Do any of these sound familiar?
- your phone rings and your stomach immediately tightens up
- you walk into a meeting and you have a pervasive feeling that something is ‘off’
- you pass your boss, who doesn’t smile, and think you are in trouble or, worse, about to get fired
If you answered ‘yes’ then your intuition has been activated. Intuition is that little voice inside, it’s knowing before you think. Intuition has saved many people from bad decisions or catastrophes if listened to.
Does intuition have a place in business? Should leaders give merit to the voice inside or not? Would using intuition help in making hiring decisions or better business decisions?
These are valid questions that should be given more consideration. Often, we let the head override the heart; essentially, you read a situation correctly but the rational part of your brain kicks in leading to a misinterpretation of that situation. The left brain takes over.
Ackinci & Sadler-Smith (2012) suggest using intuition as a hypothesis but backing it up by facts and analysis. There are others who invalidate using intuition as it is hard to measure and, again, analyze. While this is true, over-analyzing leads to disregarding the internal feelings that arise. It could lead to missing a great opportunity or making a bad decision.
It’s important to remember that the subconscious brain can bring up all kinds of thoughts and arguments for why you should not move forward on an idea or decision, most not being real. The subconscious is where past memories live, and not just ours. So a past mistake could lead to thinking the decision won’t work, since it didn’t back then. It’s a misstep that could be costly.
I think that we need to go with our gut and then feel out the possibilities you may entertain around it. If that feeling does not go away, then move forward. And, there are ways to strengthen intuition, which we are all born with but lose over time, as we get into the norms around us.
From personal experience, it is possible to strengthen our intuitive nature:
- trust your gut – when you get those feelings in the stomach (which is the first place it will affect us), stay in those thoughts. Sit quietly and think of what it is trying to tell you; is it coming from fear or excitement – remember, it can’t tell the difference. Then, take action on it, starting with something small; then, you can build from there. It’s testing to see if your hunch was right.
- take notice of your surroundings, ideas, people or situations you encounter – pay attention to the feelings you get and if their energy affects you, either positively or negatively. Pay close attention if you feel drained after meeting someone as your being sent a message.
- take time to sit in quiet and to journal about your experiences – pay attention to the sudden ideas or urges that may arise; did you think of someone and suddenly they call you or you run into them, or have a solution to something you’ve been struggling with. Allow them to come and then take action on them.
Intuition and business can be good friends; however, this isn’t to say that it should arbitrarily be used without a process to make decisions. But, if an idea for a new product or process comes up, or it involves a new hire, it’s wiser to go with the gut and move forward from there. After all, isn’t this what Walt Disney and Steve Jobs did? Taking again from my experience, I never wanted the ‘woulda’s, coulda’s, shoulda’s’ to be in my vocabulary so I worked on building my intuitive side. Isn’t it time you did?
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