Access to computing and analytic data is changing the world exponentially and enabling decision-making at an unprecedented rate. But there is another type of data; a deep, universal wisdom that often gets ignored. While many of the world’s greatest minds have embraced this inner knowing, sometimes referred to as gut instinct or intuition, the rest of us haven’t quite figured out how to fully access it.
"I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics." Richard Branson
There’s no question that computing data and analytics enable faster and broader decision-making than ever before in our history.
We limit our potential, and the potential of our businesses, however, by relying solely on this type of data. It’s our intuition, a primal and powerful source of data, that elevates our ability to make more fully informed, wiser decisions. According to Oprah Winfrey, “Follow your instincts. That’s where true wisdom manifests itself.”
In his now famous 2005 Stanford speech, Steve Jobs credits intuition for his success. “You have to trust in something,” he said. “Your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever...follow your heart and intuition - everything else is secondary.”
Decades earlier, Albert Einstein, was quoted as saying, "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."
Jobs, Winfrey and Einstein, all highly successful individuals who’ve had a tremendous impact on humanity, have irrefutably established the case for intuition.
“I can honestly say that my intuition has been like a secret weapon to my success,” says URL owner/operator Stacy Cowan. “Professionally and personally, I have learned to just trust it over time and not to question it.”
Stacy describes intuition as feeling “...more like a whisper than a shout. Like most people, I can really get caught ‘in my head’ and the challenge lies in quieting the mind to hear and sense what your intuition is telling you. The incredible thing about intuition is that every single person and animal on this planet has it. It is a natural gift we are all born with. I like to think of it as a muscle - the more we exercise using it, the deeper the insights and the greater the ability to fully understand its potential as our "co-pilot" to help navigate life.”
In his 2019 book "Decisive Intuition", Rick Snyder describes how intuition works, and what keeps us from fully tapping in. A successful entrepreneur and international business coach working with companies such as Intel and Anytime Fitness, Snyder establishes gut instinct as a powerful tool, often hindered by our inner critic telling us we’re not good enough, have failed before, and will probably get it wrong.
The following is a summarized interpretation of his recommendations to help you connect with your intuitive intelligence for superior decision-making.
Be receptive to that inner critic. Everyone has one, and we need it to remain safe and secure. The key is to recognize when its voice is interfering and not protecting.
Slow down and shift what you’re doing - take a walk, meditate, do whatever it takes to distract your mind. Listen and learn to separate the voice of your inner critic to that of your intuition. Your inner critic is usually emotionally-charged, fearful and anxious, while your intuition is often clear, non-dramatic and quiet.
Take action and restore trust in yourself by defeating your inner critic. If your inner critic tells you you’re a procrastinator, begin working on the task immediately. If it tells you you’re not reliable, set up opportunities to show up and then follow through. Repetitive resistance defeats the critic and improves your capabilities.
Your intuition lives in your body and subconscious mind. When you slow down and pay attention to how you’re feeling, you will start to tap into what Snyder describes as your “full-body wisdom… where you receive all of your information in real-time”.
Over time, and with practice, you will learn to hear and feel your intuition. Practice taking action based on your inner guidance.
Too many of us are overly reliant on external metrics because our innate intuitive intelligence has been conditioned out of us. Learning to move with the flow to make decisions from your place of intuition, as well as reasoning and metrics, will result in better-informed decisions and the creation of a life, or company culture, that successfully anticipates and navigates challenges.
“You can live a life of either trusting your inner voice or distrusting your inner voice. You can cling to familiar expectations, conventions, and “reasonable” responses or you can listen to the sweet madness in your bones.” Tama Kieves - author, Harvard lawyer