Three Ways to Turn Your Intuition Into a Superpower
Episode #6 of the course Ten essential traits for today’s leaders by Frank McKinley
Welcome to Lesson Six!
Last time we learned how your sense of humor can make you a better leader and help you live longer, too! Today we’ll learn how to develop your intuition.
Have you ever had a gut feeling about something or someone? Chances are that feeling was so strong no amount of proof to the contrary could change your mind.
Some call that stubbornness. When you’re right, as gut feelings often are, it’s intuition.
What Does Intuition Mean?
Intuition isn’t some magical power you’re born with. It’s something you develop as you age, experience, and learn new things. You’re just not aware that you’re doing it. That’s why it seems magical.
If you ever watched a magician, it’s amazing to watch him do his tricks. But lift the curtain to see how he does it, and the magic is gone. Intuition is a lot like that.
Today we’ll lift the curtain and see how intuition works so you can develop yours.
How We Develop Intuition
One of the best non-metaphysical definitions I discovered was this:
Intuition is based on instincts gathered through past experience.
We’re always gathering information through our senses. That gets stored in our subconscious and stays there forever. So be careful what you observe!
Our experience puts us in touch with our feelings—and it’s our feelings that make experiences memorable or forgettable. Listen when your feelings send you messages. It’s not anything mystical. Your brain is connecting the dots for you. That’s what is behind intuition’s curtain. Now that you know, let’s strengthen yours!
Take Time to Observe
I sometimes take what I call an Observation Walk. I don’t always go in with an agenda. If I have one, it’s simple:
• Walk on a trail and look for plants that aren’t green.
• Observe how the water reflects light as it moves.
• Count how many signs you see on a city street.
Pick your own simple thing to look for. Or let your mind lead you wherever it will. Your job is to notice what’s going on around you. So slow down, fill your senses, and leave your smartphone at home.
Look for Patterns
I can usually predict with about 90% accuracy what time my crew will be done with their work every day. Here’s what I look for: how fast everyone moves, how much time they waste, what problems slow us down, what motivates us to beat the clock, what factors influence teamwork and which ones hinder it.
Everything has a pattern that drives it. Do you know yours?
Start with something simple like your morning routine. What do you do before breakfast? How long does it take? What do you struggle to get done? What could you do to make things run smoother? What might you stop doing that will speed things up?
Watch your own patterns. Then ask questions. Answer them and you’ll build an experience that will help your gut feelings be amazingly accurate.
Spend Time Alone to Think
What I do is write. I set a prompt to think about. I give myself 10 or 15 minutes. I pour out words on paper without stopping until I run out of time.
When I do this, I bypass my critical thinking filter. I get my thoughts out where I can see and analyze them. Then I can run them through the cycles I’ve observed and find what works—and what doesn’t. You can also do this into a voice recorder.
Do this daily and your intuition will grow faster than you ever imagined it could.
Now Do This
• Find a time when you won’t be interrupted for 15 or 20 minutes.
• Pick one challenge you faced today and think about it.
• Recall what you saw and what happened.
• Ask yourself whatever question comes to mind.
• Record your answers and analyze them.
• Use at least one insight you gained as you observe your life tomorrow.
Do this every day and your intuition will serve you aha moments when you need them most.
In our next lesson, we’ll look at how to control the hardest person on your team—yourself. See you then!
Practical Intuition: How to Harness the Power of Your Instinct and Make It Work for You by Laura Day
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