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 Tricia Clarke-Stone, cofounder and CEO of Narrative.
With big risks come big rewards. This philosophy has guided my entire career and inspired many leaps into the unknown. I’ve always followed my gut and believe that cultivating a healthy intuition is something that can be extremely valuable for making tough decisions.
When you trust your gut, you follow your passion—your gut is telling you what you believe in before your ego or fear of failure gets in the way. More than mere instinct, my gut has always been about curiosity, wondering what I could create—what I could accomplish if I tried something that’s never been done before. As a creative person in the advertising and marketing space, this curiosity makes campaigns resonate with people. While inherently risky, the “wow” factor/unique approach is what makes your work memorable.
My biggest moment in trusting my gut was when I left a successful career at Emmis Communications—a venerable, traditional media company—and went to work for Global Grind and Russell Simmons. Leaving a comfortable corporate job at a company I loved—and where I’d spent almost my entire career—was very difficult. I’d taken risks there, too, including building the online advertising division from the ground up, but leaving for a startup that was going through some pretty big growing pains was a real test. I knew I’d face an uphill battle with some serious challenges, but I also believed that I could turn the company around. And so I took the leap.
Ultimately, taking that leap into the unknown is really about trusting yourself. If I hadn’t made that decision, I never would’ve met Russell, my business partner and cofounder of Narrative. You’re always going to have the choice between being what I call a “passenger” and being a “participant” (impact player). When you’re an impact player, you uncover success even in the face of failure. Not every risk I’ve taken has been a success, but they were all worth it. It’s your ability to pivot when necessary, recover quickly, learn from your mistakes, and apply them in the future that will keep you on the right path.
When you believe in the positive outcome, keep an optimistic outlook, and trust yourself, then that gut intuition keeps getting stronger. With every decision you make, it gets stronger. You’ll never know what the future will bring, but if you’re curious enough, you’ll create it.
Tricia Clarke-Stone is the cofounder and CEO of Narrative.
Read all responses to the Entrepreneur Insider question: When making a tough business decision, how do you know when to trust your gut?
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What Every Leader Can Learn From Alfred P. Sloan About Tough Decisions by Frank Fabela, Vistage CEO peer advisory board chair.
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Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Trust Your Gut by Gesche Haas, founder of Dreamers//Doers.
Here’s What You Should Do When You Have to Make a Tough Decision by Alexander Goldstein, founder and CEO of Eligo Energy.
Never Make a Big Decision Without Doing This First byFeris Rifai, cofounder and CEO of Bay Dynamics.
Here’s How Questioning Decisions Can Ruin a Business by Pat Peterson, founder and CEO of Agari.