By Claudette Rowley
"The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There
comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you
will, and the solution comes to you, and you don't know how or
why." - Albert Einstein
I remember the first time a boss asked me, "What's your gut
feeling?" Before I was a coach, I was a social worker, at the
time employed by the state of Idaho in the child protective
services department. This was the first time someone had asked
me to include my "gut" or intuition in my decision making
process. As I began to use my intuition, I noticed that it was
usually dead-on right. My intuition allowed me to know things
that my rational mind couldn't.
As an entrepreneur, your intuition is your secret weapon.
Entrepreneurship requires risk taking, not to mention frequent
forays into the unruly jungle of the unknown. Not knowing where
your next paycheck is coming from, putting your ideas out into
world, and facing "make it or break it" decisions on a regular
basis are all situations entrepreneurs face. Developing your
intuition is critical to your entrepreneurial success. Sometimes
it's all you've got.
What is intuition?
Intuition is simply knowing something without knowing exactly how
you know it. In other words, intuition is a form of inner
guidance. Connect back to a time that you had a "gut feeling"
about something - the job that you knew you shouldn't take, even
though it looked good on the surface, or a relationship that just
felt right for you. That's your intuition talking to you.
When I talk about intuition, clients often ask, "How do I tell
the difference between my intuition and the other voices in my
head?" Often the "other voices" are the loud-mouthed opinions of
the inner critic. For those of you who aren't familiar with the
term "inner critic", it's the voice that says "What a stupid
idea. No one is going to take you seriously." Or "You just made
the biggest fool of yourself. Now everyone will know that you
are a fraud." In contrast, intuition feels like a gentle
internal nudge. It doesn't feel bad because it's not based in
fear or judgment.
How do I hone my intuition?
Listen, practice and trust. Because intuition is largely
intangible - it can't be seen, felt or heard in a concrete sense
- it works better when you trust it. Intuition and your faith in
it are closely tied together. You must first trust your
intuition before you see the results of it in your life. So
often, we want guarantees or tangible evidence before we trust.
Believe me, once you start incorporating your intuition into your
business and personal life, you'll never go back! It's one of
the most valuable skills in an entrepreneur's tool kit. We all
have it, and many of us even hear its message, and still we
dismiss it. How many times have you thought, "Something kept
telling me that was the wrong decision to make. But I made it
anyway because intellectually it made sense."
How might I notice my intuition trying to get my attention?