I had an experience recently, which was all too familiar. It’s something that happens in business sometimes, in employee/employer relationships, romantic ones, or even in families. For me, it usually happens in human relations, and it’s a matter of hearing and following your instincts and good judgment. It’s what happens when you get new information (and not necessarily good information) in a situation. It has happened to me typically when I hire a new employee. All is hopeful at first, you’ve made what you think is an intelligent decision, after reading their resume, checking their references, maybe even comparing them to other candidates for the job, and you selected them!! All seems to be on track and you move ahead, confident in your decision…..and then three weeks later, or six weeks, something you don’t like happens, maybe just a small thing, and a yellow light goes off in your head. Caution: New information. At first I like to tell myself that whatever the event was that put my yellow light on was just a one-off, maybe an innocent mistake. I go forward, telling myself everything will be okay. Fast forward: Three weeks later, a month, two, something worrisome happens again……now the yellow light is flashing, I get a knot in my stomach, and I start to get worried. Some people are more optimistic than others. But I know for myself once those yellow light incidents start happening, it is never a good sign. And pretty soon that flashing yellow light turns to red, and my stomach is talking to me, loud and clear. And eventually, the message is clear: This isn’t going to work. Damn. And it all looked so hopeful…..but I made a mistake, and my faith in that person was misplaced. It has happened to me in work situations, in business, in relationships. I think one of the moments I hate most is when that first yellow light goes on, at the first warning sign that something is not right. I like to give someone plenty of chances, and not jump to conclusions too quickly, but by the time you have a knot in your stomach, and your stomach is talking to you, you KNOW it’s not going to work. It happens that first time a boyfriend lies to you and you catch him at it, and he tells you some long convoluted story about why he was four hours late, or why he didn’t come home that night. You WANT to believe his story, and maybe you do…..until it happens again…..and again…..and again….and you can’t avoid the truth anymore.
And once my red lights are on, and the sirens are blaring, I may or may not deal with it at that exact moment, but whether I do or not, I know that sooner or later I am going to have to face the music and admit that I made a mistake and misjudged a person or a situation. I HATE when that happens, and when my stomach starts talking to me I want to say “oh just shut up”. But my stomach is never wrong, and I’m sure yours isn’t either. When my stomach starts talking to me, whether I like it or not, it is the beginning of the end. Don’t you hate it when that happens? But in most cases, our instincts are pretty good. And the older I get, the more I listen to them. Not listening to my instincts about a situation has never served me well. So there you are, when your stomach starts talking, you have to listen…..and then deal with it when you can. I hate that moment as much as everyone else, but I guess those instincts save us from letting a mistake continue and turning into an even bigger mess. So when my stomach speaks to me, I know I have no choice but to listen. Ugh!!