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Make Better Business Decisions! Three Ways to Start Using Your Gut

“Make better business decisions! Three ways to start using your gut” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here:

Intuition.

We all have it.

Some people ignore their instincts, and think that they should follow expert advice or what their colleagues advise. Others, like Richard Branson, Oprah Winfrey and Warren Buffet, say their success comes from following their gut. Even Albert Einstein praised it: “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.”

While the word “intuition” might sound touchy-feely or even vaguely mystical, it’s actually a natural biological function. Scientists have discovered that humans appear to have two very different “operating systems.” System 1 is our quick, instinctual, and often subconscious way of operating. This system is controlled by the right side of our brain and by other parts of our brain that have been around since prehistoric times. System 2 is our slower, more analytical, and conscious way of thinking. It is controlled by the left side of out brain and by newer parts of our brain that have only developed since prehistoric times known as the neocortex. Intuition is imbedded in the first system, which is why gut feelings hit us so quickly. Studies have found that, when it comes to making major decisions, such as whom you should marry or what city you should live in, going with your intuition leads to better outcomes than trusting your logical, thinking brain.

I left the tech industry and started hint® water (www.drinkhint.com), not only because I knew that the market was missing a beverage that provided hydration without sugar and diet sweeteners, but also because my gut told me that it was the right thing to do. Today, hint® is available in more than 20,000 stores nationwide — and sold online.

Here’s how to harness the power of your intuition to make better business decisions:

  1. Take emotion out of it. To make sure your decisions are coming from your intuition and not emotion, ask yourself if you’re feeling afraid, anxious, worried or stressed. If you are, take a step back and re-evaluate at another time. If you aren’t, you know it’s your intuition speaking to you.
  2. Change Your Environment. You can cultivate intuition by simply unplugging. I’ve talked before about why daydreaming is good for business. Every day, I go on an hour-long hike near my house. Just getting out of my usual surroundings and exploring a new path helps me look at things in different ways. When I’m working through a challenge, getting outside and moving allows my brain to wander and hone in on my intuition. I can solve any problem on these hikes. I’m not alone: Albert Einstein once said he got his best ideas while sailing, while Steve Jobs was known to take long walks when stuck on a problem.
  3. Act on your hunches. Once you’ve begun to recognize what your intuition is telling you, take action on the small stuff. After awhile, these little nudges (and the success that arises from taking them) will give you the confidence to follow your intuition for bigger and better things. For example, I followed a hunch with my own company and dove us head-first into the e-commerce business. As I was talking to friends and looking around the marketplace, I noticed that people weren’t shopping in stores as much–particularly the grocery store. With the age of online grocery ordering, I realized that people would rather spend their free time doing activities, whether it be a fun Tough Mudder race, a cooking class, or catching up with friends than run to the grocery store. I followed my intuition and launched hint®’s online businesswhich now accounts for a big percentage of our total sales. Call it whatever you want — intuition, a hunch, or a gut feeling — but when you follow it, your business is destined to thrive.

– Kara

Kara Goldin is Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest-growing flavored water brand in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 diet sweeteners in a can be purchased online at www.drinkhint.com in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling.