As a business leader, the world can sometimes seem like a very lonely place. We can often feel isolated, uncertain and unsure as to whether we are making the appropriate, the “right” decision.
As we gradually become more and more paralysed by our uncertainty and fear of taking the wrong turn, it’s so easy to get sucked into a vortex of rumination, full of worry, stress and anxiety.
So, the question becomes what do we do as a leader when challenges show up and we feel we have no one to go to to ask for help? After all, it is clear that we don’t want to show our weakness to our colleagues, peers or employees, right? The most obvious answer for me to give would be to reach out to a mentor or a coach, someone who can listen attentively, who can give their undivided attention and who can hold a space for you.
And, by doing so, help you to gain a greater amount of clarity on a situation or set of circumstances. However, for me, there is a much bigger truth to be told when asked this question. I believe that the best source of knowledge which is readily available to any individual, entrepreneur, business leader or chief executive officer (CEO) who is looking for insight to, or clarity on, a situation, is their intuition.
As leaders of businesses, we can very often get stuck inside of our own heads. We desperately try to find or create an answer from a place of logic and this can lead us to feel like we are stuck. We regurgitate a difficult problem in our minds over and over again, so that it feels like our brain is mush, a veritable washing machine chock-full of problems.
Does this strike a chord? If so, it could be time to quieten the mind, slow down personal thought and create a space for universal thought to surface. I believe that if we can get outside of our own heads, tune in to our intuition and tap into a deeper, more innate wisdom and intelligence, then that is when we are able to make the best decisions for our life, career and business.
There are so many blueprints, models, mentors and techniques available in the market that I’ve seen far too many leaders and their businesses lose sight of their own plans, their own identity and their own innovation.
I am a huge fan of learning from what has gone on before, but never at the expense of my own inner wisdom.
Whatever you call it - intuition, universal thought, innate wisdom or source intelligence - it lies inside each and every one of us. If you listen to any of the great leaders of recent times, they are all tapped into this fundamental truth.
Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, for example, has talked memorably about relying far more on visceral, gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics, and has famously stated that he tends to make up his mind about people within the first thirty seconds of meeting them.
“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition,” said the late Steve Jobs, the legendary technology guru and co-founder of Apple, as he advised graduates in his famous commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005.
Many leaders may be wondering how they should follow suit. My answer is not to try to work it all out, but instead simply let go of all personal thinking and see what comes to mind.
I’m sure you have experienced many moments when an answer or solution just suddenly pops into your mind. It may have been when you are in the shower, spending time out in nature walking the dog or after going for a long run or swim … it almost always happens when your mind has had time to relax.
So, my top tip is follow your heart, listen to your gut and let your mind become so quiet that you can hear the inner guidance that resides within all of us.
- Alister Gray, founder of The Mindful Talent