Intuition in Business

by Angela O’Connell and Pat Naylor

Becoming aware of your intuition

In order to make more use of your own intuition, you first need to become more aware of how it works for you. We all recognise how frustrating it can be to have that gut feeling and not be able to explain it. The first step is to let go of that frustration, so relax and ask some simple questions.

Trusting someone else’s intuition is often far more difficult than trusting your own. By asking your colleague the same simple questions, you will be able to ascertain whether or not to follow their gut feeling.

Questions to try

The next time you have a gut feeling about something, ask yourself some questions.

  • What happened to trigger your gut feeling?

Perhaps the situation is similar to a past experience? If so, what were the lessons from that past experience and are they relevant to this current situation?

  • Is your gut feeling or emotion pleasant or unpleasant?

Unpleasant feelings and emotions, such as anxiety, are often linked to our instinctive response to a sense of danger, while pleasant feelings and emotions, such as butterflies in the stomach, are often linked to excitement.

  • Is the feeling or emotion holding you back or encouraging you to do something?

Intuition is very often strongly linked to our emotions. For example, if your intuition is telling you to hold back from making a decision, is that the real message? Perhaps the desire to hold back might be because of a fear of making that decision or perhaps because you might be aware that it could hurt someone’s feelings?

  • Now that you recognise the feeling or emotion involved, what is your intuition telling you?

Once you have recognised the feeling or emotion you are experiencing, you can pay attention to your intuition. For example, if you recognise that fear is holding you back, then you can decide whether the fear is genuine. If this is not the case, then you can think more carefully about what is involved in how you make that difficult decision and the consequences.

  • Would it help to sleep on it?

Sometimes it’s best thing to do nothing and let your thoughts and feelings resolve themselves (in other words, allow your unconscious to go on working on the problem) while you are asleep, so that in the morning you will wake knowing what to do next.

  • How low or high is your energy level?

This is a good test as to whether or not to proceed. If you are full of energy, it’s an indication you are ready to move on; if your energy level is low, then perhaps you will need to do some more work.

  • What else do you need to know to confirm your gut feeling?

Sometimes, just recognising that you need to know something else is enough to help you know what to do next!

Key point

Your intuition is very persistent, so if you do not get its message first time around, it will increase the strength of its signal.

For example, you might have a niggle that something is not quite right, but you ignore it. Next, you get a mild gut feeling, and if you ignore that you might well experience being stopped in your tracks!