You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

Steve Jobs


Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

In the webinar program I facilitate called The Impactful Leader, I ask participants to identify their gifts.  The purpose of identifying your gifts is that when you lead from your gifts, this will help shape you into an impactful leader.  For me, I came to realize that based upon compliments I received and what I was noted for during my corporate annual reviews, my major gift is my intuitiveness.  I’ve been able to sense and feel things since I was a little kid.  I can’t say that I always harnessed this gift.  Mainly, thanks to my German upbringing, this gift wasn’t necessarily interpreted as a gift.  Instead it was being:

  • Judgmental.
  • Arrogant.
  • Too Sensitive.
  • Engaged in a too vivid of an Imagination.

This oftentimes resulted in my ignoring and trusting in those senses and feelings I was encountering, such as:

  • Not speaking up about corporate decisions that I knew were wrong, but didn’t have all the facts.
  • Sticking it out in situations that were robbing me of my energy, but thought that I was being “spiritual” by accepting the suffering.
  • Taking on clients that I knew weren’t the ideal fit.

I can’t say that I’m perfect with always trusting my gut instinct and using it as my only corporate decision-making tool.  However, today I make it a priority to allow my decisions and strategies to be guided by my senses while still honoring my overly analytical mind.  This has been reinforced by my being called:  An oracle.  A consigliore (okay – I’m not a member of the mob).  A wise one.  I’ve also been told by clients that I just get them.

How about you?  Do you find yourself in the position of doing things that don’t feel right to you? Or creating all the decision trees you can, but knowing that there’s a better way to come to a decision? Well, there is another way.  It’s called trusting your gut.  And here are three steps for you to help you build your capacity to trust your gut instincts:

  1. Embrace stillness and space.  When you have a gut feeling about a situation, find an opportunity to go somewhere and be totally still.  Take deep, deep breaths and just ask yourself what it is that you need to know from the particular situation.  Don’t take action until you’re clear on the answer.  This might happen immediately or take a few hours or day.  Be patient with the process.
  2. Build your gut muscles.  Start with small decisions and then look at the outcome.  The common example is your drive home from work – listen to whether your gut tells you take an alternative route.  Another small one would be to listen to your body about what nutrients it might need and follow the cravings (not the junk food kind…).   How about when you get an inkling to call someone – just do it.   Or when you have a certain feeling about someone – honor it and keep appropriate boundaries.
  3. Start recording your hunches.  If you keep a journal, start keeping track of the little things that pop up.  Then let things unfold and see how they play out.  You can even make it a fun game.  For every hunch that turned out right – reward yourself with something special that brings you a moment of bliss (for me…that could be as simple as some great dark chocolate) and be grateful for how your instincts are serving you.

All it takes is for you to just start practicing the above on a daily basis.  Make it a game to keep you motivated.  In the beginning, you might encounter some not so on target hunches, but again through practice, it becomes second nature.

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