Recently a mentor of mine shared an experience that changed how she made decisions in her business. She had landed a project with a nationally known company to coach their team in branding and sales. She was invited into the office of the marketing director to finalize the details of their multi-five figure contract which had been written but not yet signed. My mentor had a strong feeling that she needed to be assertive about getting the contract buttoned down and signed at the beginning of the meeting. Instead, she followed along with the lead of the director and went along with the conversation while he began to chat about details of the project. Meanwhile, the written contract sat on his desk unsigned.
The director then invited in some of his team. He proceeded to ask my mentor some questions that resulted in her revealing some of her unique marketing secrets–exactly the kind of information she was to have been paid for as a consultant. This was one savvy–or sneaky, depending on how you look at it– marketing director. He obtained enough useful info for his company’s marketing campaign that he ended up not following through with their proposal. The director “changed his mind” about their needing her services and ended up not signing the contract. The result was my mentor learned a painful but priceless lesson about listening to her gut she has never since forgotten.
Have you ever “gone against your gut” and forced yourself to do something you were told you was the “right way” that ended up just wasting your time and energy (or worse)? Conversely, have you ever followed a completely illogical feeling about something that in hindsight turned out to be one of the best business decisions of your life?
In our intellectually oriented western culture intuition has too often been dismissed as “woo-woo”and impractical. In reality, a highly developed intuitive sense is a useful and practical skill. Intuition is an especially useful skill to have in your decision-making toolbox when you are running and growing a business. In fact, a study by Professor John Mihalsky of the New Jersey Institute of Technology revealed that out of a 100 of CEO’s with high intuition scores, 81% of them had doubled their businesses in five years. Contrastively, out of 100% of CEO’s with low intuition scores, only 25% managed to double their businesses in five years.
Developing and using your intuition to grow your business is time and energy well-spent. Honing your intuition doesn’t just help you make better and faster decisions, it guides new thought development, innovation, and creativity. These are all essential qualities for being a not just great entrepreneur and CEO, but a thought leader in your area of expertise as well.
Here are some tips that will help you develop your intuition so you can grow your business more quickly and easily:
1) Trust your gut
a)What it is: Tuning into and honoring inner sensations that tell you whether something is right or wrong for you.
b)Why it’s important: Your soul communicates with you through feelings not through the intellectual thinking mind. In order to to access this inner wisdom, you need to be aware of what you are feeling on a gut level and honor it.
c)How to do it: Next time you have to make an important intuitive decision that requires a “yes” or “no” tune into the sensations that are present in your stomach and abdominal area. Then ask yourself how it feels to move ahead with a “yes” decision. Is there a feeling of excitement, openness, and energy? This is a sign your life force wants movement in that direction. Is there a sensation of contraction, tension, or deadness? These types of sensation are a sign of energy blockage and indicate lack of energy flow. This takes a bit of practice but using this method over time will help you develop your “gut level” intuitive sense to become your reliable inner compass.
2)Be in alignment with joy
a)What it is: Allowing yourself to feel your soul’s urges and follow them.
b)Why it’s important: Being in alignment with joy connects you to intuitive guidance and creative flow.
c)How to do it: If you are a typical goal-oriented entrepreneur, this shift requires giving yourself permission to feel into your priorities rather than mind powering your way through them. Instead of methodically following your to do list, let what feels joyful determine your to-do list. (Of course if being methodical about following your to-do list makes you feel joyful, then do that.) The point is to go with the flow of what your creative energy (your authentic self) is guiding you to do rather than your more robotic thinking mind.
a)What it is: Staying open-minded to how your fulfillment and opportunities show up
b)Why it’s important: In order to take advantage of opportunities and openings you need to recognize them. Holding an attitude of openness will help you recognize these opportune moments and move with them.
c)How to do it: Keep in mind the universe rarely manifests our goals in exactly in the way we expect. Holding this idea in mind will help you say yes to bigger more expanded experiences
a)What it is: Letting yourself take risks, be experimental and try new and exciting opportunities and challenges .
b)Why it’s important: The only we we grow and attain mastery is by taking on bigger and better challenges.
c)How to do it: Let go of perfectionism. Give yourself permission to fail and make mistakes. Frequently the biggest obstacle to our own success is our fear of looking foolish or of making a mistake. The only way you will learn is by doing and experiencing the result– which will lead you to your next step and so on, until you have manifested your goal. This is the creative process–you need to give yourself permission to be experimental and flow with it.
5)Don’t ignore “negative” uncomfortable feelings–use them to help access your intuition
a)What it is: Allowing yourself to be informed by all your feelings, even “negative” uncomfrotable ones.
b)Why it’s important: Negative uncomfortable feelings are not infrequently a sign of your intuitive inner wisdom attempting to communicate with you and guide you through the vehicle of your subconscious emotional mind. The reason many people find using this “feeling guidance” challenging is they have been taught the positive thinking model of success —if you think positively enough, hold a positive “intention” while you continue to push yourself to “take action” you will eventually be successful. Unfortunately using this method can cause you to disregard the part of your emotional mind which connects you to your authentic self, your intuition, and your inner wisdom. Continually pushing down “negative” feelings in favor of positive ones can cause you to disregard your own soul’s true needs and your own intuitive knowing. Negative feelings are there for a reason: either to guide you or to be healed or both.
c)How to do it: Next time you feel a strong negative feeling (ie, self-doubt, resistance, overwhelm) instead of ignoring it or masking it with “positive thinking”, release it. Here is a quick energy technique that will help you do that:
- Tune into your uncomfortable feelings. The first step to tuning into gut intuition is to be aware of it and feel it. Your feelings are key to helping you identify where creative energy is flowing and where it is blocked. Uncomfortable feelings are a direct indicator of blocked creative energy.
- Think of the decision or situation that’s making you feel uncomfortable. Now tune into the feelings that are generated in your body in response to thinking about that decision or situation. What do the feelings feel like as physical sensation? Where are they located in your body? Are they in your stomach, abdomen, chest, or somewhere else? Do they feel like tension, constriction, pressure, heaviness, or something else? Allow the feelings to be there in your body without resisting them or attempting to override them with your mind.
- Now imagine a window or door opening where the feelings reside. For example, you can imagine a window opening in your chest, or a door opening in the area of your stomach.
- Ask yourself, “Can I let this go?” Allow the energy to leave your body through the window or door you created. Breathing deeply during this process may help you release the blocked energy. Continue doing this for as long as it you feel the energy release. This can take a bit of practice but you will probably feel a subtle sensation of relief as the energy leaves your body.
- Now think again about the decision or situation you thought of initially that brought on the uncomfortable feelings. How do you feel about it now? Notice what comes into your awareness.
I hope you found this blog post helpful. Have you ever used your intuition to help you make an important business decision that paid off? I would love to hear about. Please leave your comments below.