Business Strategy

Learn To Trust Your Gut Reactions

gut reaction

Do you trust your gut reactions when it comes to making decisions?

You may call it intuition, gut reaction, hunch, imagination or sixth sense. Whatever, until you are ready to depend on that “quick and ready insight” (Webster’s definition) that empowers you to make decisions based on “just knowing” beyond hard facts and figures, you will not function at full speed on your career path.

About 80 percent of CEOs use intuition in their decisions, according to a study at McGill University.

Albert Einstein believed that his theory of relativity was the result of a flash of insight, not his study of the objective, data-oriented research in his laboratory. “The really valuable factor was intuition,” he declared.

Dr. Jonas Salk, the creator of anti-polio vaccine, said, “It is always with excitement that I wake up in the morning wondering what my intuition will toss up to me, like gifts from the sea. I work with it and rely upon it. It’s my partner.”

How Decisions Are Made

Brains are made up of two hemispheres. The left side is the part where logical, sequential, rational and verbal processes take place. The right side is the place where imaginative, artistic and creative activities are conducted. The best decisions are made when both sides are hitting on all cylinders.

It’s far simpler and more comfortable to understand and rely on the process of gathering facts. But facts can take us only so far in the total process. If we are to make good, solid decisions that build career success we also have to rely on intuition. It is there that the facts we have gathered are rolled around in our mind, bounced off our sub-conscious storehouse of all we have experienced, felt and known (aka our universal information matrix).

Then if we are cooking on all cylinders the mysterious intuition factor comes in a flash. Eureka! We see the decision. (Often, the first idea will turn out to be the best.) At that point, the logical side of our brain comes back into play to measure the soundness of our finding.

Four Career Tips

There are four steps involved in intuition-based decision making:

  1. Gather facts.
  2. Let them stew or incubate in our intuition tank.
  3. Feel the Eureka insight of a decision.
  4. Verify the decision.

The kind of good decision-making that translates to career success requires discipline, faith and courage.

Fact gathering must come to an end at some point. Else, we would grind to a halt…paralysis by analysis. Discipline is required because going back time and time again for more data is a cozy way to put off decisions and action.

We have to have faith that our intuitive powers are real and powerful. We often have to go against the tide and withstand the ridicule of our associates. The left sphere of our brain, the seat of logic, may try to persuade us to deny our intuition. Logic always has the potential to smother intuition.

Know at the bottom line that the power of intuition separates winners from also-rans on the career path.

About the Author

For more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times, participate in Ramon Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog. His new e-book, How To Get The Pay Raise You’ve Earned, is available from Amazon.