Use Your Intuition As a Valuable Tool for Change

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Here's a subject that we don't normally think of when we think about change. Yet, intuition can be a very powerful force for change if we honor it fully. So let's take four minutes to look at intuition. First we'll look at what it isn't, then at what it is, then at just how it relates to change in our lives.

Intuition is NOT a mystical power. It's NOT something special, a gift granted only to a select few (mostly women, if we're to believe the folklore). Intuition IS a natural faculty. Every one of us-male or female-was born with the brainpower to be intuitive, to detect the miniscule events, appearances, nuances of tone and of glance that send us unspoken signals that are often quite reliable. What happened to us as we grew up was that we learned how to ignore or dismiss these signals. In order to be used to its fullest potential, intuition has to be seen as a process, a skill that can be developed. Extensive research by Forbes Magazine and The Wall Street Journal has confirmed that most successful people are far above average when it comes to knowing how to recognize, trust and use their intuitive thoughts and feelings. They're able to tune into this information by noticing it, then they incorporate it into their mental decision making processes.

Intuition, then, is a process of broadening your attention to include the impressions that come from your imagination and from your emotions as well as from your intellectual senses.

For you personally, a fully developed intuitional skill will let you gather and process information you might otherwise miss?material that can be valuable as you plan and execute changes in your life. Here's how you can improve your intuitional "hit ratio."

First, before you act on something you're thinking about or planning, ask some questions, then mentally listen for the answers that come from inside yourself. It's a good idea to write down these thoughts and feelings as they come up.

For example, you're in a business situation that requires a "rubber meets the road" decision that could mean thousands of dollars of profit - or loss - to your company. Instead of blurting out the first answer that occurs to you, ask yourself questions like:

? "What long-term effects could this decision have?"

? "How does this decision impact others in my life/company?"

? "How would it alter our relative (relationship) positions ? customers, vendors, competitors, etc.?"

Then stop and think about the impressions that come to mind. Concentrate on images, single words, feelings, even personal memories that might be conjured up by the questions.

As already noted, either write down or tape these impressions. And, by the way, don't edit. Put it all down or talk it all out. Then think about these impressions for a while. It's a little bit like dream interpretation...sometimes things aren't absolutely clear, but when you string together all the impressions and sort them out like a puzzle, a pattern usually emerges, and that pattern is your intuitive response to the situation.

Once you've rounded up all the "indirect" answers and applied your intellect to your feelings, put it all in balance with a mental verification. Don't just act on your intuitive hunches. Align them with the practical realities of life. What you'll have, in the aggregate, is a fully integrated decision making matrix, which will help you be very comfortable with whatever decision you make. Laura Day, author of a book titled Practical Intuition for Success, makes a very good point when she writes in Bottom Line Personal that "...intuition can help you uncover - and even anticipate - what others want and value.

The key to this is addressing these needs as you own so that you can use all of your senses and abilities to perceive the information you need." She calls this process the "I Mode" because it involves

? Intuition

? Integrity and

? Identifying with the Other.

When dealing with someone else, put yourself in their shoes as you listen to what they're saying. Playing the role of that 'Other Person,' ask questions like:

? What do I want -- and have -- to offer?

? What do I need?

? What difficulties do I face now?

? Where are my opportunities?

? Who are my best resources?

? What's missing?

? What makes me say "Yes?"

? ?and so forth.

What you'll get from this is a sense-based, intuitive insight into the other person's processes. It'll truly surprise you. The significance of this is, of course, that the better you know others, the more enlightened you'll be about how you relate to them and what needs to be changed to improve that relationship.

Next, why not take this intuitive process back into yourself? Laura Day suggests a couple of exercises, and I'd like to outline them for you and to recommend them as great ways to uncover intuitive impressions about yourself - insights that can help you in your change process.

Starting with the notion that you are unique and have a lot to offer to the world, begin to look inside yourself for this "real purpose" or "right work" -- the Yogis of India call it "dharma." A great way to do this is to take the questions we just reviewed and related to others and ask them as yourself.

A wonderful, yet easy, way to build an intuitive map for yourself is to track your interests for a little while - a couple of weeks or up to a month. Every day jot down what you're doing and how you feel about it. Focus on whatever stimulates you. Clip articles and pictures out of newspapers and magazines and keep everything in an envelope that you carry with you. At the end of the allotted time, empty out your envelope, spread out your journal pages, and then start interpreting these materials, fitting things together as in a puzzle until the information falls together - which it will - to produce a picture of your goal. And isn't this the point of self-examination, after all?

Good luck on your intuitive journey.

Copyright 2002, 2005 Optimum Performance Associates/Paul McNeese.

Paul McNeese is CEO of Optimum Performance Associates, a consulting firm specializing in transitional and transformational change for individuals and institutions through publication. His publishing company, OPA Publishing, is an advocacy for self-publishing authors of informational, instructional, inspirational and insightful nonfiction.

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