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Balancing reason and instinct in career decision making

Posted on from Executive Connexions Ltd

Can intuition be a career strategy? Career coach Steve Nicholls investigates.

The intuitive compass

Francis P. Cholle’s book The Intuitive Compass has been the major motivator and inspiration of mine, and my ideas and thoughts draw heavily on the wisdom and ideas set out in that book.

Should you use your intuition (or that little voice we hear inside us sometimes; as if we know what we should do in a given situation) as part of a career change strategy?

What does your gut say?

Cholle says that intuition can be trained, and sites an example of that 'gut feeling' which we can all have, but on a higher level being experienced by the U.S. military sensing danger (specifically a roadside IED, or bomb) more keenly than civilian counterparts.

Within a career change context, we often spend a lot of time honing our CV and interview techniques, without stepping back for a moment and asking our inner self, our intuition, our gut feeling – call it what you will. Does this situation 'feel' right? Does that company 'feel' like the right option for me?

For the pragmatic left brained among you...I hear you. Practicality is also a consideration, but I believe that the best career decisions are those made with Cholle’s four elements fully considered: Reason, Play, Results, and Instincts.

Reason and intuition as career tools

I feel that well thought-out career strategies or transitions are best thought through using a combination of reason and intuition. Many businesses are taking on board these concepts and adopting them into training for senior staff. This kind of approach is not just a concept; it works, and is based on neuroscience research. I often say to my career coaching clients, “If you had to decide within the next ten seconds which option to go for, which would it be?” – that’s more a bit of fun of course, but the process of intuition kicks in during that kind of scenario.

Within a career change context, I take people through processes that support this; for example, have you ever tried really getting yourself in a positive frame of mind intentionally?

I suggest you jot down ten things you like about yourself, and then go through some guided meditations and visualisations, which will help no end to free up your intuition, and enable you to make the best career decision possible.

Trust your intuition

You’ve heard the phrase before, “Trust your intuition”? Well, I believe that if you open your mind to this concept, it will help you to ensure that career decisions are made in a balanced way. I’ll leave the summing up to a saying from Einstein; I don’t think I could say it any better:

"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift." – Albert Einstein.

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