How To Distinguish Fear from Excitement

–You have a personal oracle

The life we live is based upon the decisions we make. Clarity is a beneficial yet often inaccessible state of mind when it’s time to make a choice. While we are rarely 100% sure what major life decisions to make, there is a way to access greater clarity.

We all experience a gut feeling or a sense of butterflies in the stomach now and then. These sensations originate in the millions of nerves sending signals back and forth between the gut-brain axis. While our brains produce neurotransmitters that are responsible for feelings and emotions, the gut is home to the GABA neurotransmitter that controls fear and anxiety.  Beyond their constant communication loop regarding digestion, immunity, absorbing nutrients and excreting waste, they can also benefit us gaining clarity about a situation. If we know how to  listen, they will give us that “gut feeling.”

Let’s say you have a big decision to make. A company you admire extends a job offer to you. The caveat is you would have to move 3,000 miles from home away from friends and family for the first time. You are excited but scared at the same time. They need an answer in the next 24 hours because they have a second candidate in mind. Pro and con lists don’t work because there is no value axis between the two lists. This is a perfect set up for the gut-brain connection to assist.

Try this: Close your eyes. Ask yourself,

What does my gut have to tell me when I think about such a change?

You will receive a kinesthetic response in your stomach area with one of two sensations you will be able to interpret. One may be a feeling of butterflies, expansion, and excitement. That’s “gut speak” for “Go.” Or, you may experience a sense of dread, contraction, heaviness. That’s “gut speak” for “no” or “not at this time.” Maybe there are other things to consider before you take the leap. Chances are good the sensation will be a clear one. As clear as a book falling open to a page with a prophecy or a Sherpa holding up a directional sign.

The gut response is an override of the mind’s propensity to butt in with all its jabber, reasons, and fears. It is an oracle you can count on.


Nanci Sherman
Nanci Sherman
Known throughout her career as a game-changer, Nanci was raised in New York City and earned a B.S in Journalism and Communications at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The hotel business soon caught her attention and she caught theirs. Having created and run some of the more iconic hotels and resorts in the country, Nanci learned firsthand what it takes to be the best at what you do, consistently bringing over twenty hotels to the number one spot in their marketplace. She led her last hotel to #2 best hotel in the USA out of 50,000. Windstar Cruises brought Nanci in to rewrite their Standard Operating Procedures, and they won best luxury cruise line in the world the following year. Nanci “evolutionized” the hospitality industry. Her re-imagination of the customer journey creates distinction in any market place. She consulted on leadership and motivation on three continents. Nanci is a Self-Enrichment and Leadership Coach and a Hotel Revolutionary. Her mantra is: To be outstanding, first you must stand out. Change your thoughts, change your outcomes. “Shift” happens!

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  1. The suggestion seems useful above all, I think, if it can be helpful when looking for some clarity. Sometimes we feel put on the wall unable to decide which way to go. At certain times of the day when faced with important decisions, where there is no time to reflect, it is easier not to think and act than to think. Nor are managers at the top of important companies immune.
    However, my pragmatism pushes me to decide above all with my head. At least I try!

    • Nancy, thanks for reading and for the feedback.
      Greetings to you and Denver, a beautiful city.
      Stay indoors though, covid-19 is deadly.

  2. Interesting idea here, Nancy, thanks for sharing. I have to say, as I’ve been dealing with some major stress these past couple of weeks, my gut isn’t providing any clarity at all right now! I’ll try this strategy when I have another, lower impact future decision…

    • It just takes a moment to do. Once you “feel your intuition” come to the surface, you will want to trust it more and more.I always think of the word intuition – what you pay to get a higher education as in-tuition. the knowledge inside you. Best to you!

  3. Nanci, your whole article makes pure sense. How many times do people tell us to go with our gut feelings? Professional sports team managers or coaches use this expression all the time. Speaking only for me (I never speak for anybody else) if my gut feeling tells me not to do something I more than likely won’t. Whenever possible you should weigh the pros and cons of potentially life-changing decisions. If it looks like the list would not lead to any tangible solution or one you still don’t think is right for you then the best thing is gut feeling.

    • Thank you, Christine. It’s just one chapter of my book coming out this Spring: The Experience Zone: How to Take Any Business (and Life) from a Maze to Amazing.

      I will probably post more before then. My website is if you wish to get more info. Wishing you every happiness