by Sharon Langford
Intuition: that gut feel or small voice
which suggests we do something - perhaps not what we were planning.
It's difficult to quantify or qualify; there doesn't seem to be
any hard data, we just get this message. Where does it come from?
And should we rely on it; especially in business? Its one thing
to have a 'hunch' to bet £10 on a race horse, another to invest
your whole budget based on intuition.
How can we use it to help us?
The first challenge is to allow the intuitive thoughts to come
through. Stop and listen out for them, sometimes the messages are
very quiet; akin to listening for the noise of a cat's foot-fall
on a busy street. For example, sometimes I just feel too tired to
go to a networking meeting, then I'll get a sense that I really
should go and, nine times out of ten, I've met a great contact who
has been able to give me information I needed.
Sometimes, just as I'm leaving the office to run a workshop,
I get a sense that I need to take an activity or handout; it's amazing
how often I have needed that information. And, I can clearly remember
times when I've 'dismissed' intuitive messages and fallen flat on
my face as a result. I'm sure you have similar stories of times
when you've followed, or not, an 'intuitive' message.
Intuition is a non-conscious process. Some of it is based
on memory, tacit knowledge and emotionally significant events -
'stuff' that's already been part of our lives. The remainder is
our senses unconsciously collecting data at that moment in time
- perhaps someone is saying one thing yet our unconscious picks
up a completely different message, it then just nudges us to let
us know that all is well, or not, as the case may be.
Using and developing your intuition may take practice, especially
if you are used to making decisions based on rational thought processes.
And, if you're concerned that listening to your intuition may be
a bit 'fluffy', be assured it is not the same as emotion. Emotional
decisions are the ones which often cause the most difficulties;
ignoring or not even hearing a 'don't do this' message and throwing
yourself into a project because you have a strong emotional connection
to someone or something associated with it. Both emotional feelings
and rational thoughts can drown out intuitive messages - by giving
your intuition a bit of air time, you will probably save yourself
lots of time, money and energy.
Although intuition cannot be ignored, neither should it be followed
blindly; use it as a double or even triple checking mechanism. And,
if a message is very 'loud' and/or keeps popping into your mind
then it's probably something you need to take notice of.
Here are a few ways to sharpen up your intuition
1. Quiet your rational mind; listen for the whispers of intuition
2. Listen for your intuition through the noise of your emotions.
3. Be curious and flexible - go with the flow
4. Notice how often you hear the same message
5. Take action on your intuitive thoughts; experiment with small
things - if you get a sense to call someone, do - if you're drawn
to a certain book on the shelf, pick it up and read it.
6. Make a note the times you've followed your intuition and it's
been right - the more you use it the sharper it will become.
Suggested Further Reading