Decades of popular entertainment have been devoted to characters who solve crimes relying on their gut instinct. The viewing public are enchanted by the notion that we can access an ‘inner- knowing’ that will give us the answers to problems defied by logic and science.
In today’s society it is not unusual that having pursued a decision to its logical conclusion, we are disappointed when it hasn’t worked out. We often look back in retrospect to the moment when we heard that inner voice, felt a knowing for an alternative solution but dismissed it as madness before following all the supporting evidence pointing the opposite way.
The idea to start my own business hit me like a thunderbolt. I was in a position of hating my job and frustrated by the poor quality childcare that my children were receiving. For months I had complained to anyone with a sympathetic ear, shrugging off any possible solutions raised. I still don’t know the forces in the universe that came together the night my sister suggested, like many before her, that I open a day nursery myself but it felt like I had been struck by a thunderbolt. The idea hit me like no other and from that moment, I became a woman possessed. In that moment, I chose intuition over logic.
Indeed, I became unstoppable in the relentless pursuit of my goal. Guided by this personal conviction, there was no barrier that could stop me. It was a gut instinct like no other, I knew with crystal clear certainty that my dream would come true.
Time passed and the business was created. It was never going to be just any day nursery, it was always going to be the best. I wasn’t surprised when awards were won and accolades received, they only confirmed what my gut and intuition had known all along. I was on the path that could only go one way so we expanded and grew into a second facility.
Someone once said that the hardest part of becoming successful is to maintain that success but awards kept coming. Although somewhere along the line, my certainty dissolved. I don’t know how a successful business person is supposed to feel but my top three adjectives at that time would have been tired, nauseous and anxious. My once rock solid gut instinct had been replaced with a burning pain. I was not well.
I can’t recommend accessing your intuition via thunderbolts. As with any major disruption, my history is proof that the method is unsustainable. Po Bronson in researching his book, ‘What should I do with my life?’ discovered that powerful epiphanies are extremely rare and that whispers are more likely to bring clarity and unravel at a more manageable pace over time. As a keynote speaker and trainer, I know that it is far more effective to get the attention of the room by standing in silence rather than raising my voice.
However, the 21st century is a noisy one, social media demands our attention 24/7. Information is power and there’s a lot of information out there. Text alerts mean that we can be kept informed within seconds of events that are unfolding on the other side of the world. It’s the new normal to become scooped up in the endless supply of information that ceaselessly gets delivered to our pockets.
When did we get so busy and when did that become something to be proud of? Busyness is worn like a medal of honour. Schedules bursting, timetables straining, no wonder tempers fray so easily as deadlines stacked like houses of cards collapse under the pressure of a single failed action.
How to hear a whisper in the deafening noise
Where are you and what are you doing when you get your best ideas? The shower is a favourite or out walking. My daughter was a toddler when I started the day nursery business. She was the only one of her age when we first opened so I continued to take her to her playgroup for a few hours every morning. It was easy to get consumed in my work with the challenges of the first year so I used to set an alarm to remind me to go and fetch her in the middle of my day. I sometimes resented the interruption as I drove but it was on those journeys, benefitting from time and distance away that I got to hear the whispers. With time, effort and repetition, it became “Louise will have the answer by the time she gets back”.
During the second year she started school, I never gave myself a break during the day because I didn’t have to. If I had, I’d have heard the whispers telling me that I didn’t want to expand and grow the business. My gut had been trying to tell me. It had started to burn a hole in itself with the effort and it took a long time for me to appreciate the connection between the two.
Put your phone down. Walk away from the desk. Give your gut instincts a chance to be heard. The new perspective you’ve been searching for has the greatest chance to be received and heard as you step out of the busyness and the constant buzz.
Our gut instinct is always there. The more you use it, the easier it becomes to hear and it always knows what is best for us if we’re brave enough to choose the madness of “gut instinct intuition” over logic. Not letting one override the other can help you be You on a Good Day, Every Day. ™