How to run your business by tapping into your intuition
Your intuition significantly contributes to your ability to thrive as an entrepreneur. Here’s how to make a habit out of tapping into it.
The inspiration for this article is based off my personal struggles with entrepreneurship. There have been many times when things didn't progress as I envisioned them and it led to a depressed mood and funky state of mind.
The only thing that could pull me out of this negative mindset was following my intuition. When I didn't know the path forward, what steps to take, or which decisions to make I was left with no other choice but to trust my gut.
As a fellow entrepreneur you will likely experience similar challenges if you haven’t already. Running a business can be a roller coaster and, despite all of the advice available, there will be times when nothing works.
This is the point where you must dig deep and believe in your voice over all others. This guide will help you familiarize yourself with that inner voice so you can hear it when it speaks.
Each day choose one or more of the exercises below (don't make it a chore — do only what you feel like doing). Spend 15 minutes on the exercises and keep track of any change to how you begin to think over time.
My theory, which is backed by some of the concepts and studies I've shared below as well as personal experience, is that you’ll improve your ability to trust yourself.
Business Intuition Exercises
Set intention for the day
Take inspired action
Eliminate energy drains
Keep a gratitude journal
Have inspiring visual aids
Stop negative rumination
Use interrogative self-talk
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SET INTENTION FOR THE DAY
This is based on what I discuss in the article "Create a Daily Routine." The goal is to be mindful about how you want the day to go. In addition to visualizing the course of the day, make any necessary adjustments to your schedule and calendar to align it with your vision.
I personally notice that I get a bit frazzled when I don't have an idea of what I want to get out of the day. In addition to committing to a more formal daily routine, as I mention in the article, sometimes simply clarifying to yourself what you want to accomplish works wonders.
Having a game plan, at least to me, helps work up more positive energy vs. haphazardly passing time without purpose.
When you take the time to specify your intentions — owning the day instead of letting it own you — you get better at understanding what you want which will improve your decision-making abilities.
TAKE INSPIRED ACTION
There are two ways you can do this. First, as mentioned, align the activities in your day with what you want to get out of it. The second is to incorporate feel good moments into the day.
Simple pleasures, as research shows, actually makes you more productive and puts you in a better position to handle stress.
Sometimes we get so caught up in work, errands, and what's going wrong that we forget we have some control over our day-to-day experience.
Make space for fun and indulge in simple pleasures. Commit to doing at least one thing you love or that inspires you each day.
We tend to neglect play, fun and pleasure as entrepreneurs because we are so focused on making things work. However, these breaks in the day can allow your intuition room to breakthrough and be the source of creative inspiration.
ELIMINATE ENERGY DRAINS
At times our intuition speaks to us in a still, small voice so you need a clear head to be able to hear what it is saying.
One way to clear up mental clutter is to fix your nagging issues. These are the outstanding, annoying things that mentally or physically bring you down without you realizing it.
It may be a task you keep putting off, an overdue conversation, or an unattractive area in your office that works your nerves. Whatever it is, it’s well worth addressing it right now.
There's no scientific consensus about the emotion of annoyance but what we know is that it is a negative, unpleasant feeling. As a result, nagging issues are energy zappers because they sit in the back of your mind begging for attention.
It's better to just fix the situation than allow it to fester. An added benefit is the mental clarity that will help you hear yourself better.
KEEP A GRATITUDE JOURNAL
Take the time to practice gratitude and recognize what's going well in your life in general and business more specifically.
Gratitude has a number of scientifically proven benefits including improvement in your psychological health and mental capacity. When you start to feel a bit low this is an especially important activity given its ability to boost your happiness and overall feelings of well-being.
When we are in a negative mindset it's hard to accept sound counsel — even when it comes from ourselves. Gratitude puts you in a more positive mood and better able to hear and accept the good advice your inner self is trying to communicate.
HAVE INSPIRING VISUAL AIDS
Use physical objects as a reminder of the good you have and the good you desire. Humans have a special relationship with our possessions and we should be mindful to maintain a healthy balance with them.
Just like we can go too far and end up hoarding a bunch of clutter, we can also strip away so much that we have nothing to self-identify with (a warning to fellow minimalists).
Our possessions allow us to express ourselves and can also serve as visual reminders of the good that has passed and the good that we want to bring forth.
No matter if it's a special image on a vision board or a small unassuming memento, select objects can help us tap into positive emotions that elevate our mindset in the process.
Just like gratitude, this is a powerful way to uplift your mood and make you more open-minded to your own counsel.
STOP NEGATIVE RUMINATION
Negative rumination is the unhealthy habit of so overly fixating on a negative thought that it leads to anxiety and eventually depression if not put in check.
A special feature of rumination is that there is no completion to the thought — it just keeps going round and round your head with no resolution.
Because of the difficulties in running a business, entrepreneurs are prone to rumination. It comes out a lot in my coaching sessions where clients keep circling around a negative thought or bad idea and can’t break out of it. Especially assuming if they can’t/don’t do X then Y won’t happen.
One method I love using to tackle rumination is reframing. Reframing helps you gently shift from an unproductive emotional loop to a more rational way of assessing and dealing with problems. It allows you to see problems in a more positive light.
Shifting our perspective helps us exercise emotional maturity and exert more control over our thoughts. Having control over our thoughts helps us clear our mind and trust our gut.
USE INTERROGATIVE SELF-TALK
Interrogative self-talk is a substitute to affirmations particularly for those, like me, who don't seem to have much success trying to convince our unconscious that reality is something other than what it is.
Instead of making a declaration that is in direct conflict with reality (and can make your unconscious mind put up a resistance against it) you use positive inquiry. Research shows that asking instead of commanding is a better way to bring about change.
So instead of declaring "I am" when you're not, ask "how might I become?" which turns off your inner critic and turns on the part of the brain tasked with solving problems.
What is most powerful about this tactic is the inquiry gives your intuition the go-ahead to speak. And because you are open and receptive, you are in the position to hear and trust what it says.