Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
Our Fusion of Wisdom and Research topic this month is an under-appreciated, under-utilized ability, and yet, without a doubt, it is a woman’s secret ingredient for success—Intuition. So, don’t dismiss the topic out-of-hand.
My gosh, this was a hard-won competency for me to manifest productively! Not because I wasn’t aware I was intuitive, but that I believed I had to discard the gift to be successful in business.
Please, don’t close down your natural decision-making, idea-generating pathway early in your career, or you may lose track of your value to the organization as I almost did.
My first management position was at a medium-sized law firm in a downtown Los Angeles skyscraper, where the only woman sitting at the decision-making table was me! I’d relied strongly on my intuition during my rise from bumbling idiot to influencer—and did here too.
But swiftly, and not so gently, I learned from the big guys at the table intuition was not respected by this group. The senior leadership team’s reaction to the injection of intuitive insight into the conversation was detrimental to my future!
Daily I stuffed down the gift until the light of my intuition dimmed, almost flickering out.
I was floundering. By systematically erasing my innate decision-making style to fit in, I’d become voiceless—de-neutered. No longer was my feminine uniqueness adding weight to the dialogue—the very reason the law firm brought me aboard in the first place.
There is little question the world views intuition as a less valued side of reasoning, by labeling it feminine intuition. There’s, also, little doubt that such thinking is picked apart, devalued, and criticized in business. But you, as a savvy woman, can’t allow those around you to negate the power of your thinking. If you do, you become less than who you’re intended to be in the marketplace. That’s not profitable for your career or your company.
Learn from me what you can do to wrap your arms around successfully employing your intuition. Two simple wisdom adjustments:
- “I feel.”
- “I think.”
- “I sense.”
Such phrases are too weak to gain traction as concrete, significant contributions for any judgments. You can even observe your misalignment results in meetings when a male executive voices the same concept from his higher sense of control language. His proposal is accepted, where yours was not.
What does research reveal regarding feminine intuition?
I encourage you to explore how to use your intuitive voice effectively in your organization. We women too often mute our thoughts and views, thus negating our contribution, when simple adjustments will leave us winning the day.
P.S. Men may not be saying it out loud. Still, they’re listening to their gut (male terminology for intuition) because they know business is moving at such a rapid pace the old style of fact-finding, and then, adding on top more facts no longer cuts it. Everyone needs to make faster, smarter responses to immediate challenges to survive.
You were born for times such as these. Please don’t put yourself at a disadvantage to you male counter-parts by abandoning your intuitive gift.
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