In the traditional business world, intuition, or intuitive inspiration, has all too often taken a backseat to the “tried and true” methods of meeting goals, even if those methods are neither efficient nor highly effective. Admittedly, it is difficult to take a seat at the corporate meeting table or even the staff lunchroom and introduce a radical new idea for a product or process while stating adamantly, “I just know this will work—I have a hunch!” Such statements would typically be followed by a request for proof, data, statistics, and so forth. Yet intuition simply cannot be judged by logical reasoning.
The art of “self-delusion”
Our intuition can be strongest when we are young and not yet buried under years of education in logic, reasoning, and three dimensional reality. In early childhood we have not yet mastered the art of “self-delusion”—we are more responsive to our gut feelings and first impressions. It’s not surprising, really, that societal and workplace pressures can easily trump the best of intuitive inspirations. Most businesses would not risk their bottom-line on a completely new concept without a lot of research and data to back it up.
True inspiration can hit dizzyingly fast and hard, and the recipient of such an “intuitive hit” is often required to learn an entirely new skill in order to transform intuition into action: trust of one’s self on the deepest level. This is where we often fall short. If we choose not to listen to and trust that voice within ourselves, then our inspirations, inventions, and unprecedented new ideas sit on the conceptual shelf somewhere in the back of our minds, gathering cobwebs. We squirm in our seats at the next staff meeting. We remain silent as weeks, months, and maybe years go by and we always wonder, “what if”.
It’s admittedly a bit scary to be the one who “rocks the boat”. Perhaps you are clocking hours at an entry-level position and your workplace only honors the wisdom of seniority. In other words, your ideas are only valid once you have “put in your time”. Maybe that means you are in the wrong place. Or perhaps, you decide to just plod along until your loyalty over time brings credibility to your voice—and ideas. The lure of security and comfort—familiarity—combined with the desire to “fit in”, has quieted many a magnificent voice.
We can use our fear as a catalyst to light our inspirational fires.
Some of the most successful business persons known were or are “outside the box” thinkers–tinkerers of the conceptual realm—boundary pushers like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. And, regardless of what we may think of her as a mother-figure, Kris Kardashian is a powerful woman with her thumb on the pulse of America. The pop-culture matriarch is constantly thinking up how to market herself, her family, and their television show into a “we don’t care if you love us or hate us—dare you not to look” multi- media empire.
So how do we unleash our deeper wisdom and connection to inspirational intuition in the workplace?
If you cannot reconcile the clear path you may already see—the better way, the quicker solution, the improved product or service—with the goals and philosophy of your boss, your company, or your business or industry, you could consider a few options:
1) Put on your boots and muck through the mire. Stick with it, and make contributions that support what is already acceptable while gradually adding in your own unique twist. Test the waters. Ask questions that make people think. Then ask more. Asking a lot of questions helps others become more aware of their own resistance to change and can help take the discussion in new directions.
2) Advocate for a different “title” or job description within your workplace. Language and labels are often barriers that block others’ abilities to accept any contributions that fall outside the lines. Start your entrepreneurial spirit by creating a new description of what you do—and then go and do it well!
3) Try the entrepreneurial route. If you are bursting at the seams with inspiration and feel that your words and contributions are falling on deaf ears, perhaps it is time to consider creating your own unique niche in the market or industry. The greatest entrepreneurs are willing to take risks without the guarantee of security or reward.
To recharge your connection to your inner wisdom and intuition, make a regular effort to experience change or novelty.
Drive different routes to work. Take a short or extended vacation. Change revives the creative part of the human mind, and nurturing creativity has been shown to strengthen imaginative thought, problem solving and intuition. Spend more time imagining, creating, questioning, meditating and discovering. Learn a new skill. Take a class. Connect with nature. Play with your children’s paints, or redecorate your home or office. Start a dream and inspiration log or journal that you can keep by the bed and write down ideas and concepts that come to you in the middle of the night or details from a dream the night before.
Above all, keep this in mind: experiencing discontent and restlessness in your life and in your workplace can plant the seeds of inspiration and change, and are a wake-up call that something deep inside of you wants to be heard. Now consider, which are you paying more attention to—your fears or your dreams?