How Intuition Fits in the Corporate World
Hearing someone described as “intuitive” often conjures up images of psychics, mediums, or the like. Because of this, having intuition in the corporate world may seem odd, but the basic idea behind it is not as “out there” as you might be led to believe.
I’ve considered myself an intuitive for as long as I’ve known what the word meant. Speaking of, the word simply means instinctive – no voodoo about it. Throughout my career in the corporate world as an independent consultant, I’ve found my intuition to be incredibly helpful and natural when it comes to how it integrates into my work.
You may be skeptical or curious to learn more, so I’d like to share a few examples of how my intuition fits in the corporate world and served me well. Maybe there’s something here that rings true for you to apply in your world, in your work.
Working as an independent consultant, I often find myself in a place of neutrality within a company. I’m an outside mind brought in to observe bits and pieces of the whole and offer suggestions/lead initiatives to make things better (in a nutshell.) Because of this, people within the company often open up to me and share things they may not tell their colleagues. This helps my intuition to root itself as I gain a more holistic view of each employee I work with.
Having this insight inform my intuition allows me to appreciate and empathize with why someone may feel so attached to an idea/project/success/opinion. When I can step into someone else’s shoes and see a problem from their point of view, I can more effectively offer a solution that all parties involved are happy with or, at least, willing to commit to as they feel heard.
It also helps to identify when to stop pushing on certain topics. If I sense people clamming up or avoiding eye contact when we’re discussing something, I pivot in the moment and make sure to come back to it from a different angle when I have more insight or in a different setting where they might be more willing to dive in.
My intuition often manifests itself as an almost tangible feeling rather than simply an idea or thought. Sometimes I’m in situations where this feeling is so strong, I can’t help but to verbalize it. I can recall many meetings where ideas and energies were clashing, and we found ourselves hitting roadblocks down every path. This began to cause a feeling a heaviness to come over my body and the room, leading me to say “this topic/discussion feels unnecessarily heavy right now. What if we revisit when we have fresh eyes and a clear mind?” This is often followed by an awkward, yet magical moment where time seemingly stands still for a couple of seconds while the room neutralizes enough for someone to “come up for air” and say “yes, great call. Let’s come back to this topic perhaps in a new setting or with new perspectives.”
Other times, I come into a conference room and can feel the aftermath of the last meeting hanging over me – the tightness and twisted ideas/opinions – the tension. I’ve also come entered some meeting rooms that felt sterile, empty, and desolate – completely void of creativity or progress. In any case, I clear out all the old energy and make room for new, fresh, and healthy energy through HUGE breaths that I exhale into the room. These breaths are soulful, deeply rooted, and feel like a gusty wind from Mother Nature that clears the room, breathing new life and light.
In a one-to-one or few-to-one setting, I often find that I drift from being IN the conversation to OUTSIDE the conversation, observing the room, the people, the feeling, or even the intention. I find that when I “come back” to the conversation, I say things/ask questions fueled by intuition that seemingly come out of nowhere. This almost always leads to a short moment of stillness and then barriers appear to melt away followed by a mystical sigh of relief. The walls are replaced by a safe and intimate space wherein we have real, human-to-human, friend-to-friend meaningful conversations.
For example, in a conversation with a new member of a team I was working with, I listened to her concerns and frustrations with the work at hand. She clearly had very high expectations of herself and, while drifting between being IN the conversation and OUTSIDE the conversation – I also sensed she was afraid to fail and wanted to feel accepted. I felt this so strongly that it was as if this fear was a part of her core. Perhaps so deeply rooted that it was tangled with who she felt she was. I paused and said, “You matter. You have all the info you need to be successful and to get back up when you fall or make a mistake.” Time froze. She stared at me as if I could see her soul. I smiled. She smiled. Days later, she seemed to stand a bit taller, seemingly calmer and more at ease. She came into discussions with an opinion and found her voice. It was remarkable.
This is not a “superpower” I have that sets me apart from everyone else. It’s something every single one of us has but might not be tuned in to. The ways my intuition manifests itself may not be the same as yours. However, I invite you to simply try to focus a little more intently on the conversations you have with the people in your life – both professionally and personally. Before you make snap judgments, assumptions, or accept something just as “the way it is”, take a step back and ask yourself “why?”. “Why is this person responding to me in this way?”. “Why does this coworker constantly shoot down other’s ideas?”. Then pause and listen to what your intuition tells you. Trust that your inner knowing is so wise and so peaceful – and then respond. Reflect. Repeat. Befriend your intuition, my friend.
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