4 Ways to Use Intuition to Make Better Decisions

by | Mar 29, 2022 | Podcast

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How does your intuition play into decision making and how do you leverage it to make better decisions? We talk about this and more in this week’s episode of Reflect Forward: Advice From a CEO.

Psychologists define intuition as “immediate understanding, knowledge, or awareness, derived neither from perception nor reasoning.” It’s an automatic, effortless feeling that quickly motivates you to act.

We all know there are two parts to the mind, conscious and subconscious. The conscious mind is where we make rational decisions, and intuition is all about your subconscious. When you make intuitive decisions, you are relying on your subconscious experiences.

Our brains are powerful information processing machines. As we go through life, we store information in our subconscious, just in case we need it for future decision-making. To access this information when needed the most, the brain files is as pattern schemes that make it easier to make sense of our thoughts. Then the brain compares what’s happening in the moment to past experiences, knowledge and memories.

So, when you’re making a “gut decision,” it’s not based just on feeling or emotion but on the logic created from past experience. You just don’t realize it in the moment, which is why it feels like you are making a gut decision.

If you are like me, your gut shares just as much info with you as your rational mind does. These feelings show up as “I know this is the right decision in my heart.” Or “I have a pit in my stomach over this decision.”

During the show, I explain four ways to use intuition to make better decisions:

  1. Be curious about what you are feeling. Heart vs. head. Where is this feeling come from?
  2. Draw on past experiences: intuition is pattern recognition
  3. Anticipate different outcomes
  4. Try the snap judgment test. On a piece of paper, write a question you’re struggling with, such as, “Will accepting the promotion make me happy?” Then write “yes or no” below the question and walk away. After a few hours, or the following day, come back to the paper and immediately circle the answer that feels right to you.

Question of the Week

This week’s question comes from a friend who asked me, “I have to have a hard conversation with one of my employees. What’s one thing I can do to ensure that I deliver it well?”

My advice was to be really clear on the outcome she wanted. I encouraged her to picture a positive result, then plan her communication accordingly.

For example, if she wanted the person to turn things around and remain on the team, she should approach the conversation so that the person knows she believes in them and is going to help them get back on track. She should be prepared to brainstorm solutions and offer to coach them. She should be honest, direct, and kind when delivering the feedback, and the employee should feel like they have a plan of action to turn things around. Listen to the full episode for more!

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