There is Wisdom in Following Your Gut Feeling

Danny Meyer
Danny Meyer

Entrepreneurs, in sharing their secrets that led to success in business, often talk of the importance of heeding one’s gut feelings.

In a recent column, I referred to lessons for entrepreneurs proffered by South African diplomat turned entrepreneur, Costa Ayiotis.

In his book ‘My Fat Greek Taverna’ Ayiotis chronicles his journey from diplomacy to the realisation of a dream to open a restaurant offering wholesome home-style Greek cuisine. He liberally shares factors that influence the ups and downs one will experience on your entrepreneurial journey.

An important lesson that I failed to highlight in that column is his belief in the importance of following your gut feeling when it comes to business decision making.

Ayiotis suggests that one should always ascertain if your gut reaction is aligned to or matches your most value in your business dealings.

For example, the character of the person you are dealing with and more broadly business relationships, per se.

Also, core values an entrepreneur should always apply when conducting business, such as ethics, honesty and integrity.

Speaking from experience, I can attest to the wisdom of following one’s gut instinct and the price you will pay for not doing so, not only a financial loss, but much heartache and emotional stress.

Over the past weeks, confronted by a significant business decision, I again had to deal with a gut feeling. Assisted by an intervention beyond my control, a decision was made which I know is the right one for the entity I am with, its staff and those we serve.

What exactly is a gut feeling?

It is an instinct one develops, somewhat like your intuition, but it can even go further to involve a physical feeling as well.
Experts in science and spirituality have their explanations.

For me, the best way to explain it is that bad vibe I get when meeting someone for the first time and I am overcome by an unexplainable urge to do or indeed, to not do something.

I tend to sense danger, the risk of dishonesty, of being manipulated or lied to and that I should rather back off.

Conversely, my gut feeling tells me when I am in good company and should proceed with a decision, even if it means taking a manageable risk but that I must always guard against being naïve and reckless.

For me, it is that feeling in the gut area, somewhat like having butterflies in my stomach.

For others, it could be a sensation that makes their heart beat at a faster pace, hair stand on end, or they develop goose bumps.

Of course, gut feelings are not always correct as it is not a revelation, but rather a physical manifestation of your intuition.
So, one must avoid rigidly applying the adage, ‘once bitten twice shy’.

It doesn’t mean if you were cheated in the past that automatically everyone wishing to do business with you is a scallywag.

How one should treat a gut feeling is to avoid ever letting down your guard or forego the importance of observing that cardinal business rule: exercising risk mitigation by way of conducting thorough due diligence.

  • Danny Meyer is reachable at

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