Trust your Intuition

Posted by Trevor on 20 July 2012 | Post a Comment

How do you know the time is right to take action? And how do you know the action you’re contemplating is the right one?

These are questions that have plagued many a person. I have worked for CEOs who are terrified of making decisions. They would seek advice from an executive team, and then they would second-guess those recommendations and hire consultants who would often contradict the data and tell the CEO what they thought he or she wanted to hear. Even then they struggled to actually make a decision and so began another round of meetings. Typically, these people aren’t successful, and their companies aren’t successful – not as much as they could or should have been. This is because success requires decisiveness. You can’t second-guess yourself in business – or in life – and expect to make real strides.

Decisiveness is rooted in a strong intuitive sense. Strong leaders, visionaries, purposeful thinkers: these are people who trust themselves implicitly. The world can disagree with them – even think they’re crazy, as has happened throughout history. Andrew Carnegie’s critics accused him of senility for suggesting that steel would replace iron as the construction material of choice. The Michigan Bank President told Henry Ford “The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty, a fad.”  J.K. Rowling, author of Harry Potter books, was told by several publishers that people “just aren’t interested in witches and wizards anymore.” Even Einstein’s parents thought their son was “retarded.” People once also called me crazy to try to build a virtual pharmaceutical company. Now the same people seek my advice on becoming more profitable through out-sourcing.

Public opinion and popular sentiment, however, can’t shake a confidence that is rooted in intuition regardless of the person, the time, or the situation.

How do you become like a Carnegie or a Ford? How do you bring yourself to the point where you can trust yourself implicitly – trust yourself, even in the face of widespread opposition?

The key to trusting intuition is confidence, and in business that comes from gaining a broad-based experience across all departments. Take Carnegie again: what really comes through while reading his biography is that he educated himself across every aspect of his business. He started out in manufacturing and then went into accounting, purely by chance, as he was the only person in manufacturing who could write. He eventually moved from accounting to distribution, and there, learned the power of customer satisfaction via the importance of efficient routing. This was to prove of immense importance later when, as a steel magnate, he dealt with supply issues and strikes.

Essentially, Andrew Carnegie built his intuition throughout his entire career with every varied bit of education and experience he garnered. He understood every function of a business, whereas the CEO’s I worked for in the past had largely built careers through one corporate department like finance or sales. They didn’t know enough about the other functions to trust their instincts.

In my own career, which was largely based in sales, I took pains to communicate and learn across all the functions of the company I worked for, sometimes doing preceptorships for several days with people in other departments like manufacturing and accounts. So, when it came time to do my own thing, and I suddenly found myself having to be CEO, I was able to sense potential issues in different areas and see opportunities for integration and growth that would not be possible if all I had done in my career was within one aspect of a company.

With the writing of Three Simple Steps, a map to success in business and life, I have not contented myself with simply typing on a keypad. I have taken the time and effort to learn every aspect of the publishers various tasks and departments. Rather than object to my curiosity, I have found the staff in all departments like design, editing, and marketing are only too keen to share their worlds. The finished product reflects the benefit of that learning and will be of great benefit for my books to follow.

We all have the same intuitive power, but only a few people learn to trust it.  If that sounds like your situation, find ways to grow confidence by learning and experiencing other aspects of a business. You will find your need and reliance on executives and outside experts all but vanishes.


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