Do you struggle when it comes to making hard decisions in your life?
Bill Gates once said, “Often you must rely on intuition.” I can understand why Gates said this. If you’re trying to make a hard decision too much information can paralyze your ability to make it. When there’s a mountain of never-ending data pouring in that can change quickly using your intuition to make the final call makes perfect sense. At some point you have to decide “to decide” and stop asking for more and more information, stop analyzing and stop reviewing the bottom line. You’ve got to pull the trigger and say, “Go!” And that’s exactly what a good decision-maker will do.
The elegance of intuition
Intuition is like a shortcut through the mountain so you don’t have to go all the way around it. And this is the elegance of intuition. By definition it’s defined as a grasping of the whole at once. When you have reached the point where more data and analysis confuses you that is the time to tap into your intuition and let it “sift” through all that data and spit out the answer. Often you already “know” what the right thing to do is but you ignore it and keep looking for more validation via information instead.
Becoming a great decision maker
A great decision maker will use reason and logic to consider all the information plus their sense of “inner knowing.” When their “inner knowing” concurs the decision will be made. An insecure decision maker will keep asking for more information because they never get that concurring sense of “inner knowing” or if they do, they don’t trust it. Their drive for more information and certainty will cause them to put off the decision and miss opportunities.
Greatness is having that inner knowing, trusting it, making a decision based upon it and then taking action on it without hesitating. This doesn’t mean that a great decision maker will never fail at one time or another but in general making decisions and taking action more often ensures you will make greater strides in your life toward achieving your goals. The ability to make decisions despite uncertainty is what separates the good from the great.
Stop chasing certainty
Nothing in life is 100 percent certain. Life is risky and anything can go wrong. The more comfortable you become with taking risks despite the uncertainty you feel the greater strides you’ll make and the more successful you’ll be. And the more you learn to tap into your intuition the better decision maker you’ll become.
“Intuition becomes increasingly valuable in the new information society precisely because there is so much data.” —John Naisbitt
Intuition is a sense that’s available to us, in addition to the five physical senses we normally use to navigate our lives. We can pump-up our intuition and learn to rely on it more if we choose to. We can listen to our heart, follow our excitement, heed our gut and be pulled by our passion. It just takes an intention to do so, focus and consistent practice; consistent practice being the key point. You can’t try to tune into your intuition one time and think, “It didn’t work for me,” just like you can’t lift a weight once at the gym and say that didn’t work to make you a buff god or goddess either.
The pesky little problem with intuition and decision making…
That said, there’s a problem I see with attuning to your intuition. The problem is that intuition is based on “feelings and trust.” Intuition calls for tuning into feelings of “inner knowing,” or “certainty.” Most people are so distracted that they have difficulty tuning into their “feelings” let alone trusting them! This is a definite problem when it comes to intuitive decision making.
And I know this because the top question I’ve received from readers over the seven years since I started Powered by Intuition has been, “How can I trust my intuition and know it’s not just wishful thinking?” Sometimes it’s pretty tricky to know the difference and you will make a wrong decision because of it. If you can discipline yourself to “go within” on a daily basis you can overcome the distractions and tune into your feelings more directly but the problem of feeling uncertain and not feeling confident enough to trust your intuition may still derail you. And then, there’s the lingering problem of attachment to the outcome. Many times the inaccuracy with your intuition comes from your attachment to the outcome. When you’re fixated on a particular outcome you can easily be misled.
Detachment is key
Intuition is much more accurate when you’re detached from the results. But that leads us to the next problem which is how to be detached from the results of your decisions? It’s much easier said than done especially when there’s a lot riding on the decision. If your decision is a life or death decision or can bankrupt you if you choose incorrectly you’re going to have a difficult time staying detached.
How to reconcile the dilemma of intuition and uncertainty in decision-making
The way to reconcile this dilemma is to verify your intuitive feelings, instincts and hunches with a process that ensures detachment from the outcome and validates the correct decision.
3 Step Verification Process to be certain your decisions are correct:
- Research the data about the problem you want to solve and review it. Do the research and analyze it and come to a decision. If you’re having trouble feeling certain about your decision choose the best logical option and move forward. The longer you delay making a decision the more chance you have of being “late to the party” and missing the window of opportunity. You’ve got to build your decision making muscle!
- Formulate your conclusion. Next, hand it off to your intuition to see if you get the “go” signal. You may feel the matter is “settled” or a have a calm certainty about it. If you still feel unsure and have the urge to ask other people for their opinion or constantly change your mind and vacillate between one decision or another the next step is a must for you.
- The last step is to use an intuitive verification process. The entire problem of not feeling sure of your intuitive feelings or whether you’re making the decision based on wishful thinking can be overcome with this process because the process itself ensures objectivity and detachment.
What is Intuitive Verification™?
Intuitive Verification™ is a process using the language of archetypes and symbolism to verify or disqualify the decision you’ve chosen before taking action upon it.
There is no better way to feel certain about a decision than to use the intuitive verification process because “seeing is believing.” This process works for any decision but it’s particularly well suited to major life decisions where there is a lot at stake. It’s best used for thoughtful decisions that are being made for the long term so, for this reason it’s a natural fit for entrepreneurs, business-owners and executives who need answers.
I’ve been using this process and it works extremely well to give you concrete answers that you can rely upon without second guessing yourself. With the practice of Intuitive Verification™ you’ll become more intuitive and a better decision-maker and it will also enhance your creativity and problem-solving skills.
Interested in learning more about the Intuitive Verification™ process?
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Your life is the result of your previous choices and decisions. Poor choices lead to bad decisions, which result in the mistakes we look back on and regret. The way to avoid making mistakes is to become a better decision maker.
But, how do you learn to apply proper decision making using both reason and intuition to your own life, to the little decisions and big decisions that ultimately shape your life? I was never taught this and the first half of my life was fraught with mistakes. Through trial and error and study I have learned how to handle challenging decisions. And, you can too.
The anatomy of a difficult decision
Say, you’re offered a job and it sounds great but, there’s a tiny niggling of doubt that holds you back from saying yes. You’re under pressure to give your decision – what do you do? Or perhaps you’re in a quandary over choosing the right life partner, business partner or whether to sell your home and move across country? How do you make these difficult decisions that affect the rest of your life?
Whatever the decision, there is a way to cut the stress, decipher the doubt and unearth the decision that is right for you using both reason and intuition in this intuitive decision making model.
You won’t make a proper decision unless you examine what makes you tick. Each of us is different and has a unique set of values and needs that our decisions must satisfy.
What are your values?
What’s important to you? What do you need to be happy? Is financial security the most important thing to you? Is climbing the corporate ladder and increasing your status an important factor in your overall happiness? Are you motivated by fame and celebrity? Or, is it love and emotional intimacy? Do you need freedom and the call of adventure to be happy? Maybe spiritual growth tops your list?
What vision for your life do you aspire to?
Each of us has a “vision” for our lives. My vision is to write, publish and teach people how to “speak intuition” so that they make the right decisions and live up to their full potential. Anything I do has to work toward upholding this overarching vision for my life.
What’s your vision? Craft one sentence that encompasses your life’s vision.
Understanding your values and vision puts your decisions in context within this framework so, don’t skip this step. Your values and vision drive your decision-making and the trajectory your life takes. They should be the structure on which your life is built – in the same way that the skeleton is the framework to the body.
Follow these steps to come to a proper decision using reason & intuition:
1. Review whether the choice aligns with your values. Does it uphold them? If yes, fine. If not, go over your values. Did you choose the right values to begin with or are you making the wrong choice for the wrong reasons?
2. Ask yourself if this choice advances you in the direction of your vision? Or, does it take you away from it? If yes fine. If not, then why are you do it? Think hard about this.
3. Review the facts. What do you know? What don’t you know? Whom do you know with experience in this area? Can you speak to them about their experience? Would researching this issue reveal useful information that would help you to make a choice? Do your research.
4. Make a Pros and Cons list regarding this choice. Which is most convincing the pros or the cons list?
Decide if these four steps are enough to make the decision. If you feel completely confident and free of doubt go ahead and make your decision If not, go to the next steps where you will tap into your intuition.
5. “Live” both options. Imagine for a moment that you could fast forward to the future and review the outcome of your decision between two choices or, to either follow through with a particular decision or not.
Close your eyes and imagine that you see before you two doors; one has a sign with a large number “one” on it and the other a number “two” on it. Assign a choice to each door. Walk through door number one and imagine that you had taken that road.
Go through the entire sequence of events in your mind from start to finish. You chose this path, and then what? And, what comes after that and after that? And, how does it end up? What does your life look like after you’ve chosen “door number one.”
Do the same with the second door. Step through the door and “live” out that decision in your imagination to it’s conclusion.
Which outcome affects your life most positively? Which outcome stands out most to you and “feels” right?
Still not sure about your decision? Go to Step 5.
5. Detach emotionally from the decision. Look from outside your own perspective. Ask yourself this, “If this weren’t my decision but, a close friend’s what would I tell them to do? How would I advise them? Does it benefit them? How?”
Have a convincing imaginary conversation with your friend and clearly explain why or why they shouldn’t make this decision.
Can you make a decision now? No? Proceed to the next step.
6. Check directly with your gut instinct – emotional intelligence – intuition.
Review the advice you gave your “friend” and all the reasons for making or not making this choice.
Close your eyes and take five deep breaths through the nose and release through the mouth to clear your mind.
Ask yourself how you “feel” about this decision? Do not ask yourself if you are making the right decision.
What is the first thought, feeling, image or emotion that comes to your awareness?
Focus upon it. Ask “it” why it has surfaced at this time? What is the first response that comes to mind after this question? This response is the “truth” of how you feel regardless of all the facts, lists and pros and cons.
Does this process reveal that your feelings about the decision are congruent to the decision you made by using reason and data? If your feelings correspond with the decision you made previously then great – you’ve done it! You’ve made a proper decision using logic and reason followed up by your gut instinct – emotional intelligence – intuition.
If you there is discord between the two then, you need to investigate the feeling that is at odds with your logical decision further. Go to the next step.
7. Delve deeper within.
Place your palms on your abdomen in the area of your solar plexus. The reason for placing your hands on your solar plexus is to remind you to connect with the intelligence of your body. Your body gives signals via feelings that communicate vital information to you. Most of you are too busy to notice them. This is why you need to slow down and go within in order to decode this important information.
Close your eyes and relax by taking five more deep breaths in through the nose and releasing them through the mouth.
Now visualize the outcome of the first decision and then the second just as you did when you stepped through each door. This time you are going to focus on what physical sensations, feelings or emotions come up regarding each of the outcomes.
Pay attention to your breathing, is it constricted with either choice? Does your chest feel tight when you go to take a breath? Become aware of your neck and shoulders, do either of the decisions make you tense up in those areas of your body? Notice your abdomen and the area around your solar plexus, is there a “knot” in your stomach or butterflies? Do you feel nervous, anxious, are your palms sweating, does your heart speed up or is there a lump in your throat?
If you notice any discomfort regarding one choice over the other, your body is telling you that this is not the right choice.
Do you have your answer now? Not yet? Go to step eight.
8. Make sure you thoroughly understand your motivation and what you’re getting into.
If you’ve come through the process this far without an answer it’s time to step away and put it on a shelf for a while. Don’t rush and never allow pressure from outside sources to influence you into making a decision before you are ready. Tell yourself that you want more clarity on this issue and that you expect to get it in X number of days (give yourself a time period).
Don’t make a decision and don’t think about it after that, live your life and focus on other things. Just because you’re not consciously thinking about this decision doesn’t mean it isn’t “percolating” in your subconscious. You may have a dream during this period or an insight will surface that clarifies the issue. You may come to the conclusion that this decision is unnecessary and drop the whole thing.
Have you ever found yourself struggling to make an important decision? What was the situation you were grappling with? What techniques did you use to help you make the decision?
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Intuition Blocks: When you are trying to make a decision and hear yourself use the words “But, Well and If” beware that you may be blocking your intuition – just when you need it most!
I had a call from an old friend and colleague who’s the hiring manager for her division. While we were catching up she mentioned that she was having trouble deciding whether to hire someone.
She knew the woman from industry events and bumped into her at a restaurant recently and they got to talking. The woman said she was a superstar at her company but that she wasn’t happy there and was looking to make a change.
All that glitters is not gold
My former colleague asked her if she’d be interested in meeting to discuss the possibility of a move and she said yes.
They set up their meeting for a week from that day.
When that day arrived the woman cancelled a half our before the scheduled time. She had some fires to put out at work that day and had to cancel so they rescheduled for the following week.
When that day arrived she cancelled the meeting again this time two hours before citing that new problems arose that prevented her from making the meeting.
When the day for the third meeting came she cancelled again. She had some sudden personal problems to take care of this time but she rescheduled for a week later.
Don’t get steamrolled more than once
The day of the fourth scheduled meeting she didn’t cancel but arrived nearly an hour late. Her son was sick and she had to take him to the doctor so she wasn’t able to get there on time.
At the meeting she took phone calls and made my friend sit there and wait.
She spoke about herself and her needs for nearly 60 minutes without ever asking a question about the job or company my friend represented.
When she finally did ask a question she was interested in finding out if they would give her a personal assistant, customize several company wide systems to suit her needs and how much they would cover of her monthly expenses.
After my friend gave me the back story I asked her what the problem was?
To me it was clear that she should RUN not walk away from this prospective employee.
Desperation is not the mother of invention
My friend and former colleague was stuck on the fact that this woman was a superstar producer. She was desperate to hire someone like that to increase the bottom line of her department.
Her reply when I told her that she shouldn’t hire this woman was, “But if she does the kind of production she says she does she would be an asset to my group.”
“You don’t see a problem with her behavior and how many times she cancelled?” I asked.
“Well, if she does those kind of numbers every month it would make up for it.”
“Are you sure you’re not making excuses for her?
“Well……,” her voice trailed off.
“Okay,” I said, “Tell me what does your gut say? Give me one short sentence.”
Your gut knows
There was silence for a few moments and then I heard a long sigh, “I don’t think she would work out,” she said finally.
“I think you have your answer, don’t you?”
“Mmm, well she said she’ll show me her 1040 for last year to prove she did the kind of numbers she said she did.”
Obviously my friend was still contemplating hiring her anyway.
“Okay, good luck with this. I hope she works out for you.”
She hung up hastily after that.
You see she knew that she was going against her intuition and wanted to ignore it.
Whenever you start using qualifiers such as Well, But and If when trying to decide on something you’re making excuses and not listening to your intuition.
Have you ever experienced this? Did you go against your intuition? What happened? Share with us in the comments.
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P.S. Hone your intuition and make the right decision for your life every time: Click here.
Are you a “sensitive” person? Do your fears undermine your confidence, create indecisiveness and lead to inaction?
Not sure if you’re a sensitive or not? There are a number of definitions of a sensitive. Here’s mine from my own experience:
The sensitive person is a highly perceptive person. They are acutely aware of the subtle nuances in their environment and the atmosphere around them. They are all too aware of the feelings of others. Sensitives pick up on cues that many people overlook such as the subtle changes in tone, facial expression and emotions of the people they are with and gain insight and meaning from these subtleties. They empathize deeply with others and not only understand but experience what others are feeling. In other words, they are extremely intuitive.
Being a sensitive person has its pros and cons.
On the pro side I believe that perceiving so many more layers to reality than meets the physical eye contributes to creativity and imagination. It’s also extremely useful when sizing up a person or situation. You gain insight quickly due to this extended sense of awareness.
One of the major cons I have found from my own life experience is that having a sense that isn’t often shared by others has made me feel odd and misunderstood at times especially, by my family.
When I was a child I was deathly afraid of the dark and for good reason. I saw and heard things that frightened me that my parents assured me were not there. No matter how hard I tried to convince them that what I saw was real they attributed it to shadows in the dark and insisted it was just my imagination.
Even if you didn’t perceive other realms of existence but grew up highly sensitive and quite open to sensing the emotions of the people around you that too might have made you feel odd and misunderstood for claiming to know things that you, according to other people, couldn’t possibly know. For example you might have sensed that the neighbor across the street was someone to be avoided. You “knew” he was ill intentioned even if, thankfully, nothing ever happened to prove you right.
The thing is that when you are a sensitive and picking up on things that others do not perceive, unless your perceptions are supported, you grow up convinced that you cannot and should not trust your own senses. This erodes your confidence in being able to trust yourself to make decisions. After all, everybody says that what you perceive isn’t real so you must be crazy or odd, right? That is what happened in my case and what I refer to as “sensitive person’s syndrome.”
If you were continually told that you were being “too sensitive” all the time or that it was “all in your imagination” by the authority figures in your life you might have decided that it was wrong to trust your instincts. And, of course by instincts I mean intuition. This would have set you up for lifetime of feeling fearful, indecisive and and or resorting to inaction when faced with having to make an important decision.
“Sensitive persons syndrome” could also translate to a fear of authority, a fear of being in a position of authority (for fear of being wrong) and a fear of taking responsibility for yourself and your decisions. The fear of making a decision or taking responsibility undermines confidence. The result is a constant second guessing your decision and changing your mind from one minute to the next, followed by doing nothing because you are so fearful of being wrong.
There is a way out of this syndrome though so read on.
Here’s a guide for the sensitive person on how to overcome fear, indecision and inaction once and for all:
1. Believe in yourself. The first step is to begin to believe in what you perceive – even if others do not. You are not crazy nor do you have an “over-active” imagination. There is so much more to reality than most people perceive. You just happen to have a more expansive experience of the world around you than most.
2. Stop trying to fit in with the crowd. The more you try to act as if you are what other people might call “normal” the more extreme your “sensitive person’s syndrome” will become. You learned at an early age it wasn’t safe for you to share your perceptions/intuitiveness with others. Your friends or family mocked or shamed you so you learned to protect yourself by hiding your sensitivity. Try to limit the time you spend around such people as much as possible.
3. Find like-minded people to hang out with. It is so important to be around other “sensitives.” For the most part I believe that “sensitives” are “intuitives.” Join a community, club, or meet up of other sensitives/intuitives where you can experience truly being yourself without any fear. For example, the Powered by Intuition comments section and FB page is a safe haven for intuitives to interact with one another.
4. Embrace your sensitivity. Your greatest attribute is your sensitive soul so show it some TLC. Be thankful for your heightened sense of awareness and the information it supplies about your environment. The more you accept this part of yourself the more comfortable you will be in your own skin and the easier it will become to make decisions. The indecisiveness from second guessing yourself will lessen. And so will the resulting inaction. It’s the pushing away of this sensitivity that has made making decisions a nightmare for you.
5. Develop your intuition. Believe it or not this is what has helped me the most. The more you develop your intuition the more confident you will become. Each time you trust your instincts/intuition to make a decision and it turns out well you will become more confident. And, the more confident you are the easier it will be to trust what you perceive the next time and the time after that when making decisions. Developing your intuition is about learning to trust those whispers within and honoring the information your finely tuned perceptions gift you with.
An easy way to begin to honor your sensitivity and heighten your intuition is to listen to a guided meditation that takes you by the hand and shows you what trusting these whispers feels like. The Intuition Principle Guided meditations do just that.
After all, you wouldn’t have this sensitivity if you weren’t meant to use it. So use it and be proud of it!
Are you a “sensitive?” How has it affected your life? Has fear, indecisiveness or inaction been a problem for you?
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P.S. Here are some more great tools to help you develop your intuition. Click here!
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The Simple Elegance of Intuitive Decision Making
“Intuition is perception via the unconscious.” —Carl Gustav Jung
I often marvel at how we tend to complicate things. Especially things that are meant to be simple like intuition.
Our intuition is a thinking process that takes place beneath the surface of our awareness. It’s not magical but, there are times it sure feels like it!
Recent scientific findings support the existence of the “intuitive thinking process.” When you need to act quickly and make decisions in emergency situations, often intuitive thinking takes over. Your intuition is a thought or idea that has been stripped of all the “fat” leaving only the “meat” behind. Emotions, extraneous information and what we think we “should” do are stripped away.
What you are left with is the core truth of the idea.
In our normal day to day thinking process we put the “fat” right back in. Discerning what is important and sifting through our emotions complicates our decision making. Intuition is simple and elegant because all of the extraneous influences are distilled from the thought leaving only “the facts.”
Your intuition results from your subconscious filing away all kinds of information your conscious mind overlooked or has forgotten.
Think of it as a built-in alarm system. You might not have seen that stranger lurking in the shadows of the parking lot but, your subconscious picked it up. Suddenly you feel as if you’re being watched. The hairs on the back of your neck stand up and you turn around to see if there is someone there.
Your intuition can and does warn you of all kinds of things.
Do you recall that fleeting thought that passed through your mind just as you were taking that first bite of chicken that later caused your food poisoning? The thought was brief but the message was clear, “Was this defrosted properly? Maybe I shouldn’t eat it?” But, your rational mind kicked right in and you thought, “I thawed frozen chicken like this dozens of times and it’s always been fine.” Later, when you are sick as a dog you recall the thought you had warning you, and wish you had listened!
Often problems occur because you allow your rational mind to dissuade you from listening to your intuition. It is the “interference” from the rational thinking mind which comes in and complicates things. So, in this example had you stopped at the intuitive thought and listened to it, you wouldn’t have eaten the chicken and got food poisoning.
This happens again and again until we learn to pay attention to these “whispers.”
Our intuitive thinking process sends us nuggets of wisdom that we ignore in favor of adding all kinds of non-essential thoughts to the mix, causing errors in our judgment.
The other day a friend was telling me that she was considering two jobs. Two days later she called in a panic because she was now unsure as to whether she had chosen the right job to accept.
What went wrong?
She complicated the entire process with a lot of extraneous rationalizing about why she “should” take the first job with an “artsy” prestigious company instead of the second job requiring field work for a local health administration. When it came right down to it, these rationalizations had no real bearing on which job she would actually enjoy. In the end she realized the autonomy of working out in the field appealed to her much more than being stuck in an office all day.
Listen to that little voice
Do you remember the day you were walking your dog and noticed that a small chunk of the sidewalk around your property was damaged? One week later your daughter trips on it and breaks her ankle. Suddenly, you recall your first thought upon seeing it, “I should get that fixed before someone falls and hurts themselves,” followed by, ‘but, it can probably wait until spring.” You remember that it kept “nagging” at you afterward each time you took the dog out too. You could just kick yourself now for putting off this repair!
The next time you hear that “little voice” when you are about to make a decision make sure you’re not tuning out your intuition.
The intuitive mind always comes up with the simple and elegant solutions to whatever you are facing. Strip away all the rationalizations and focus on how the situation makes you feel. Chances are the answer that “feels” the best when you think about your decision later and leaves you feeling at peace and “settled inside” is the right choice.
Here’s how you can easily and quickly tap into the simple elegance of your intuition:
1. Review the dilemma, problem or anything in your life you’re trying to make a decision about.
2. Focus on your two top choices.
3. Imagine that you have decided to go with the first choice. Be sure not to ask “which is the right decision.” You want to ask yourself how you would feel if you chose this option.
4. Notice your feelings and the first thought that pops into your head while you imagine yourself having chosen the first option. Are you feeling anxious, contented, scattered, relieved, nervous or excited?
5. Now do the same thing for the second option. How do you feel? Do you feel “settled” or “unsettled” about this option?
6. Compare the two feelings and your first thoughts. The one that made you feel calm, comfortable, confident, at ease and settled about the matter is the right choice. Anything less than a complete feeling of acceptance without hesitation means that this is not the right one.
Intuition is simple – really
As soon as you become aware of its function and how elegantly it feeds you the answers to life’s problems, the sooner you can begin checking in with it when making decisions. And, when you do – you’ll find that you make the “right” decisions time and time again.
Have you ever given your intuition any thought? How do you know when you’ve received intuitive guidance?
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P.S. Develop your own intuition. Pick up any of my books. Start here~!
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