Have you ever been driving and for some reason you just know that you should turn right even though your destination is to the left? Or you go to an event that you truly don’t want to attend and something amazing happens? Or perhaps you were one of those “lucky” ones that decided to go to a burger place only to be discovered as the next “it” girl? What do these all have in common … How important is it to follow your intuition in business and in your personal life.
I have always said that when I am doing something that I shouldn’t be doing, my intuition steps in and screams at me. Not literally but it’s my stomach that takes over and it feels like an alien stepped in and is not doing a happy dance. It’s almost immediate and … it is almost immediately gone when I give in and listen. Here is a perfect example. When you are first starting a business or a new position, you probably are winging it a bit here and there and make some mistakes that probably could have been avoided. Sometimes you decide to take on some business or clients that you probably shouldn’t. But … you are just starting out and money is money, right? Not necessarily. I had just started my company and I was networking like crazy. I met someone that would be a great strategic partner and he introduced me to some other people. One of them was also a trainer and a coach and he told me about this conference that he thought would be beneficial for me to attend. So, I went. It was fascinating and while I did enjoy what I learned, I was also positive this wasn’t somewhere that would produce revenue. I know what you’re thinking, you don’t have to create revenue wherever you go but I was just starting out … you get the picture.
Anyway, the person I went to the event with told me there were some training opportunities with this company and invited me to the meeting he was going to, and I gladly attended. I guess I was wrong that there was no revenue. We went and we were both asked if we wanted to do some training for the next 6-12 months with this company. It was a fairly substantial company and the money that was offered was also substantial. The caveat was that the training was on material from this company. The material was their material. We could not add anything about our companies and Selling In A Skirt would have to be put on the back burner for the next 6-12 months. We both said yes, we would be trained, and off we would go.
Sounds amazing right? Well, that’s what I thought until I got in my car and drove out of the parking lot. That’s when it happened … my stomach was letting me know that it was not happy. I first thought it must have been something I ate because it was instantaneous … similar to food poisoning. Nope that wasn’t it. I was going over the scenario that had just occurred and knew I had promised to do something that I truly didn’t want to do and would not help my business or brand at all. I did not feel well at all.
By the time I got home, I was almost doubled over in pain and I knew what I needed to do. I picked up the phone and told the person I had just left that I thought about his very generous offer but for me, the timing just wasn’t right. I asked if I could give him a referral and while he wasn’t entirely happy with me, by the time our conversation was finished, he was fine. When I hung up the phone, I was standing straight up and I took the first real breath I had taken since the conversation started, a few hours prior. I hadn’t listened to my gut, and it reminded me.
Intuition makes sense only after you follow it. The more you exercise this sixth sense that’s available to each of us, the more successful you will become. Intuition helps you avoid catastrophes and helps increase your effectiveness.
How can you use intuition in business? Here are some ideas:
- Intuition will help to fine-tune your vision and mission statement and confirm that you’re on the right path. It can keep you motivated and passionate about what you are doing … and not jumping into a situation that is clearly not the right one for you or your business or company.
- Intuition can be beneficial for the team dynamics- It can help you to find ways to bring your team together and work more effectively. When you feel like something is going on in your business and it is not running as it should, pay attention … your intuition is giving you the warning you need. Time to fine-tune your listening skills … sometimes the things that aren’t being said is also a clue.
- Intuition can give you great insight into who should and shouldn’t be considered for your team. Take the time to get to know the candidates you are bringing in or the resources you are going to outsource work to. Remember the saying “hire slowly and fire quickly.” Don’t ignore your intuition when it comes to people.
When the top business leaders are asked what makes them successful, of course they answer the expected response, “hard work, great team, amazing ideas, passion, long hours”, but they also say they followed their intuition. Something inside them was guiding them and they choose to listen to it.
All successful businesspeople know that without their instincts, they would never be successful. All their business knowledge and savvy would never lead to success … Successful people rely on their intuition just as much as their business brains.
They trust and follow those inner hunches and gut feelings that tell them when to continue a project and when to stop. They know when to take on that interesting client even though no one else wants to. Instinct makes you more aware of those things that are not seen or tangible. It helps you steer out of the way and clears your path. If businesspeople follow their hunch or 6th sense and not let their logical brain be the only thing they listen to, they will be successful, as their creativity will soar, and they will find out just how to stand out in this noisy world. Many times, this intuition is what helps them find what makes them unique.
Your intuition will tell you where you need to go; it will connect you with the people you should meet; it will guide you toward work that is meaningful for you.
Remember always trust your first gut instincts. If you genuinely feel in your heart and soul that something is wrong, it usually is.