Using your instinct can save your life, whether you’re in a literal war zone or in a quest to be fundable. In this episode, Merrill Chandler shares a near-death experience he had in the battle-torn state of Chiapas, Mexico. This real yet surreal experience shows how listening to intuition literally saved Merrill and his fellow Gringos from a bloody incident that would ensue. What does this have to do with fundability™? Well, for starters, fundability™, just like any other area of life, is best approached with a balanced use of our three centers: intellect, intuition and instinct. Merrill explains why in this episode. If any of these three centers tells you this episode is going to give you something of value, go ahead and listen to it!
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The Secret To Using Your Instinct
How Your Gut Can Save Your Ass
I’ve thought about sharing this subject with you for as long as I’ve been doing a show. It’s time. I want to share it with you. We’ll be talking about a near-death experience that I had in a violent part of the world and how it speaks to fundability™.
Fleeing The Pueblo
Do I have an exciting episode for you? As I said in the intro, this is a powerful experience that I had in my life and where my instincts kicked in, my intuition kicked in, and it saved my life. In this episode, we’re going to talk about intellect, intuition, instinct and how do these things wrap up and put a nice little bow on it for how to serve your financial end game. Let me give you a little backstory on this. I don’t know how I end up in these situations but I’m going to have you walk with me here. Back in 1996, 1997, we were the three Founders of Lexington Law Firm. I’ve told you about Lexington Law Firm. We weren’t just business partners. Steve, Jason and myself played paintball together. We did hobbyist amateur archeology. We had all kinds of things we did together. We’re best of friends.
One day, my friend, Steve, gets a phone call and it is from a writer from Outside Magazine. The article that he wrote, Casting Forward, ended up in a different magazine. The fascinating story is Steve calls me up and he goes, “Merrill, I don’t know how to say this. We were referred to Outside Magazine to this artist, this author and a photographer because they were looking to explore the archeology of Mesoamerica, Southern Mexico, Northern Guatemala.” It’s where Tikal is, Palenque, some of these amazing Mayan ruins. Steve, who is way more of an enthusiast than I was, was referred by some folks down at Brigham Young University as adventurers who would go on this trip. We’re not real archeologists. We’re not real anthropologists but we are real adventures. When he was referred to on this trip, Steve was like, “What do you want to do?” I’m like, “Hell, yes. Let’s freaking go.“ The three of us talk, Steve, Jason and myself. It was on. We had the conversation with the Outside crew and we scheduled a time to be able to go on this excursion, on this adventure.
The goal was to go to Palenque, which is in Southern Mexico in a State called Chiapas. There’s San Cristóbal and some beautiful cities, amazing foothill. I lived two years in Guatemala in a missionary mode. I was familiar with the Southern Mayan, the Yucatán Peninsula version of this but now this was all in Chiapas. They invited us to go and be their guides on an interesting thing that the topic was, how does the LDS or the Mormon culture surrounding some of the scripture embraced by the Mormons? How does it relate to Southern Mexico, this area? Is there a correlation? There are all kinds of theories. None of which I’ll get into here. I was all ready for the adventure of it. We schedule our time. We get down there. It was an amazing opportunity.
Outside Magazine posted the entire thing. I was ready. It was going to be a blast. Unbeknownst to us, there are conflicts in the world going on that don’t make the media attention. This was the case in Chiapas, Mexico. Zapatistas didn’t go into any other of the Mexican States. It was the indigenous population of Chiapas rebelling, wanting to create more rights and opportunities inside of their state. Politics aside, I know that they were well–armed. I don’t even know who was arming them but they were extremely well–armed. We were headed for Chiapas and all of the mountains, all of the ruins we were going to be examining were smack dab in this war zone.
Have you noticed that there are three centers of your person? Some people call it the heart and the mind. Some say brain and heart. I’m not the first one to do so. I propose that there are three centers of our person. Even in my Bootcamp, I talk about the creative genius, the heart, the artists, the relationship builder and the strategist. This episode is about the three centers. I call it intellect, intuition and instinct. Many of us, me especially, I operate from intellect all the time. Over the last decades, I’ve had to consciously develop more of my intuition, develop more of my heart, develop my heart space more. What is common and natural to every single one of us is also our instinct. How many of us have that gut reaction? I talk about it in the bootcamp where you run into a deal. You’re looking at it and you’re like, “Maybe the numbers don’t make sense but this feels right.” That’s your instinct, that’s your gut. We have the mind, the heart and the gut.
Let me continue with my story. We’re leaving Palenque, this amazing set of ruins. We‘re heading up into San Cristóbal in Chiapas. We needed to stay the night at one of these local places in Mexico, Guatemala, Central America, the places that I’m familiar with. Having lived there, they’re not hotels. It’s a precursor to Airbnb where people would have extra rooms and you ask them, “Is there anybody that has rooms to rent?” They say, “Yes, these folks over here. Go over there.” Many times, somebody who has a home opens their house to feed you and put you down for the night. It’s way cool but these are in villages. These are not towns or inside of pueblitos. A pueblo is a town. I swear to you, that is not a city. These were small villages.
We’re coming from Palenque. We’re coming through this mountainous terrain and we’re on a dirt road. We pull up into this town. We go in and we started asking, “Where can we grab comida? Where can we get some food? Do you have any rooms to rent?” The people that we talked to, there was a nervousness with them. It was weird. Never had I seen it. You watch movies, somebody is sketchy. This was not sketch. This was not somebody being sketchy. This is somebody terrified for their life. We’re five gringos, the writer, the photographer and the three of us, Jason, Steve and myself. They were terrified. I had no clue what was going on. We asked them and they said, “No aqui. Not here. No food here. No rooms here.”
We walked across the little plaza. It’s true, every single pueblo, every single village has a town center. As an aside, a common dating practice down there is you go on couples, even young couples walk chaperoned around the circle of each one of these town squares. There’s a town square. There’s not a gazebo but a little stage where musicians would play. It’s a cool little town square. We walked across the town square to another place. Somebody said, “We have something here that you could stay, rooms and food.” They were nervous. We’re looking at each other going, “Something is not right.“ I’m asking, I’m bold that way. I’m like, “Que pasa? What is going on? Estas nervioso? Why is everybody so nervous?” They were like, “Nada. It’s okay. Nothing.” We all looked at each other. We circled up and we were like, “Something is not right.”
This was not the domain of the intellect because it’s a town. We’ve been to dozens of towns on this trip. It’s a little pueblo, lots of good people, especially when you get out of the cities. I love the Mexican people. I love the Guatemalan people. I felt the time in San Salvador. We looked at each other. The intellect didn’t have anything to grab onto. It’s as usual. We do this every day. We always stayed in people’s homes in cuartos, the rooms that they have for people coming through town. Remember, we came through on a dirt road from the equivalent of the jungle from Palenque where we’re hailing from. Intellect and intuition had nothing to hold on to. It was like, “What do we do?“ Instinct, however, it was so bizarre what was going on inside of my body. They say your stomach liquefies. I had nothing to be scared of but there was a strange energy going on inside of me that my instinct said, “We’re out of here.“ I proposed that to my company, our small group. In every way people were like, “Something’s not right.“ We still had the intellect conversation but the instinct was, “Get out.“
We left town the way we had come. We were heading for San Cristóbal. We found another place to stay later on in the evening. No harm, no foul. Think of it as why we left town, went to another town. This was more of a size of a town rather than a village. We stayed the night. The next morning when we leave San Cristóbal, we think of it as a triangle. We’re coming back down a different road and we are confronted by eight tank, two personnel carriers and soldiers. We’re five gringos in the middle of Chiapas during the middle of this uprising. We get stopped. They checked our papers, checked our passports and everything. We’re like, “What’s going on?” For us to continue would be to go into this town, through the paved road instead of the back road we’d seen. “What’s going?” “Nothing. Please turn around and go back the way you came.” That’s all they would say.Don’t ignore your intuition and instinct. Listening to things other than your intellect can help you make better decisions. Click To Tweet
We go back to San Cristóbal. We wait another day. To drive back to the airport, to go home, we have to go along this route. The next day when we returned, no tanks, no personnel characters, no armed military. We go back into the town. In the town square, there were blood markings everywhere. We found that this has been a place where the Zapatistas had hold whatever it was. They had executed 45 people in that village, in that town square the morning after we would have stayed the night. We would have attempted to leave but we were in there when they did their raid in the early morning.
Mind, Heart and Gut
Whatever you believe in gods, the universe, the divine, we are given these three areas of our person for a reason. Each one of them has a different motivation, a different come from, a different role to play. Each one of these three areas has a job to do. The intellect is higher functioning. It’s making sure that we can analyze and compare features and benefits, notice and make decisions based on value judgments. Intuition is to be able to connect with others, be empathetic, compassionate, read and feel the energy that’s going on with other people in our lives so that we have more information to make a decision with. It’s the creative part of us. It’s the connective part of us. Instinct is freaking fight or flight. I am so glad to this day we chose flight because I don’t know what would have happened being American citizens. A few dozen people were executed in that town square. We saw it and we felt it. When we were driving back into that village, it was the ugliest feeling I’ve ever personally felt in my body. All the doors were closed. We didn’t see a soul. We kept going.
Some of your intellects are going, “How are you going to make this about fundability™, Merrill?” Here’s the thing. Don’t ignore any part of us. The deals we do, the partnerships we grow, the things we engage in are part of our vision for our lives. Many of us are intellect heavy. I have been through the vast majority. Maybe it took me a few decades to get it right but I have finally tapped into my intuition, listen to my instinct. As a result of listening to things other than my intellect, A) I’m still around to tell the story, B) I’ve made more and better decisions. The more I’ve connected with my team, the more I’ve connected with my partners, using my intuition as to where to guide our whole tribe so that we all have a better quality of life and a higher standard of living. My intellect, which is what I did the first years of this career has been intellect only. I didn’t grow much. I didn’t connect much. I didn’t have a tribe years ago. I had 110 soldiers doing his fundability™ thing.
I tapped into my intuition and tapped into my ability to communicate with others and build relationships and speak from the heart more and share from my crazy experience. You have seen this. I have crazy ass experiences. It’s an adventure of life. What I wanted to share is I did not listen to my mind. I didn’t even listen to my heart. I listened to the pure gut reaction of, “It’s not okay to stay here.” I don’t know why, “Shut the hell up, brain.” How many times have you had a gut–level reaction to something and it paid off? You were told to do something, you did it and it paid off. You’re told not to do something, you did it and you face planted or you didn’t do it and it was a win to stay out of that experience, engagement, partnership, business. In every way, I want you to focus on and tap into your intellect.
Most of us don’t have a problem spending our time there. Please, go down your body, do a heart, compassion and intuition check. More than anything else, I know you have as many or more experiences that I do where your instinct saved your life, saved your marriage. Your instinct saved one of your children. Your instinct saved your business. Remember operate from all three of these. That’s a triangle. Not a love. How do we operate from all three of these centers of our life? To pull up to a village that we were in the previous evening, see a tank, see two personnel carriers and two dozen soldiers. Me, Mr. Gregarious, try to laugh it off, try to be sensitive, try to be kind, try to talk them up. It was the ugliest. It was literally like, “Turn around. Go home.” They wanted to make sure. Imagine pulling out the passports. We’re looking for our identification because this could get real and fast. No harm came to us but we were the lucky ones.
I want you to make sure that you do everything in your power, meaning intellect, intuition and instinct, everything in your power to take care of you and your loved ones, take care of your business because that’s our baby. It’s an extension of ourselves. This is Merrill Chandler. I’m here to help you get funding more easily. I’m also here to make sure that we raise our quality of life and our standard of living. I’m making sure that we remind ourselves why we’re doing all of this in the first place. You guys have a beautiful day.