When I was a little girl, aged 9, I started to ride ponies and horses, I was a quiet kid and didn’t really speak to people that much. How things have changed! Most people who know me through my work now will recognise my confidence has rather improved.
I realised really quickly that I had an intriguing ability – I could be still and quiet and in that stillness I was able connect with the horses and understand them. And I realised it was a natural feeling that came from my gut. This was the start of me realising that you can trust your inner knowing. That there’s something inside you, that is going to guide you right.
What is intuition?
A good definition of intuition is “the direct perception of truth or facts, independent of any reasoning process; it is an immediate apprehension or a keen and quick insight into something.”¹
And it’s a skill that I learned over all my years of riding horses and as a semi-professional athlete. The times when I didn’t trust myself weren’t times why ended up struggling with a particular horse or getting injured.
But does intuition have a place in modern business?
I absolutely believe that intuition is an important business skill. In business, it is perhaps part natural instinct and part learned over years of experiences you can draw upon quickly.
Ivan Misner mentions this thought,
“I noticed that as I acquired more experience in my field, I found myself better at assessing issues quickly and having a ‘gut feeling’ about the direction I should go. What I had presumed was instinct was — at least in part — quickly assessing the situation given my amassed knowledge of a particular subject. What some people think of as ‘instinct’ might in fact be this amassed knowledge applied rapidly.” ¹
Martin Zwilling supports opinion of this combination of instinct and knowledge,
“With all the progress in analytical tools and big data available, many people feel there is no place in business today for intuition and gut instincts. As an advisor to entrepreneurs for many years, I strongly disagree, and still see the value of at least combining intuition with logical analysis, as we face customers and markets driven by relationships, emotions, and unpredictable social trends.”²
In business anytime that I’ve gone against my intuition and gone into a situation that didn’t feel right it’s not turned out well.
This can be as simple as those situations where you’re pitching for some work and you think ‘actually, I don’t believe this is the right job for me’ You can learn to step back and say, ‘I think it might be better that you work with someone else on this, this isn’t right for me. We’re not the correct combination’. I definitely think this is a case of that mix of gut instinct and amassed knowledge.
Relax into it
So how can we know that our instinct is being truthful. My tip is you have to be in a state of relaxation to know for sure – remember the image of me sitting quietly with the horses when I was a child. You need to calm your mind from that inner critic, that inner talk that goes on. As that can mask the instinct you need and that knowledge you have. Everyone has their own relaxation techniques. I tend to get outside and go for a walk. Changing your location and letting your mind drift onto other matters for a while. Let the solution float to you rather than push for it.