Using unconventional thinking & great foresight to enhance your career

By Emilie Janda, Management Consultant & Coach & Speaker


Have you ever thought or said, ”I knew it, I should have trusted my intuition”? Have you ever wished that you have acted on your intuitive hunch? Have you ever accepted a job which seemed attractive but just felt wrong?

The truth is, we cannot analyze a decision into being and have it lead to the flow of the right career path and to the right jobs. Traditional decision making tools, based on analytical thinking are not really sufficient when the decisions involved are about unknown situations. Information, knowledge and statistics. All the background data we gather to have a clearer idea about what decision to make, often makes us even more confused than before. In fact, while data gathering speaks volumes about the past, it cannot tell much about the future. Information can reveal probability, but never certainty.

When making tough choices – what career path to choose what job offer to accept or not — we know instantly what the right choice should be, but then we let our rationale take over. Immediately, we start analyzing and using traditional decision-making tools such as pro/cons and cost/benefit analysis. That’s what we are trained to do. That’s what our society is built upon – facts, evidence, proof.

But our valuable knowledge and expertise can only go so far. There is no doubt that we need knowledge and expertise as a background for qualified decision making, but there is a much more effective way to arrive at the solution. Today, studies have shown that the final decision can be made only with the help of our intuitive intelligence, commonly called ‘intuition’ or ‘gut feeling’.

In business, it has long been known that those who use intuition as a tool make better and faster decisions. In fact, this trait is common to many top managers. When rationality and logic cannot be of any help, when needing an immediate decision, intuition is the only tool that can be used. Incredibly, although long-ignored or discounted as a management tool, intuition is highly effective and always right.

According to a study by psychologist Malcom Wescot, successful intuitive decision makers and thinkers are self-confident, self-sufficient and unconventional. They explore uncertainties without fear. They enjoy taking risks and they can accept or reject criticism. They describe themselves as independent, foresighted, confident and spontaneous.

But, it is not enough to have the intuition. Making any decision such as choosing a job or career path based on inner guidance requires however an acute awareness and development of a whole new skill set: understanding how intuition speaks to you, how you can access it, ways to develop the trust that what you are feeling is right and, finally, courage to act upon it.
Without acting upon intuition, you cannot know when to trust it but if you first don’t trust your intuition, you cannot act upon it.

What is Intuition and how to access it?

Ronni Summers defines intuition as “An intuitive experience that is spontaneous, unexpected, intensely, clear inner awareness, which occurs without the aid of intellectual reasoning, and is experienced as right or fitting to the person”.

We have been taught through formal education and training to suppress or ignore Intuition. Nonetheless we all have access to Intuition which appears as:

• Feeling and sensation
• Sudden inspiration or instinct
• Internal seeing or hearing
• Vision, a symbolic message or sudden memory
• Glimpse of the big picture
• The “aha” moment

More specific examples of the appearance of Intuition can be: a relevant dream, an awareness that events are flowing in a certain direction, a significant insight popping suddenly into one’s mind, a muscle contraction or sudden upset stomach, an energy increase or decrease relative to an action to be taken.

Research from economics, neurology, cognitive psychology and other fields is now supporting the idea that the most brilliant decisions come from Intuition. It can give us the information on a more sophisticated level than we are otherwise accustomed to. Psychologists now say that far from being the opposite of effective decision-making, Intuition is inseparable from it. Without it, we could not decide anything at all. That should give another reason to develop Intuition as a tool at work [Stewart].

What does Intuition Do?

• Helps us make immediate and right decisions
• Helps us follow the right and enjoyable path in business and career
• Brings us new ideas, which can be useful and marketable when followed up
• Leads us into the flow of synchronicities which in turn bring us to the right people and situations

Decisions made by Intuition are immediate and Intuition is always right when correctly interpreted. In fact, the only time Intuition goes wrong is when our own interpretation of it is off kilter due to our untrained intuitive abilities.

Tapping into your intuition, not only allows you to make the right decisions, but it can also save time. Intuition will not only lead you on the right path in your professional development and career, but will also allow the organization to employ the right person for the right post. Both persons and groups who use intuition as a business skill bring valuable knowledge, passion and talents which contribute to a company’s success.

Intuition also enhances creativity. Intuition is not only a shortcut to inspiration, but can aid us in knowing whether our idea is not only unique but also a marketable one.

In short, intuition as a non-analytical decision making method has to be seen as complementary to analytical methods. Learning when to use intuition and when to use rationality is essential for the optimal use of both. Intuition can be seen as the guide and rationality as the tool that implements intuitive ideas.

Choosing a career path

The following is a guide to an intuitive career choice. The border line between intuition and rationale is never sharp and clear; intuition leads you in all stages. The distinction here is used to illustrate the decision making process to help you being more aware of when to pay attention to your intuition:

When to use intuition

When making a career choice, you need to be clear about :
• Values
• Passion/Talents
• Roles
• Skills/Aptitudes
• Preferred environments
• Personal developmental needs
Avoid long thinking and analysis; write down what comes to your mind immediately.

When to use Rationality/Analysis
• Explore the occupations in which you are interested
• Research the industries in which you would like to work
• Research the Labor Market
During this process, try to be led by intuition in your information search.

When to use both intuition and rationale/analysis
• Identify possible occupations
• Evaluate these occupations
• Explore alternatives
• Choose both a short term and a long term option
Write a list and visualize yourself in a specific occupation. How do you feel and what is the immediate response? How is your energy level? Increased or decreased? Experience how you feel about the specific occupation. What is your intuition telling you?
Once you have identified the suitable targets, action has to be taken.
• Investigate additional training and education, if needed
• Develop a job search strategy
• Write your resume
• Gather company information
• Compose cover letters
• Prepare for job interviews
Remember: intuition is there to guide you at all times! Get into the body, become present and non judgmental. Meditation and relaxing breathing will take you there as well as awareness of where you are and who you are.

European-based Management consultant & coach Emilie Janda, is the founder of Determina and an associate at Step-Up. In this capacity, she works with corporations and individuals in creating Authentic Leadership and Holistic Decision Making. Emilie’s approach is by helping others optimize their inner resources and guidance system to make sustainable choices and lead themselves and others from the authentic within.

While Emilie’s background is in Information Science, she has worked as a Knowledge Management & Business Intelligence consultant and coach in Denmark and Italy. Besides corporate training, Emilie has extensive experience in lecturing and she is committed to advance organizational development through raising leaders’ level of awareness.,