What Age Should You Trust Your Gut Feeling?

hearts and minds challengeHow much do you trust your ‘gut feeling’? That 6th sense, the inner voice that niggles at the back of your mind that you are not quite sure how much you should listen to? As you go through your career there are different times when you should listen to this inner voice and here are 4 insights into when and what you should do:

From your working age of 16 to 30

In between 16 and 30 you are starting on your working career and your experience is limited. You had various levels of education at school and could even have achieved good grades at university or college yet your real world experience is limited. Your parents haven’t necessarily been totally honest with you and have possibly told you that you are perfect and “can become anything you want”. However at this age you haven’t had the depth of wins and losses; problems and solutions; pain and gain, that you need. You might not know what the questions you need to ask are, never mind the answers, so don’t ignore your inner voice but go out and validate it. If you are in sales and your organisation invests in you and invites you to attend Sales Training or Customer Service training, then embrace it, but don’t sit silently at the back, playing with your iPhone pretending you know it all. Ask people their opinions; ask them how do they do things and learn through trial and error. “Perfection is the enemy of action” so don’t play safe. Try things out and make mistakes then learn from those mistakes. Danger Time: When something happens and you get that rush of emotion (and/or ego) don’t make immediate rash decisions. Discuss your feelings and thoughts with others, and not just your close friends who often will tell you what you want to hear. At work, in relationships, and with any potential change, take the time to think things through, look at contingencies and options, and DON’T DECIDE THEN REGRET. A lot is currently being said about millenniums and how they know everything but many have experienced nothing. Maybe you do and maybe you don’t but if you don’t actually put theory into practice, then how will you know what you know, and more importantly what you need to learn (as there is a strong possibility that your parents lied to you!!)

30 to 40

Between the ages of 30 to 40 you have now had a breadth of experience and have been in the workforce for anything from 12 to 23 years You have had successes and you’ve had failures, and you’ve possibly made more mistakes than you are willing to openly admit to. Importantly, if you are smart, you have stopped pretending you know everything and you’ve decided not to go it alone, and have found mentors and coaches to help you achieve your goals. You have surrounded yourself with a network of good people and not hidden behind the false mirage of 100s of Facebook friends that you have never spoken to, never mind met. Your gut feeling is now becoming more trustworthy but it is still a time where you still need to validate your inner voice to gain a bigger and more varied picture. Use peers, trusted advisors and people’s opinions that you respect as sounding boards and get an insight into other potential options that you might not have considered.

40 to 50

40-50 are good years for your gut feeling. You’ve now had well over 20 years of commercial experience and have possibly achieved a position of seniority and/or management. People are looking to you for guidance, maybe to validate their own gut feelings. This is a time to trust your inner voice as you are possibly in a position to have the final decision, but there’s no harm in asking others what their opinions are as they might be able to add to your thoughts. A good example of this is I had a conversation with an MD of a very successful organisation last week who was thinking about taking on a well credentialed person for a senior role. However, it was only when he articulated his gut feeling and silent concerns about the new person that he realised she wanted to join his organisation for all of the wrong reasons. Having made the phone call he was then in a far clearer state of mind to trust his gut feeling and make a more rounded decision.


There is one key proviso you must take into account at this age and it is based on how varied is your experience. On KONA’s Customised Sales Training and Sales Management Training workshops we regularly hear Senior Sales People and Sales Managers say “I have over 10 years’ experience in this industry” and with that they demonstrate how blinkered they have become to the ‘new world of sales’. (Check out the article https://www.kona.com.au/embrace-sales-technology-before-you-become-obsolete/) The reality of their statement is that for many people it is one year that has been repeated 10 times! Now that’s fine if your gut feeling is in an area of expertise that you are particular familiar with, like a piece of old machinery or equipment. However, technology is moving faster than people so if you are moving into a new field, be it a new technology, or a new position, or new industry, or a new relationship, that does not always mean that your 10 years of experience is dependable and reliable. One of the reasons why many senior people nowadays are contracting Executive Coaches and Sales Coaching specialists it is that their coach’s experience is across multiple industries and multiple markets; across multiple roles, countries and even languages and cultures, and not exclusive to specific industries or product applications. So if your world is changing, go back to what you were doing in your earlier years and discuss and confirm that your gut feeling is up to date

50 to 60 

50 – 60 is the time when you’re gut feeling is at its peak. If you feel it, it is probably right. You are still commercially driven and striving to achieve goals but you are also in a position where you are a Leader of People and/or Organisations. Maybe you now have two or possibly even three generations of people underneath you and looking for your guidance. There is very little that surprises you, as, without being arrogant, you have probably seen it, heard it and done it all before. So trust your gut feeling and go out of your way to look for people you can mentor and help through their careers. You don’t need to understand the ‘nuts and bolts’ of the changes impacting on you and your organisation, however it is important to stay up to date and open to change. Trust your gut feeling, go with it and bring others along with you for the ride. If you would like to discuss how KONA’s Sales Training and Executive Coaching can improve your organisation’s results, contact the KONA Group today on 1300 611 288 or [email protected] or text 0425200883 The KONA Group is Australia’s Leading provider of Customised Sales Training and Sales Management Training and Coaching and provide customised training programs that include: Sales Training & CoachingKey Account Management TrainingCall Centre Training & CoachingNegotiation Skills Training & CoachingConference & Motivational Speakers, and more.