By Joni Lindquist
We’ve all heard of women’s intuition. The fact is that both men and women have intuition. The dictionary defines intuition as “direct perception of truth, or fact; independent of any reasoning process.” Intuition is the ability to get a sense or feeling about a situation, basically seeing the truth . I view intuition as a valuable tool in decision making and problem solving. As such, intuition can also be useful as you face decisions in managing and advancing your career.
As business professionals, we are likely trained to use our analytical skills to solve problems. We are taught to be “fact-based” in our decision making process. We often develop pros and cons, perhaps even weighing them, to make a decision. Or we may develop a hypothesis, and then go find the data that ends up either proving or disproving the hypothesis. Particularly in the last 20 years, the powers of computing and easy-to-use spreadsheets like Excel further reinforce this analytical approach. In fact, sometimes it’s an enabler to the old “paralysis by analysis” – you can run thousands of different scenarios. But will running thousands of scenarios get you any closer to the end solution? The real world isn’t clean and analytics often can’t capture nuances. While I’m not advocating abandoning the analysis, often it isn’t enough and doesn’t provide a clear solution.
What then? Listen to your gut. When you have major decisions to make that will impact your life and career, include your intuition – your gut – in your decision making process. Often in working with my clients, in both executive coaching and career transition situations, their breakthrough comes when I ask them “what does your gut tell you?” When faced with decisions such as “Should I leave my job? “ or “Should I take this job?” or “How do I deal with this difficult work situation?”; your gut can be the final say. People find that when they listen to their gut when facing a difficult decision, it can provide the right answer. Tapping into what their gut tells them often makes the difficult decision clear.
Why listen to your GUT? Think of it as:
G= it’s Genuine, real , it is less likely to get sidetracked by minor issues
U= it’s your Unconscious mind, and by paying attention to it, you are using more of your mental capabilities
T= by Tuning in, and paying attention, you get another perspective beyond your analysis
To develop your “gut” or intuition as a powerful tool:
1. Go ahead and complete your analytical process, as it provides the foundation and data that I believe even your unconscious processes. While I don’t have proof that this is the way our minds work, I find in working with clients that completing the analysis is an important first step. It provides a comfort level that they have done their homework and are not making a rash decision. Sometimes, the analysis may point to a clear solution and you won’t have to engage your gut.
2. If the decision or choice is not clear, instead of becoming paralyzed, get in the habit of asking yourself: “what is my GUT telling me?” Give yourself time and space to engage your intuition. Sleep on it. Relax and rest. Move away from your analysis and let your mind become freer.
3. Then, Tune in to what you are hearing, feeling, thinking or seeing. Intuition or “gut” comes to people in various forms – become aware of how your gut works. Learn to trust your gut on what it’s telling you. You will find that in the majority of cases your gut has led you to the right thing for you.
4. Repeat and practice as decisions come along. Think of your intuition as a muscle that is strengthened through exercise. Conversely, if you don’t exercise it, it atrophies and isn’t useful for you
If you recall some of the most significant decisions you’ve made in your life, I bet you listened to your intuition as part of your decision making process. I’m suggesting you do this in a structured, conscious way and make it a habit. I believe you will make decisions that are better for you because you have tuned into the core of who you are – straight from the GUT!
For help with specific skills you’d like to improve, schedule a meeting by clicking below, contact Joni Lindquist –firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (913) 345-1881.