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Gut feelings, hunches and... intuitive insights. Often dismissed, they are part of the human ability called ‘intuition'. You may have noticed the discomfort of your boss if you've ever asked him or her to trust you because you were certain a proposal would work out.
In my life experience, replies to an intuitive idea are usually negative or dismissive. A CEO wants to see a business case if you need funding, and they will probably not pay attention to a proposal based on a gut feeling. We find ourselves having to prove everything we say with facts to be noticed or respected.
Things are a bit different in an emergency department. Due to pressing conditions, doctors or paramedics rely on their hunches combined with any available information to try to save someone’s life. Emergency personnel must act quickly and be agile if they want to save the patient. There is no time to assemble a business case because the patient could be dead in a matter of minutes. Is urgency the determinant factor for us to be more connected to our intuition, perhaps?
Realistically, following only the facts does not always guarantee the best outcome every time. A good example of this would be the fine print of an investment portfolio agreement. The terms and conditions clearly stipulate that past returns do not guarantee future earnings. If previous facts cannot guarantee the desired outcome, why do we continue to value facts more than our ability to intuit?
When searching for thoughts from others on this topic, I found numerous articles in the prestigious Forbes magazine showing very opposite opinions, such as ‘Don’t Trust Your Gut’ and ‘Trust Your Intuition. Not Doing So Can Be Costly’.
With such opposing views, it is easy to feel confused and ignore the value that intuition can bring to our existence. However, during the research I undertook when creating the , I noticed that approximately 88% of the 2,000 people we surveyed believed that intuition had served them well in most of the important decisions of their lives.
The traditional view of management has always favoured the analytical approach over the intuitive one. While conducting research, though, I repeatedly noticed that highly successful people such as Richard Branson, Oprah and Steve Jobs preferred to follow their intuition in their personal and professional lives.
Could it be that some people are more intuitive than others? Very likely. In the same way that we all have different brains and responses to situations, it should not surprise us that we all possess varying levels of intuition, creating this dichotomy of opinions. Is it possible to develop our intuition and get better at it?
I would dare to suggest that we certainly can, and more importantly, I also propose that improving intuition is a worthy endeavour.
“Intuition will tell the thinking mind where to look next.”
At the About my Brain Institute, we believe that becoming a more intuitive leader has great value. There are specific frameworks, processes and strategies that we teach in our Programs that can help awaken this ability at work and in life. I have outlined four reasons to consider if you are not entirely convinced.
In this global economy, having a more intuitive rather than a sluggish workforce can make the difference between a thriving and agile business versus 'being out' of business. Just as being agile is necessary in the emergency room, it has almost become almost a matter of life or death in today's business world.
Educating people to recognise 'changes' in the external environment is important. Then, they can intuitively understand how these changes might impact their business, giving their organisation a significant competitive advantage.
For starters, it makes sense that if we are talking about gut feelings we should explore how the gut functions. Recent neurobiological insights speak of the strong hard-wired connections between the gut and the brain and their complex communication system.
A clear mind has always been associated with having a healthy gut. However, our gastrointestinal system may also influence our feelings, motivations and decisions. It is very likely that by improving our gut function, reducing inflammation and eating healthier we could improve our levels of intuition.
In many cases, ignoring how you feel about a decision can cause a sense of discomfort or even disengagement because the facts may indicate something that your gut does not agree with. You do not look or sound as confident when this dissonance occurs. You may not always be 100% sure about what path to choose, but it feels better if you acknowledge and integrate your intuition with any available facts.
Even if you do not consider yourself intuitive, understanding that people around you may be more tuned to this capacity can work in your favour. Being hard to impress, always asking for more data and making employees justify every decision or idea can become overbearing and disempowering.
If you have some 'intuitive souls' around you, learn to listen to them. Be curious and ask them questions about how they feel about the matter. Not every person acts or feels the same way. Being accepting develops a trusting environment, allowing people to express their virtues.
Wouldn't it be great give yourself the permission to tap into this incredible ability when making your most difficult decisions at work or in life? We invite you to learn more about intuition today! What are you waiting for?
Apart from cultivating this capacity that we all inherently possess, there are many more reasons why you could consider broadening your current knowledge and immersing yourself in the teachings of i4. Our programs make people feel awakened, inspired, empowered and ready to take their leadership to a new level.
Founder & CEO
About my Brain Institute
Scientist, educator, author, speaker, coach, award-winning leadership specialist, filmmaker and creator of the i4 Neuroleader Model & Methodology.
Silvia's scientific background and curiosity about the human brain led her to a decade long journey of research into optimal brain functioning and the application of neuroscience in leadership and daily life. Her past and current roles have uniquely prepared her for the current undertaking, that of leadership activist & change agent.
Silvia Damiano founded The About my Brain Institute in 2009, with the purpose of democratising leadership & neuroscience. She has a passionately held belief, that leaders in our 21st century global economy and their organisations must radically change long-held ideas of what constitutes effective leadership
In her ground-breaking books ‘Leadership is Upside Down’, ‘Brain-Friendly Leadership’ and the 2018 documentary ‘Make Me A Leader’, Silvia provides both compelling evidence and explores the importance of leadership in our personal and professional lives and what it takes to develop the human behind the leader.
Silvia has worked in different countries, across many industries, helping teams and organisations improve business performance. Silvia’s clients have described her as a passionate, dynamic, a highly experienced speaker and master facilitator on the topics of Emotional Intelligence, Cultural Change, Neuroleadership & Engagement.
Silvia is passionate about leaving a legacy of well-rounded leaders who can act and decide in a way that better serves humanity. Her clients include Microsoft, Australian Stock Exchange, NSW Government, VISA, Fuji Xerox and Manpower amongst many other global companies.