Knowing how to trust your gut feeling when it counts can change lives, not just your own!
For a long time in my life, speaking up was a struggle as was figuring out how to be more confident in tough situations. But I realized very late that when I am afraid of speaking up, it does not only affect me. It also affects other people.
In 2010, I spent some time in the USA, Los Angeles to be exact. One day, I was walking along the street as I saw a man hit a woman at a nearby bus stop. At that moment, my heart cringed. I would have loved to run to the man and tell him to stop and leave his woman alone. I would have loved to tell him that he can’t just hit someone just because he felt like it.
What did I do instead?
I was frantically overthinking every possible scenario of what I could do and how it would affect me. I was so focused on me and the consequences the actions I could possibly take would bring ME. I totally forgot about her or him. I completely ignored my gut feeling.
Here a little rundown of my thoughts at the time:
“What if I go up and he hits me too?”
“Is there anybody else who could help me stop him? No. Nobody else cares.”
“Okay, I will walk further away so I can call 911 and he cannot hear me call them.”
“Oh, what if they take the bus before the cops arrive. And then 911 thinks my call was a prank call? Oh No! That is a crime! They might not let me back into the USA if they think I prank called 911. No, I can’t call!”
And so I walked away. I have always remembered the time when my inability to speak up, my lack of knowledge of how to be more confident and my over-analyzing did not stop crime. When my inaction ended up hurting someone else.
How to trust your gut feeling when it really counts
Then a few years later my own daughter was born in 2015. I started to realize that I MUST speak up when someone else is in danger. So I decided to ask the German police what I should have done in that situation. They said that I should have simply stayed nearby. Even if they would have left with the bus, I could have described what happened to the cops. Well, now I know.
I swore to myself that I won’t ever abandon another person ever again, even at the risk of getting involved when it was not necessary.
Obviously the same situation did not happen again. But a situation arose that gave me a chance to use that advice.
On my way to one of my current coaching clients, I drove by an accident. Quite a few people were already there. At least two more cars had stopped, including the car right in front of me.
A done deal, right? Every normal person would think that with so many people at the scene there are enough people to take care of the victim, right? NO. My gut feeling was right. The obvious was wrong!
As I was driving by, I felt the intense urge to call the German version of 911 which is 112. I decided not to stop as the other cars did since there already were several cars on the scene. I decided to keep driving towards my destination and explain the people at the emergency hotline what I saw. What surprised me: None of the people at the accident site actually called the cops!!!
The person on the line was a bit suspicious at the beginning and my thoughts started coming.
“What if she thinks that I was the one who caused the accident?”
But I shut off my little doubtful voice and kept explaining. Then the actual ambulance drivers called me back on my cell phone and said they could not find the accident site.
I got scared. My fear became reality.
This is the moment I could have used better applied knowledge of how to trust your gut feeling. But I swore to them that it was where I said it was.
Eventually, they found the people involved in the accident. The ambulance driver forgot to switch off the phone which allowed me to hear when they said angrily to the people at the site: “WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL US?”
I was relieved that they had found it. Once I knew they had found them, I hung up the phone. Later while I was at work, the ambulance service called me again. He wanted to thank me for informing them. He told me that the people involved in the accident had HIDDEN the motorcycle of the injured person and had put him into the backseat of a car. That all sounded shady but the EMT told me that the victim is now safe in the hospital.
I felt a peace come over me. See, it is possible to learn from your mistakes and trust your gut in times of uncertainty. You need to trust your instinct, shut down the little discouraging voice that tries to talk you out of taking inspired action, and stay your course. Because that gut feeling can very well come from God who knows way more about the situation that you do. So trust that gut feeling of yours and speak up!
What type of experiences have you had where you had to choose to show up for yourself or others? Is it easy for you to speak up? What would you have done in this situation?
If you have a problem speaking up, show up boldly, or trust yourself or you just want to understand how to be more confident, especially in tough situations, contact me for a free chat so we can find a solution together.