The Entrepreneur Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in America’s startup scene contribute answers to timely questions about entrepreneurship and careers. Today’s answer to the question “When making a tough business decision, how do you know when to trust your gut?” is written by Gesche Haas, founder of Dreamers//Doers.
For me, this holds true for all tough business decisions: My work immensely suffers when I don’t listen to my gut and instead let fear of making the wrong decision take over.
I had to learn this the hard way after leaving a promising career in the hedge fund world to work on several startups of my own. Suddenly, the limitations that came from being in a corporate environment—like having a boss—were lifted and the onus was on me to make every decision. When you’re on your own, it’s you who directly benefits—or suffers—from the outcome of your decisions, which can mean life or death for your company in some cases.
As a startup founder, you’re creating something from nothing. No matter how much you research, you won’t be able to come to a clear conclusion if you don’t trust your gut. This can lead to indecisiveness—or you never fully owning the final decision—meaning you’ll be in a constant mental limbo and things won’t move forward as fast as they should. These are all factors that can mean the difference between entrepreneurial success or failure.
So how can we get into a mindset that allows us to listen more to our guts and sets us up for success? Learn to trust in yourself and own who you are.
These five realizations have been game-changing for me:
1. It’s not about finding the ultimate “right”answer.
There are hardly ever any decisions that have a right or wrong answer. It’s about finding the right answer for you.
2. The more you are you, the more you will attract the people you want in your life.
And the better you’ll become at pushing away the ones who aren’t additive.
3. You do your best work by pouring yourself into it.
It’s hard to excel at the act of trying to be someone else, or to outperform if you lack pleasure in your work.
4. Trying to please others is impossible.
You’ll always displease someone. People are mind-blowingly different. Even within a narrow audience there are infinite variations. And if you do succeed, you still lose. You’ll have succeeded in creating work that resonates with others, but not with you.
5. Trying to please others and overly worrying weighs on confidence.
Inherently, by being a pleaser, you worry. As a pleaser/worrier, you are driven by fear. This silences your gut, leaving you without a compass. This not only negatively impacts your work, but it affects every part of your life.
Own your gut
All decisions come with a unique set of consequences—even the decision to be yourself. It’s not about eliminating limitations, but about picking your poison. Only by doing so consciously do you get to actually enjoy it.
Too often, even if we do end up with the “best” decision for us and our company, we don’t own it. We keep wondering if it really was the best decision, constantly second-guessing—not allowing it to ever feel and be right.
But we must have trust in our decisions to feel like we’re exactly where we want to be. Only then can we have the fuel to be the best version of ourselves and make business decisions that are right for us, getting us one step closer to success. After all, it’s your decision to deprive yourself from this—or to own it.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: When making a tough business decision, how do you know when to trust your gut?
Never Make a Big Decision Without Doing This First by Feris Rifai, cofounder and CEO of Bay Dynamics.
Here’s How Questioning Decisions Can Ruin a Business by Pat Peterson, founder and CEO of Agari.