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  • Writer's pictureCatherine Dolan

Learning How to Trust Your Gut Instinct

Everything – and I do mean everything – I have done well in my life boils down to trusting my gut. It’s been one of the keys to success in my life.

I will never forget the day I found out I was unexpectedly expecting my first child. I was twenty years old; a pregnancy at that point in my life was not part of my plan. in And in my heart of hearts I knew it was the best gift ever. From the moment I found out, it was never a choice. Something deep in my gut knew instantly, I’ve got this.

Yes, it was a choice; but, more than that, I knew it to be my truth – my path. Thirty years later, I can tell you – she is the single best instinctual decision of my life.

Don’t get me wrong – I was overwhelmed. I was terrified. While I knew I was in uncharted waters, I simultaneously knew it was all going to be okay. It was a deep confidence – a gut instinct thing.

Malcom Gladwell’s book Blink talks about this topic. In it, he discusses how we know what we know – make decisions, react, choose – seemingly in an instant. Within less than a few seconds we intuitively and instinctively know: yes or no.

In the opening chapter of this book he gives the example of art appraisers evaluating the authenticity of a museum purchase. Immediately upon seeing this statue, they know it’s a fraud, yet they spend countless hours testing and proving it is the real deal. They authenticate it for purchase only to realize much later it was not authentic at all. Their guts told them the truth, yet they ignored it.

We’ve all been in that situation one time or another. We’re all still learning how to refine and trust that gut feeling. I know this feeling well.

I am not trained as a writer. I had never published anything. Yet one day, the whisper of telling my story became an undeniable gnawing in my gut. As it grew louder and louder, I knew it was not to be ignored. And so, it was at the beginning of 2015, in yoga teacher training, I was challenged to do one thing I’ve always wanted to do, but never done. It was then that I fully and firmly committed to writing my first book.

Saying yes to this was only the first step. I knew I still had a long way to go, but now that I had committed to it I changed.

I began networking and met a mentor on Linkedin. This led me to a book coach who helped me write my outline and taught me to find my rhythm and my voice. He taught me to write every day and not quit. And he challenged me to stay on task and finish. And I did. Thanks, Rob.

Of course, the journey doesn’t end there. After several failed attempts at publishing my story, I quit. I gave up but only briefly, because that gnawing in my gut – that instinct that this is what I was meant to do – it just wouldn’t go away.

So in May 2017, I geared up to take another run at it. With the encouragement of my book coach, I was determined to make it happen. And together, we did.

I’ve always known a published book was just part of the bigger dream – to make a movie or TV series. This summer before the book was released, I hired a team to help make this dream a reality. I’ll be honest, I’ve had more than a couple people question this aspiration, but I continue to trust my gut and move forward anyway.

Last week, I had the privilege of meeting and sitting down with an amazing director. He likes my screenplay. He believes in it; he committed to bringing it to life.

What started as a gut instinct became a dream – a dream that is now coming true.

When you trust your instinct, you can accomplish great things.

That’s my not so sexy truth.

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