By Michael Gunther
Intuition is that “gut feeling” we all experience at one point or another. However, hearing it and listening to it can be a scary prospect. While on a recent trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I was reminded of the importance of intuition and its impact on collaborative decision-making and leadership.
The tricky thing about listening to your intuition is that you must be willing to take risks without all the facts or the perfect plan. I met a bartender named Molly who worked at a restaurant in the city of Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. Molly used to live in Boise, Idaho until a friend connected with her through social media and invited her to move to Hilo.
Something told Molly that she had to take this chance. She felt this risk was scary, yet she ran with her intuition and ended up living on the islands a few weeks later. Fast forward three years: Molly is engaged, moving back to the mainland and felt this risk changed her life. During her time in Hilo, she left the party lifestyle behind, got into fitness and is becoming a trainer. She wondered aloud how her life would have unfolded if she didn’t take this risk, which many people questioned, and she believes it was a smart choice. She had no plan and limited facts, but she made a decision based on a “gut” feeling.
As leaders, it is critical to listen to this intuition that if often ignored by many people. In my own leadership journey, I experienced times when I wished I listened to my intuition. I have had gut feelings that something wasn’t right about people I hired, projects I embarked on and partnerships I entered into. Sure enough, as challenges arose, I was able to think back to the exact conversation in which my intuition told me to avoid that opportunity. I just wasn’t paying attention or honoring my intuition. Sometimes you just have to be willing to take the risk of venturing into the unknown.
I actually think our intuition comes from our collective journey thus far in life. When we are presented with a situation, our mind and body are sending signals that elicit either a positive or negative reaction. It may happen quickly, so the decision may seem rash or unreasonable to others, and we may find it difficult to explain our rationale for choosing a certain direction.
Paying attention to your intuition is a skill that every leader can develop, understand and utilize to enhance their risk-taking and decision-making abilities. Since I developed this awareness and learned to trust what my mind and body are saying, I have seen new levels of growth in my business and personal life while avoiding potentially negative relationships or situations.
Listening to your intuition is a learned skill. I am sure you can reflect back on situations where you took a leap of faith, or not. The more you understand and capitalize on your intuition, the greater results you will see in your personal and professional life. Trust yourself.