What Does Your Gut Say?

gut-360x285So, what I’ve come to learn is that if one is following their intuition, inner voice, the small still voice, or whatever name we give it, it can never lead one astray. Over the years, reading, learning, and applying mindfulness to my daily spiritual practice, I have come to understand the power of intuition.

In the book, Strategic Intuition, William Duggan speaks about three kinds of intuition: ordinary, expert, and strategic.

  • Ordinary intuition is just a gut feeling; an instinct you have.
  • Expert intuition is snap judgments when you immediately recognize or know something familiar, like a piano player who plays by ear.
  • Strategic intuition, is not a vague feeling, like ordinary intuition. Strategic intuition is a clear thought. And it’s not fast, like expert intuition. It’s slow. That flash of insight you had in the late evening or early morning might solve a problem that’s been on your mind for a while. Strategic intuition doesn’t happen in familiar situations, like the piano player. Strategic intuition happens when you need it most, like in new situations.

For me, I came to learn about strategic intuition (and trusting it) as the primary caretaker for my mother. In 2000, my mother had three strokes. I quit my job and moved back home to take care of her. Little did I know then that I was using a mix of ordinary and expert intuition. During the first eight years, I learned a lot about strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, and all of the various dis-eases (yes dis-ease) that my mother was suffering. My intuition kicked in on one or all of the three levels of intuition at one time or another as I interacted with the doctors (she has a primary care doctor and a ton of specialists), the nurses, the CNA’s, the rehab hospitals, the nursing homes (for rehab), the dieticians, Medicaid, etc.

At times, I felt like I was a minnow that had been dropped into a vast ocean. Some of my mother’s medical situations called for ordinary intuition while others called for expert and strategic intuition. I believe strategic intuition guided me to know what kinds of questions to ask the medical professionals like the one I always asked, “What don’t I know that I don’t know that I should be asking you now as it relates to this present situation?”  Caretaking and Medicaid were new situations for me, and this was when strategic intuition kicked in.

William Duggan calls creative thinking, entrepreneurial thinking, innovative thinking, and strategic critical to succeeding in the modern world. All these kinds of thinking happen through flashes of insight—strategic intuition.

In this month’s edition of  O (The Oprah Magazine), Martha Beck wrote a piece on intuition. She says that since intuition relies on physiological sensations, that one can transfer one’s attention from one’s thoughts to one’s body. The argument is that your body can tell you areas of stress, contradiction, or discord.  This discomfort can be information from your intuition. For instance, tight spots in your back could be irritation you feel about someone or something.

Beck presents five exercises on intuition. Lesson #3 was called Intuitive Memory Lane. The exercise involves remembering and writing about your intuition from two perspectives. One column is titled when my intuition said no. The second column is titled when my intuition said yes. You are to write three memories of when your intuitive hunch told you that something wasn’t right- a bad relationship, a life-draining job, a friend you weren’t sure you could trust- but you didn’t heed the warning. Then, repeat the same thing in the second column; List three things that you remember when you did follow your intuition and things turned out well. Even if you may have doubted these choices at the moment, your intuition sent the signal to, “Do it!” and thank heaven you did, right?

Servant Leadership requires that a leader tap into intuition, understand it and rely heavily on it. I have grown up some in this area. Learning to listen to the inner voice is a challenge. Yet, as we make the choice to follow our intuition it becomes easier to do. Am I perfect at following my intuition? Nope. But I am finding it is the best way to go for an emerging Servant Leader.

So, intuition is pretty remarkable. I believe if people (and organizational leaders) make a decision that doesn’t pan out correctly; it probably wasn’t their intuition guiding them, rather it was ego.

And Servant Leaders understand that leading from intuition (foresight) yields better results.


To Intuition,

Dr. Crystal

© Copyright 2015 ~Dr. Crystal J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.

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