Welcome to another Ask Katrina. The question today is:

“Katrina, as a new executive, how do I get back to trusting my gut?”

You’ve relied on your personal judgment and those gut instincts for the majority of your career, it is what’s helped you get to where you are today as an executive, and now you’re finding that you can’t really trust your gut like you used to.

Where is this coming from?

The reason you feel like you can’t trust your gut is because you feel uncertain about everything happening in your career and you have this doubt that maybe you’re not quite ready.

Impostor syndrome.

“I didn’t realize until now that I’m not ready and I don’t want other people to see it. That’s the dialogue in our heads.

If we thought we were ready when we accepted the promotion, and yet we are now realizing we aren’t, what if our “gut” is off track now?

Isn’t that the question we are truly asking ourselves?

Look, we know that the majority of us struggle with this.

Because you’re having to learn something new (how to lead at the executive level) and the growth curve is so large, the doubt is bigger because the growth is bigger.

This is a result of:

1. You feeling like a lot of what you have to learn and do and bring forward as an executive is different than what you’ve done prior to this.

2. You realizing that you can’t do all the things that you used to do in the prior roles to help you be successful in the new role (executives have different responsibilities, different functions, etc.)

This compounding situation is causing you to ask yourself, “Will those same gut instincts serve me here? Do I know enough to trust my gut? Is my gut smart enough to help me and guide me in this role?”

The answer is yes.

Your gut, your instinct, your judgment, all the things that are within you, all of those things that helped you get where you are, are still sound.

Your natural instincts and judgment are solid.

Most likely you’re doubting because you don’t have some of the key pieces of information to help guide your judgment or your “gut” in all of these new situations.

But guess what?

That’s an easy fix.

You’re going to find yourself in your very first year of this executive role, facing new scenarios and having conversations that you’ve never had before.

You can trust your gut in those conversations by simply asking for a bit more information.

Ask the question, “Hey, tell me a little bit more about what you want to do and why it matters.”

What you’re thinking in the back of your mind is that you’re not the subject matter expert (SME) of the project or the program like you used to be, and so you start to doubt your ability to lead and trust your judgment.

Realize that you’re not expected to be the SME at this phase in your career.

You just have to be who you already are, which is a person who asks the right questions and asks enough questions, to get an understanding of a situation. Then, use your judgment and your gut instincts to come up with a solution.

Don’t think that you’ve got to know it all.

Don’t think that your gut can’t be trusted because you don’t know it all.

You’re never going to know it all.

You can’t waste your time as an executive learning at all.

You simply need to be comfortable asking the right questions.

Again, your gut is sound and your judgment is sound. That’s why you’re an executive.

Stop doubting and start asking.

Seek to understand and learn from the SMEs what you don’t know in order to give you the right information to move forward.

In about five minutes’ time, you’re going to have asked enough questions and gotten enough information that your gut has an answer.

It’s time to pivot from learning and knowing it all, to knowing who to ask and what to ask in a compressed period of time in order to be the executive you are capable of being.

Ready to learn more executive strategies? Schedule a call with the Legend Leaders team now!