How often do you pay attention to your intuition or listen to your gut?
As women leaders, we’re often told that listening to intuition is just a cover for making “emotional decisions”. In my novel, Discovering Power, Sheryl Simmons gets a lot of signals from her intuition, but she doesn’t know whether or not to even listen to it much less act on it. She gets different advice from various people in her life – especially her husband Dave.
Spoiler Alert! Dave’s view: Sheryl is just being emotional. She’s not being reasonable or rational, and her intuition has no place in business.
I know I’ve been told that. Have you?
Yet, what I’ve learned is that when I ignore my intuition, the gut instinct that demands my attention, I always regret it.
When I was working in corporate, my team came to recognize this too. In fact, they would often ask me what my gut instinct said before they made a decision. Of course, I encouraged them to learn to listen to their own.
Let’s take a look at what intuition is.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, it’s “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning”
Ahhh… that’s why it’s emotional. No reasoning involved.
But is that really true?
If you look closely, the definition actually says “no conscious reasoning.” It means that you don’t know how your brain is processing the input and instinct. It doesn’t mean that you’re not reasoning at all. Does it?
The human brain is an amazing machine. It can process data a lot faster than we think it can. Our intuition can tap into stored memories and patterns that we don’t even know that we have. Plus, I believe that our intuition can also tap into our collective consciousness (and so do a lot of other wise people, including Albert Einstein and Abraham Maslow). This means that our intuition can include information for which we have no direct knowledge.
So, while I get that intuition doesn’t include “conscious reasoning”, I don’t agree that there is no reasoning or “rational thought” involved.
And there’s more.
Positive Psychology uses this definition: “Intuition is that feeling in your gut when you instinctively know that something you are doing is right or wrong.”
That’s what Sheryl experiences in Discovering Power. She knows that things aren’t right. She also knows what she needs to do, but will she take the risk to do it?
Following our intuition can seem like a big risk because we often can’t explain exactly why we want to take an action.
But we know. Sheryl knew.
For me, intuition is an important tool in my toolbag. A really important one.
Because I know that my “conscious rational mind” doesn’t have all the answers. I trust my intuition a lot more than reasoning.
Not that I ignore reasoning. It’s most useful to verify my intuition or explain it to someone else. But intuition comes first.
My definition of intuition? It’s the inner wisdom that tells me whether I’m on the right track, making the right decisions, working with the right people, or doing the right things.
It’s the exact opposite of emotional recklessness. In fact, my intuition often tells me when my emotions are all wrong. 😊
So, what about you? Are you listening to intuition?
I’m hosting a LinkedIn Audio event on August 22, 2023 at 4:00 pm Eastern to discuss this topic. I’d love for you to join me and share the wisdom gleaned from your intuition!
PS – The audio event will be the first in a series discussing the primary themes of Discovering Power. Plus, you’ll get some sneak peeks from the second book in the series, Pursuing Truth, which is due out on September 28, 2023.
Photo Credit: istockphoto.com/Jorm Sangsorn