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Follow Your Gut

Follow Your Gut


My father was an entrepreneur. He struggled for 15 years to make ends meet and provide for his family, never posting a profitable year.

My parental guidance was defined by my parents struggles as first generation immigrants. Get a stable job, don’t take risks, they told me. Jewish Law decrees that children cannot be celebrated until they graduate from Medical School. I kid, but it’s not too far from the truth. My commandment was: Become an Engineer, get a stable job. Continuing in Dads footsteps, I struggled, yet persevered the sleepless all-nighters and graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree.

On June 20, 1996, one week into my career, Dad suffered a heart attack at work. The following night, in bed next to his wife, he passed away. My brother attempted CPR, but it was too late. His suffering was finally over. For years his body had spoken to him, gave him warning signs. High blood pressure, arteriosclerosis, balloon valvuloplasty, twice. He spent an unusual amount of time in the bathroom, but always laughed and scoffed it off. Dad didn’t listen to his gut instinct and suffered the steepest of consequences, his life.

I masked my loss with work, climbing the corporate ladder to Lead MultiDisciplined Engineer on a multimillion-dollar National Security Intelligence Program. From SF to NYC, to the beaches of Miami and Hawaii I traveled, working weekends, and additional unpaid hours late into the night. My commitment was rewarded with frequent pay raises and a paper Certificate of Appreciation by the Department of Justice. My bank account rose as my heart became numb, losing touch with my feelings, my Gut Instinct.

In 2001 I was diagnosed with Inflammatory Bowel Disease, specifically Ulcerative Colitis, similar to Crohn’s Disease. Imagine the worst stomach ache you’ve ever had. That never goes away, and only gets worse. 1.6Million in the US suffer from IBD and rising at a 12% annual rate. IBD is potentially fatal. Some doctors say the one and only cure for Ulcerative Colitis is to remove your colon entirely.

In 2001 I was recruited to pivot to Sales Engineering. For eleven years I traveled the United States and Asia, finally breaking six figures. I no longer struggled financially. I bought a home in Virginia, then moved to a beachfront pad in San Diego with the boardwalk and beach as my front yard. I vacationed in luxurious places like Costa Rica, Israel and a luxury lodge in Zimbabwe where one side of my hut was literally the Zambezi river. I was great at my job, awarded the number one region for eight years and was rewarded handsomely. I made over $1M as a Sales Engineer and continued to faithfully serve the United States. Our clients included The Navy, Air Force and the Marines.

There were only two problems. First, in my job I essentially supported and sold WMDs, weapons of protection and mass destruction. Excluding my childhood behavior in the bleachers of Yankee Stadium, I’m a “make love, not war” kind of guy, and this didn’t sit well with me.

Second, my stomach and colon issues were getting worse. At age 38 my testosterone tested at 113—low enough to be essentially neutered. At times, it was a struggle to get out of bed. During 10 years of experimenting with numerous medicines my disease only worsened. The side-effects were debilitating, resulting in additional incurable diseases. I lost hope, I lost trust, I lost confidence and perhaps worst of all I lost time with friends and family. I was prescribed chemotherapy drugs, and I almost opted for irreversible surgery to remove my colon.

I decided to write my own prescription, not for a drug, but for life. Per Dr. Lissa Rankin, I asked myself “What is it that you need, what does your body need to get healthy?”

And I got an answer I didn’t expect.

Ignoring my gut instinct, I was certified as a Google consultant, interviewed at prAna HQ to use those skills, almost married two different women. That job, those trainings, those women were all wrong for me. How did I miss this? Plain and simple, my gut intuition was off. My current situation, selling WMDs while my health deteriorated, was going the same way.

Listening to my gut intuition, I resigned to focus on my health. I left behind health insurance, a comfortable salary, an easy career and clients and colleagues who loved me. I enrolled in courses through Landmark Education, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and Yoga teacher training. I founded a consulting business for the health and wellness industry, which ultimately led to also starting for-benefit corporation with the mission of eradication Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBD and IBS, worldwide. We research, advocate, educate, and consult on innovating therapies and anticipate revolutionary breakthroughs in the next few years. Most importantly, now not only do I work for a mission I love, I support my own health as I do it. Today I am healthier and happier than I ever was working as a WMD salesman (and I still have my colon!).

gut feeling

I encourage you to follow your own gut intuition. Do you know if you are? Signs that you’re not following your gut intuition include lack of confidence, social pressures, trusting others over yourself, marrying the wrong person. Signs that you are include people wondering what miracle drug you are taking, your smile and laughter are infectious, you jump out of bed in the morning, you’re in flow.

Albert Einstein said, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.”

The gift can be full of optimal health, financial success and loving empowering relationships, or a lifetime of chronic disease, financial struggles and loneliness without connection and loving relationships. It all depends on what you’re listening to. Are you listening to your gut intuition?

Interested in reading 99 other stories just like this? Grab The Better Business book here.

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