That Time I Almost Accidentally Aligned Myself With an Alleged Cult (or Why You Should Let Go of Your Stories and Focus on Your Gut Reactions)
Don’t you just hate it when you apply for what feels like a perfect job then discover the organization’s quite possibly associated with a cult quite possibly associated with a notorious serial killer? Yeah, me too.
In addition to being a life coach, I’m also a writer, and I recently came across a freelance opportunity helping out an animal non-profit. I love writing, I love animals, and ever since I adopted my dog from a dog rescue group, I’ve had a special place in my heart for organizations that save animals.
I did what I thought was due diligence—I researched the organization and discovered that, by all accounts, the non-profit was legit and truly helping out all kinds of animals. The thing is, as soon as I sent them my info, I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Immediately my lizard brain went into thoughts like “I should’ve looked over my stuff one more time.” and “I didn’t show them my full personality.” and “I can’t believe I forgot to mention I had a rescue dog!”
Ultimately, I let it go because I couldn’t change it. I figured if they responded, I could show them more of my personality and get across my love for animals in a stronger way, and that calmed my lizard down without needing to bribe her with peanut butter.
A few days later, they replied back with the pay to see if I was still interested. Now I’d expected a lower amount since it was a non-profit, but the amount they put forth was such a low offer, I really had to think about it. I did a little more digging into the usual pay rate for this kind of situation, one thing led to another, and that’s when I discovered the alleged cult stuff. I took it with a grain of salt because, well, Internet, but I also came across it a few different places so it felt like there could at least be a kernel of truth.
All I could do was laugh at the ridiculousness.
In the research process, I also came across a lot of negative employee reviews of the company, and there were so many, those at least felt totally legit. (Although I do feel compelled to add that even some of the most disgruntled employees mentioned the group really did help a ton of animals, so at least there’s that…) Anyway, the employee reviews combined with the pay combined with the possible cult connection combined with the most important thing of all—my gut reaction—of course led me to tell them I wasn’t interested after all.
I’m sharing this because I’m amused by it, but also because it’s a great example of my inner GPS intervening and my lizard brain immediately jumping into storytelling mode. I had a strong feeling something was off, and I let my brain go to “I did something wrong,” without questioning the thought.
The thing is, sometimes we do get strong feelings about something, but there’s no way to explain it at the moment; not being able to explain it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t follow what our gut is telling us. Seriously, would your brain have jumped to “It’s a cult associated with Charles Manson!”??
So the next time you get that kind of clear message from your body, check in with it. See if you can get clearer on what it’s telling you. Let go of the stories your lizard brain comes up with to explain it. Ultimately, if it's in any way possible, follow it (or know you'll probably pay the consequences).
And, of course, if it makes sense for the situation, dig a little deeper into those Google results.
Katie Baron: life coach, freelance writer, animal and nature lover, musician, relentless optimist