Gut-Check: Learning How to Trust Your Intuition In
I’ve honed in on this skill of trusting my gut pretty well through my practice of medicine. I’ve learned that when in doubt, always trust my intuition when it comes to making decisions for my patients. All the typical “textbook” signs of a particular medical condition may not be present in a patient I am examining, but when in doubt, I’ve made it a habit of trusting my gut to make important decisions and diagnoses.
When we talk about “Trusting your Gut, we are really talking about trusting your intuition. By definition:
Intuition is the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason. Intuition provides views, understandings, judgements, or beliefs that we cannot, in every case, empirically verify or rationally justify.
Great leaders don’t simply rely on facts to make decisions. While relying on facts may be the most logical for most people, leaders are often times called to make the correct decision even when all the facts don’t line up. For illustration purposes, think about it this way–> FACTS are equivalent to MATH, while INTUITION is equivalent to ART.
❐ Experience is definitely a great way to sharpen your intuition. Experience making important decisions teaches you that everything can’t be explained by looking at situations in black and white or by simply looking at the facts.
❐ Learning to quiet your mind is another method that allows you to listen to what your gut is trying to say. Many times FEAR plays into our decision-making – fear of making the wrong decision, fear of judgement from others, etc. When you learn to quiet your mind and remove fear from the equation, you can begin to trust what feels right to you.
As I’ve mentioned here on the blog before, Leaders don’t always have the right answer and make mistakes just like everyone else. There are times when leaders trust their gut and make great decisions and times when they end up making an unpopular decision. This may cause strife on a team or within an organization because the leader chose to “trust their gut” instead of using logic and sticking with the facts. If this happens, it’s best for the leader to admit the mistake and use the experience to guide their decision-making in the future. It’s important to remember that no leader nor any given team member will make the “best” decision 100% of the time. Removing the fear and trusting one’s gut is a major step along the path of becoming a superb Leader!
Dr. Carmen April is a young entrepreneur and community leader recognized as a 2013 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under Forty Award Recipient and is a 2014 Graduate of the New Leaders Council Institute – Nashville Chapter. Dr. April is available for speaking engagements on Leadership for College Students and Young Professionals.