11/15/2011 08:29 am ET | Updated Jan 15, 2012

Live From Your Gut

I recently met a woman named Rosa Kittrell Barksdale, who wrote the book, "The Intuitive Entrepreneur," and reminded me that the best decisions we make come from our gut.

As a child, I loved making decisions by flipping a coin. Head or tails: "Which guy should I sit next to at lunch?" I would ask myself. Coin flipping backfired after a while, when I found myself sitting next to my French teacher, who didn't appreciate my overtly-friendly nature.

Later in college, I used my analytic skills to handle my forks in the road -- making lists and calculating risks. My decisions were created from equations, which didn't work well either. During sophomore year, I broke the heart of my long-time boyfriend to move out of the country for a year. Needless to say, neither my boyfriend or mother were thrilled with me.

Today, I still struggle with indecision now and then, and figuring out what path to take, personally or professionally. It doesn't help that we live in a time with infinite choices, information and potential directions -- which can perplex the most focused people.

Kittrell Barksdale is a sweet, soulful and wise African American woman who defied all odds in her working class community to become a successful businesswoman and founder of a top home care services corporation.

She writes:

One of the most important elements of success -- both in life in general and in business in particular -- is making use of your intuition. Trusting your instincts, listening what your gut tells you to do, may not always be entirely accurate, but my experience suggests that even when it's not right -- and it usually is -- it can intimately lead you in the most useful direction.

Kittrell Barksdale trusted her instincts and it lead her to take out loans and start her own business -- even when she needed to support her family and pay for her kids' college educations. Her instincts told her to take a risk and in the end were dead. Eventually her business became profitable and successful and paid her and her family back both financially and emotionally. Many business women and men are more interested in their spreadsheets to help guide and grow their businesses, which can be big mistake in the end. What many don't realize is that our instincts are our inner compass and the best guide we have in our lives.

How do know when we're listening to our instincts and not that crazy voice in our head that should be sent away for treatment? Our instincts come from our heart and gut area. They are subtle and feel like a gentle pull. The way to feel our instincts is to sit still, not force an answer and just relax. When we are nervous or filled with anxiety -- the right answers won't be clear.

These days, I'm sitting still often and listening to my intuition before making any rash decisions about boyfriends or my career. I feel less anxious when questions present themselves. I know that if I stay calm, patient and listen to that heart of mine, I'll be headed exactly where I need to go. Hopefully, they won't tell me to flee the country.