How not listening to my intuition cost me money

A few years ago, when I was working as an email marketing consultant, a client had requested I send an important VIP email out to a select few members on her list.

Her graphic designer had produced some images for the email, and I was in charge of creating an amazing template, segmenting her list into VIPs, plus writing the email copy.

The email was urgent. It was a last-minute idea the client had had, and there was a very small window in which to get the project completed. The client had been emailing the designer, but accidentally not cc’ing me in, and one day I received an email saying, “No-one has received their email”. She seemed a little red-faced, too, that she didn’t know her own VIPs hadn’t received their special email.  So now the email being sent out had REALLY become urgent – and somewhat emotional!

Now, let me add this important piece of information: I had noticed that the client was particularly vague in her communication, and sometimes her instructions were very unclear (to me, that is. As you’ll see when you read further, she felt she was very clear in expressing what she wanted!).

Back in those days, I was someone who had always had a very big fear of making mistakes – I second-guessed and double-checked; I would get that feeling of tightness in my solar plexus each time it came to delivering on something. You know: you have that fear-based premonition that as soon as you press send, you’ll notice a word is misspelt, or something like that!

Beneath that fear of mistakes I was even more scared of having a client be disappointed in me and saying, ‘You’re not as good as I thought you were.’

Of course, we create what we fear, so this pattern really didn’t work in my favour – but that’s a topic for another post!

Okay, back to the story: I emailed the graphic designer, who sent me the images for the email. I created the email template and sent a proof off to the client for sign off.

The client had a few minor changes to make. There was some wording I’d put in the email body that echoed what was written on the images from the designer. The client told me to take the wording out of the email, and said, ‘then send it off’.

Enter my intuition:  As I was making the changes I could feel a niggle from my gut. An uneasiness. I allowed my brain to take over and say, ‘There’s nothing wrong here, just send the email.’

I felt the uneasiness again when I was at the final stage of the broadcast steps. I was hesitating for a reason, but my brain, again, said, ‘This is urgent, you need to send it now. The client will be disappointed in you if you delay this anymore.’

My intuition tried a third time, even sending me mental pictures of the images from the designer that I’d dropped into the email body.

Again, I pushed it aside. I knew I’d done what the client asked and, of course, I’d triple-checked everything.

I pressed SEND.

The next day I woke to an email from the client saying, ‘I asked for xyz wording to be removed’. My face went red; I felt my heart jump in my chest. A mistake! I’d made a mistake! The client was angry at me! My worst fear, realised!

I went into the email system and had a look: I HAD removed the wording she wanted me to remove. Then I realised…the IMAGE. She had meant she wanted the words removed from the image AND the text – she just hadn’t been clear. She’d also in her round about way asked me to change a sentence to leave out something else, which I had misinterpreted and left the wrong bit in.

Oh my goodness!

I had to apologise, and I couldn’t invoice for that project (and I was counting on that money for something I really wanted). I had to concede that the mistake was mine.

I couldn’t tell the client that their instructions were vague. I had to own my mistake. And the mistake was actually not ‘the mistake’ I made in the email. Mistakes happen; miscommunication happens. The mistake I made was IGNORING MY INTUITION. It tried three times to tell me not to send the email out.

What could I have done differently when I felt the hesitation and unease?

#1  I could have stopped and honoured that feeling of unease, and quietened my mind and LISTENED.

#2 I could have centred myself with some deep breaths and opened my awareness to it’s advice, and I might have intuited that the wording in the image was also what the client wanted changed.

#3 I could have stepped away from my desk for even just a few minutes to gather myself, and I may have noticed something different when I sat back down.

If I’d paid attention to my intuition, I may have had the nudge to resend another copy to my client for a final sign-off instead of worrying about the urgency (letting my brain take charge).

Now, a couple of hundred bucks isn’t a big deal, and I could go without the thing I wanted for a while longer.

But, not listening to my intuition has cost me money in other ways, too – like ignoring the nudges to go to a certain shop when you’re in need of something.

For example, I went to buy a winter quilt for one of my daughters. I was a bit skint that month, and wanted the best price.

I was shown a picture in my mind of a certain store. I chose to go to another store that my logic said was the better one. Why would the more expensive store have something cheaper?

I paid $80 for the quilt, thinking that was a fair price.

A couple of days later I had cause to go to the store that my intuition had told me to go to for the quilt. They had the exact quilt on clearance for $35! That’s a $45 difference!

Now, if we added up all the differences that we let pass us by because we followed our logic and not our hearts…how much would not listening to our intuition have cost us?

I love stories like these, so if you have one to share, please pop it in the comments below this blog post.

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