Know the difference between advice and instinct so you can leverage both to their fullest potential.
By Shelley Kuipers (Founder & CEO, Chaordix)

The choice to become a founder, or become part of a founding team, is an interesting one. On a continual basis, you’ll experience the ups and downs of the complete entrepreneurial journey; one moment may have you celebrating a job well done with your team, while simultaneously pushing through many sleepless nights because you’re not sure how you’ll make payroll. But I promise, if you’re up for it… if you have it in you… you’ll love it.

The essential element of this founder journey is YOU, and your ability to trust and utilize YOUR own instinct. Your careful and thoughtful approaches to decision-making will affect all aspects of your business and most importantly your team.

As soon as you kick off your venture, you’ll receive advice from everyone – your family, your friends, your investors, your board and your teammates. While helpful advice will be one of the most important contributions to your business, it’s up to you to listen, utilize and assess the advice … and turn it into decisions that you instinctually know are the right ones, at a particular time, given the information on hand.

Your instinct is guided by the principles that you founded the business on – accountability, honesty, integrity, commitment, teamwork, determination, commitment to excellence and a burning passion for what you do.

You do this because it’s intrinsic to you, it’s what you do … it’s who you are. As an entrepreneur, you’re very aware of what’s working and not working. When your product is performing and when it’s off the mark.

You know when someone isn’t pulling their weight or abiding by core values and principles that you’ve outlined.

You know exactly why your customers love you.

And you know how to build a culture that is challenging and demanding, but ultimately rewarding.

You KNOW all of these things; the challenge is for you to act on your instincts and make them a reality.

My only regret in business has been (and will always be) my hesitation or failure to trust and act on my instinct. Always surround yourself with those more talented than yourself, and know the difference between advice and instinct so you can leverage both to their fullest potential.

Women 2.0 readers: How do you know when to listen to your instinct? Let us know in the comments.

About the guest blogger: Shelley Kuipers is Founder and CEO of Chaordix. Her first startup experience was with Merak Projects, acquired by the world’s largest energy services and technology firm, Schlumberger. She co-founded Stormworks, a software development and digital marketing firm, which was acquired by Solium Capital, a financial services company ranked among the Deloitte Technology Fast 50. She co-founded early stage venture capital firm Adventure Capital and Material Insight to grow tech startups.