Part 2 of 4: Intuitive Decision Making That Sparks Innovation


As many of you know, I’m writing a book, Decisive Intuition (out on shelves March 2019), that’s based on the premise that when we listen to and apply our intuitive intelligence alongside critical thinking and analysis, we make better, faster, and more holistic decisions in business. 

This leads to greater innovation and leadership as we include all of the data around us and are even more informed than just relying on what’s in our heads. This month’s series gives some insight into how you can apply your own intuition in any critical decision making process in your workplace (and beyond). And if you like what you read and want to see a workshop on this exact topic at SWSX 2019, scroll down to the bottom of this page and help us by voting this into existence!

Access Your Subconscious Mind for Greater Decision Making

In Part 1 of our series, we looked at engaging your conscious, rational mind for critical thinking around any workplace dilemma you are facing. While thinking through the pros and cons of any key business decision is critical, this is where most people stop. In order to access our deeper, innate intelligence, we have to interrupt our normal way of thinking and make time to access our subconscious mind. 

This is why Steve Jobs was famous for getting out of the office and walking around the block barefoot when he was faced with a strategic challenge. He would literally interrupt his routine and normal way of thinking, and which would create the space for a new perspective, and his intuition and subconscious to catch up with him. 

The Subconscious Mind: The World’s Best Computer (for now) 

Neuroscience shows that our subconscious mind processes 20 million bits of environmental stimuli per second. The conscious, rational mind only processes 40 bits per second. That’s like a 20-lane highway compared to a single dirt track. In other words, if you can interrupt your conscious mind and allow time for your subconscious to process information, you will make more intuitive connections with all the data you are receiving in your environment, not just the ones you are aware of. This is why only engaging your critical-thinking mind is so limiting. 

In fact, University of Amsterdam psychologist Ap Dijksterhuis and his colleagues confirmed the surprising powers of unconscious thought. In study after study, after participants were shown complex information in order to make a decision, the individuals who performed best were the ones who’s conscious mind was distracted temporarily so that the subconscious mind could take time to process information and make better, informed decisions. (Hodgkinson et al, Intuition in Organizations: Implications for Strategic Management, 2009). 

Our Three Brains

This next step involves accessing your Heart Brain. 

Your what, You may ask? That’s right, we have three brains. Besides our head brain, we also have neural networks in our heart and gut as well. This is why we sometimes feel information come through in our gut instinct or through our heart. There are somewhere between 40,000 and 120,000 neurons in the heart brain. And when we slow down our conscious thinking to access our other key centers of intelligence, we get a more well-rounded perspective on the decision at-hand.

Step 3: Engaging Your Heart Intelligence

Step 3 picks up where we left off in the last post, after walking you through the pros and cons of the decision you are facing in your business. Now we move into new territory from most decision-making models. 

Drop your pros and cons list and take a moment to close your eyes, slow down your breath, and tune into your heart center. This alone begins to change your brain states as you slow down from your conscious mind to your deeper, subconscious mind, where your intuitive intelligence awaits you. 

Now ask your question that you got clear about in the first post. State the very dilemma you are facing, whether it’s a hiring decision or if you should hold off on a product launch, etc. State this first in the positive, such as “I am hiring Steve,” and see what you notice. And then try the opposite, “I’m not going to hire Steve,” and do the same. 

The key here is to drop your mental chatter about it all, and put your full attention on your heart center. Breathe here and listen for what information comes to you as you stay with your question. Notice what data you get simply by being with your heart intelligence. 

After spending some time here, write down anything that comes to you from engaging with your heart intuition. Data could come in the form of words, images, texture, warmth, openness, contractions, coolness, sensations, etc. Typically one of the decisions will stand out to you more than the other, in terms of your inner cues and signals. 

Simply write down what you notice without any judgment. Next week, we’ll move onto your Gut Intelligence in our continued series on Intuitive Decision Making. 

If you find this helpful and think others would benefit, please vote for this two-hour workshop to be presented at SXSW in March 2019. Community voting accounts for 30% of the panel picking process and we would love your support and bringing this process to the wider masses. Please follow the link HERE to cast your vote. Thanks in advance for your support!