Gut It Out!

Do you trust your instincts?

Should you?

If you start something big (a job, a relationship, a project, a trip) and you immediately feel it’s not right, what’s your pattern? Do you see it through no matter what, or do you start looking for the exit?

I’m sure that the answers for you (like me) depend upon the circumstances. But you probably also (like me) have a pattern. Mine is to try to stick things out, and if they don’t get better, they simmer away and the pressure builds until I explode (usually at the wrong person or thing).

I like baking metaphors. Here’s are two examples (in the same project!) of me losing my composure, and of me keeping calm and baking on. Can you tell which is which?

Going back to instincts, I’m interested in breaking my pattern. I don’t think there is a right answer, but once I get started I don’t know how to accept the alternatives. If I believe something’s not right, I find it hard to convince myself it can improve. If things don’t improve, I struggle to allow myself to walk away before I start burning bridges.

During the first week of filming The Awful Truth in 1937,  the primary cast members were disturbed by the director’s style of working (according to all sources; Wikipedia is a good place to start). Irene Dunne cried multiple times each day. Cary Grant offered to pay the studio $5,000 to release him.

Their primary complaint? Too much improvisation. They were being trusted to follow their instincts, but they wanted to be told exactly what to do. Times sure change, huh? When was the last time you asked your boss to micro-manage you?

The delicious ironic twist is that their instincts were telling them not to follow their instincts. The film proved to be a success. Eventually, the boss (Leo McCarey, more on him some time soon) who wouldn’t give them enough guidance won an Academy Award for Best Director (yes, for this film). They all willingly worked together again. And the freedom of improvisation turned Cary Grant into “Cary Grant” (this is considered a major turning point in his career).

Good friends of mine suffered a house fire a couple of years ago. While their house only sustained limited destruction (compared to the house next door), there was enough structural damage they still had to decide whether to rebuild or restore.

The process of restoring has been long and very demanding. I’m sure there have been many, many times where they questioned their decision, and would love the option to exit the process.

However, good news. Today they passed the “Rough-in Inspection.” My friend wrote, “Essentially the guts of the house have been approved.”

Hooray! Congratulations, friends!

Anyway, if you have any thoughts or wisdom you would like to offer (anything except, “That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”) please feel free to comment below.

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