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Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Go with your gut feeling

Just tonight, in several different ways I was reminded that your gut feeling can be a pretty powerful guiding light on making the right decisions in life. Three years ago I started a job that I coveted more than anything in the world. I had waited for that job for a very long time; I wanted to be around the people in the organisation and I thought it was the next significant stepping stone in my career.

Right from the beginning though, things did not run smoothly. The management continually behaved in ways that were not appropriate. Work was not valued, inappropriate requests were repeatedly made, payment was poor and I was compared to the cleaner also being forgotten when it was questioned why I had not been invited to the groups annual gala dinner with the other members of staff. All in all, pretty powerful signs that it was not the best place to be around, professionally or personally.

Unfortunately, back then I was far less wise, and have stuck it out, which is the reason why now, some three years later I am now in exactly the same position I was back then. The only difference is that I am now significantly more resentful about how low this role and treatment has made me feel and pondering the ways in which I would be much better off if I had told them to fuck off three years ago, as I should have then, and would now if I had my time over.

It is the same with diet programs. If it sounds too good to be true, it will be. Each week I get contacted by new gurus in the diet and exercise space, wanting to pitch new products and claim they have found the newest, most effective way to lose weight. Now, call me cynical but seven years of uni and hundreds of patients of all different weights, ages and genders has taught me that there is no easy way to lose weight and any new idea is simply another poacher wanting to grab his or her five minutes of diet hall fame.

And in relationships? How many of us are kicking ourselves when we saw the first sign of disrespect, of bad behaviour, of infidelity and choose to ignore it, to justify it, only to make a split or the harsh truth so much more hurtful and difficult months, if not years on?

So, the main thing I have learnt this week is go with your gut instinct because it is usually the right option. If someone treats you badly, it is highly likely they will again. Remember, past behaviour is the most powerful predictor of future behaviour. And finally, we teach people how to treat us. If someone is not treating you well, something you did told the person that it was OK to treat you that way and it is now your job is to not make the same mistake again.