The 22nd instalment in a series of lessons learned over the years. What do I know now that I didn’t then? What wisdom would I impart to my younger self, given the opportunity?
22. Follow your gut
Artwork courtesy of Eak Design
In the most basic terms, every decision you make in your professional life distils down to the distinction between saying yes and saying no. Accepting a job offer; accepting a commission from a new client; accepting the cheapest tender price: these are all examples of saying yes, and will likely be the most common type of decision you make. Saying yes is easy to do.
Saying no usually comes attached to tricky strings that make doing so much harder: turning down a job offer means having to find another; declining a potential commission means saying no to income; refusing the cheapest tender price means spending more of your client’s money or losing time while you re-tender.
Worse, a road left untravelled will never reveal its secrets to you, will never let you know whether saying no was the right decision to make. Following your gut is a courageous course of action. It relies on a deep sense of trust in yourself, wisdom gathered over years of experience, and the preparedness to act on your predictions of the future.
But if your gut sends you uncomfortable warning bells, listen to it. Perhaps it will save you from working for a practice that treats you poorly; from taking on a client who doesn’t share the same values as you do; from a builder who cuts corners to recover an incorrectly cheap tenders price.
Follow your gut.