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Intuition: The Entrepreneur's Secret Weapon
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?

 
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Body signals - Your body gives you a tremendous amount of useful, intuitive information. For example, when your mother-in-law visits, does your stomach tie up in knots? When you feel passionate and alive, does your chest feel warm and open? Body signals offer us valuable information designed to let us what works for us and what doesn't.

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"The Gut"- Some people do feel their intuition in their physical gut. When I first started coaching and learning to access my intuition fully, I'd picture a string connecting my heart to my abdomen as a way to connect with my intuition.

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Pictures in your mind's eye - Sometimes, I see an image in my mind's eye that is an intuitive message.

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Dreams - The week after my son's birth, I had a difficult decision to make. One night, the lyrics to the song "Heart of Gold" by Neil Young appeared in my dream, reminding me that the intention with which I make a decision is far more important than the decision itself.

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Energy - Many of my clients use their energy levels as intuitive cues. If your energy spikes at the thought of one choice, while it plummets when you contemplate another, the decision is clear.

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Just as a feeling, a hunch - a more generalized feeling that one choice is better than the other. Sometimes for me it feels like an internal tug.

The next time you have an important business decision to make notice the part that your intuition plays. Do you use it and not even recognize it? Do you hear its message and ignore it? At your next set of crossroads, I challenge you to listen to your intuition, trust it and follow it. After all, trusting your intuition is simply another form of trusting yourself.

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Claudette Rowley, Coach and Author Helps entrepreneurs harness their potential and soar to new heights Co-author ~ A Guide To Getting It: A Clear, Compelling Vision Special Offer at http://www.metavoice.org. Sign up today for FREE newsletter Insights for Savvy Entrepreneurs At http://www.metavoice.org/signup.html

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