Updated: Dec 8, 2021
Five or ten-years ago it would have sounded very strange to have a conversation with businessmen and businesswomen on using intuition in the workplace. Not today! With the help of neuroscience and successful business people like Wendy Muhammad and Denise Shull, author of a great text, Market Mind Games, intuition is becoming recognized as a serious player in decision-making. Today's question centers less around whether or not intuition can make a difference in the workplace, but how.
How intuition works is up for grabs. The books I've read and conversations I've had offer a variety of explanations. I think it is safe to say we don't fully know, and that's ok. Intuition has long been a part of evolving humanity. And although it isn't a religious or spiritual trophy, intuition can be easily spotted in religions and spiritual traditions throughout the world. And my guess is that if you were to go around asking how this thing called intuition works, you'd get different explanations.
Today, we hear about thoughts and emotions and which comes first. There are models that say thought comes first, which, in turn, produces emotions. Neatly packaged, I'm not sure this is necessarily the case. Others, like Denise Shull, preach that emotions precede thoughts. Again, I'm not sure if this is always the case, but as one who works with the unconscious I do think this runs closer to describing intuition than the former model. In any case, we don't know everything about how intuition works. Our simplified methodologies are really more for our convenience, and, boy, do our minds love things simplified.
There does seem to be a mixture of things going on when intuition awakens. In her book, The Mind of the Entrepreneur, Wendy Muhammad shares that she sees intuition as a combination of learned knowledge, experience, and the subconscious. I would emphasize the unconscious that is highly familiar with a process we cannot yet consciously explain. Others speak of the vagus nerve around the stomach. In yoga, we learn about the third eye. Then there is energy called auras. Again, we are not all clear, but we're all onto something.
What is important is that we intuition gives us an advantage in the workplace. Decisions are made everyday, everything from who to hire, what financial move to make, when to close a deal, where to plant the business, and so on. While it is unclear how intuition works, we can rely on a number of ways to access necessary information. We often include the conscious mind, but we shouldn't stop there. We can tap into the unconscious through meditation, hypnosis, and Yoga Nidra. We can awaken the intuition by reflecting on art or symbols. We can even digest an important question right before we fall asleep, as some great minds have done.
As we fiddle with creative ways to trigger the many faces of the intuitive process, we will become familiar with our own intuitive language that can play an important role in our next business call, meeting, or idea.