re saying for this whole episode, right? And the lesson that we want to leave with you, the listener, is that take the time, stop, really listened to your gut, and if you make the decision to do it anyway, then don’t look at it that, “I didn’t trust my gut.” Just look at it that you trusted yourself, [00:17:00] that even if it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, you trusted yourself to be able to figure it out in the end anyway.

Jen McFarland:             And I think that’s a wrap. I mean, I’m sitting out here in the backyard at my house, look at these beautiful trees and sitting under this wonderful umbrella and a nice [00:17:17] summer day, and I can’t think of a better way to close this out.

TK:                   Yeah, me either. Trust your gut, trust yourself.

Jen McFarland:             So thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. If you have any questions or comments, please [00:17:30] email us at Be sure to listen and subscribe, and if you really like what you’re hearing, please feel free to leave us a review on iTunes and we can post that on our website.

TK:                   And tell your friends to what?

Jen McFarland:             Subscribe.

TK:                   Subscribe

Jen McFarland:             And listen.

TK:                   And listen.

Jen McFarland:             Thank you.

Recorded voice:           Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. If you like our show and want to learn more, check out our website at, or leave us a review on iTunes. Send questions or [00:18:00] topic ideas to and don’t forget to tune in each week to get even more technology and business tips to help you navigate business Shit Creek. The third pedal podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth online at and TK international online at

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