The Battle of The Big 3 – Head, Heart and Gut

A skirmish between two can be productive or even engaging.  Think about word we use for this: bout, brawl, row, ruckus, melee, tussle – all very harmless sounding.  Sometimes we even build it up for excitement: dashing duels or least we forget the Rumble in the Jungle.

But add another element and it takes on a whole new life: combat, feud, riot, battle, war – oh my.

If you are contemplating a decision and you only have two elements to content with it may not be comfortable, but at least you are just pitting two sides against each other.  You can even break it down into a clean little chart listing pros and cons.

But add that third element and things get wonky and all bets are off for a fair fight.  Because then they start crossing the line into each other’s territory and attaching each other.  It can be quite messy and exhausting.

Let’s give an example – because that’s what I do….

Several months ago there was a job opportunity – let’s call it Job B.  They said all the right things, pursued you quite heavily and so you agreed.  It sounded great, it felt right; you may have felt like you finally found a home.  Then you started.  The actual engagement began and things did a 180.

That hot pursuit turned into the cold shoulder.  You might have been thinking it was just an adjustment to actually being there; but then the inconsistency started.  What was once presented was not to be found, they wanted you to head up certain projects and now they are saying that the company isn’t sure they want to do so.  Confusion.  But you really like this job.  You’re heart is all confused.

Then let’s bring in the conflicts.  Job A.  Job A is with a company that you worked for several years ago.  It was a good company, very comfortable, no stress, no drama but no excitement – there was no opportunity for you to grow.  But the company has done some changes and there seems to be the potential for growth now.  Uh oh – confusion again.  Now your head is all confused.

The conflict continues when you are approached by yet another opportunity – Job C.  This one comes out of the blue and offers the same wonderful qualities of Job A but something is a little different and you just can’t put your finger on it.  Oh great, now your gut is getting involved.

So your heart is all confused because you really like Job B but your heart sinks a little every time you walk in the door because the company is treating you like you are no longer the prized candidate.  Kind of like the guy that plays chase then runs once you are caught.  You keep making excuses thinking maybe, just maybe they didn’t lie to you.  No one likes to be lied to and to admit that you fell for a line is a little humiliating.

But your head is all confused because Job A is a safe bet, but do you really want to go back to comfortable, would there really be change?  Would the opportunities really to be enough?

And to top things off your gut is getting knotted because Job C is looking really good and you are at the point of wanting to wipe the board clean, stop the internal arguing and start all over.

This is where the battle begins: your head starts attacking Job B saying get out now, you have been played and look like a fool but then your heart strikes back and says Job A maybe comfortable but you deserve more; your gut chimes in and says it is time to go for it with Job C and the other two are just being stupid and chicken.

Oh, head and heart don’t like that and team up to attach gut with the “yeah, well, look what happened last time we listened to you!’ which bruises gut’s feelings and gut begins to fight dirty.  Gut starts pointing out specific examples which both start stammering with to try to overcome and soon you have a full out war on your hands.

So – how do you make a decision, who should you listen to, who is right – all of them; yes, they are all right together – and they are all wrong independently.

At this point it is time to stop and breathe.  Just take a step back and tell head, heart and gut to go to their corners and shut it.  Here is where you need to take control and tell them that they will all have their say, but they have to work together.  Each has a strength that they can bring to the table and help with each other’s challenges.

Heart and gut need to team up and work out a list of all the pros and cons of each job.  Every single item they can think of they need to write it down.  Now head, you need to be non judgmental and kind while going through each item and assess each for validity.  Are the items listed a feeling, excuse or valid tangible item.

Looking at each item each contender should be able to have their say; however they all need to keep in mind the bottom line: each one needs to co-exist in peace and happiness.  The decision needs to be accepted by each of them unanimously because that is going to be the only right decision.

When a choice needs to be made often times we go into protection mode.  Often times this means that heart and gut take over filling our head with excuses, “what ifs” and any other fluff to help us cling on to hope.  It takes the head to balance these two in order to accurately evaluate each situation for its own merits on its own and be able to make that right decision.  The bottom line in any decision is if it works for you on every level, without making you sacrifice things you are not willing to, brings value in your life and gives you the opportunity to give back.

Job C sounds good because it is all new and shiny and your gut wants to jump at it, listen to your head in learning your lesson from Job B and wait for the substantiated proof while your heart is in protective mode saying remember if it seems too good to be true then maybe it is.  No jumping.

Go back and think about Job A, what did you like about it what did you not, was it a feeling of comfort that made it most appealing and is that enough; let your heart weigh in to this one to determine what you would need in order to make it worth it to make the move.  Once you have identified the real motives for your departure and items needed for your return you can have that conversation with them.

As for Job B it would probably be a good idea for your heart to take a back seat while your head reviews all actions and results thus far and let your gut weigh in on what it thinks they all mean.  Perhaps you are being a little emotional because you were on a euphoric high from their pursuit, perhaps you heard more than what was said or perhaps things truly are where they stand.  An honest, objective evaluation is needed to make an assessment of the situation and from there you can decide if it is worth it to have a conversation there, as well.

You have control of this internal war; just take a step back to scold each for not playing nice in the sandbox and remind them that your peace of mind and overall happiness is the ultimate goal here.  Given those parameters they can each learn to play nice and help you make an informed decision.  Just remember – it is your choice and no choice needs to be made right now or be forced upon you.

Oh, and who knows, maybe Job D is just what you need….

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Career Coach-Strategist

Certified Professional Resume Writer

Career Polish, Inc.

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