How much do you trust yourself? Everyone has intuitive potential – but for some of us, it can feel as though our intuition is frustratingly out of reach. Don’t worry. There are some simple tools that have helped women in our community learn how to develop their intuition, and with regular practice I think you’ll find them really helpful too. So if you’re curious about how to develop your intuition, read on.

What do we mean by intuition?

Before we consider how to develop your intuition, it’s helpful to get clear on what we actually mean by the term. You may know that I’m a bit of an etymology geek — and I think the history of this word is especially useful.

You see, many of us assume intuition is something a little bit esoteric, or somehow spiritual. There’s a ‘mystic’ sense to the world that can be a turn-off if you’re more of a science-minded woman. And indeed, part of the word’s history is the Late Middle English, ‘denoting spiritual insight or immediate spiritual communication’.

But the other root of this word is the Latin ‘intueri’ — to consider, or look into.

So another way to think about your intuition is simply the insight or consideration you can bring to a challenge or problem.

Something that might help you begin to embrace it as a tool you can use in your day to day life — whatever your beliefs.

Knowing beyond logic

In Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Malcolm Gladwell examines research around decision-making. He looks at fascinating cases where split-second judgments: from firemen dealing with a chaotic and dangerous situation, to art dealers ‘sensing’ a flawlessly executed fake, turned out to be as accurate as carefully pondered judgments.

He concludes that those experts who have truly mastered their subject are able to make incredibly accurate decisions at lightning speed. But it’s not magic. They absorb the different facets of a situation so quickly, that they can ‘feel’ what needs to happen before their rational brain has time to assimilate the evidence.

What we might, in fact, call intuition.

“…If we are to learn to improve the quality of the decisions we make, we need to accept the mysterious nature of our snap judgements. We need to respect the fact that it is possible to know without knowing why we know and accept that — sometimes — we’re better off that way.” — Malcolm Gladwell

Intuition and the Sorceress

At One of many we use the 5 Women’s PowerTypes as models of leadership that can help us resource ourselves in any situation. The PowerType who leads us in this realm of instinct beyond logic is The Sorceress. She’s the part of you that instinctively understands what needs to be done, even if you can’t quite explain how. Her instincts guide her when it comes to decision making. And she has complete faith in her ability to ‘sense’ a situation or relationship, and know the truth that lies beneath it.

This is one of the most powerful aspects of leadership you can cultivate.

So how can you turn this to your advantage? How can you develop your intuition into a powerful tool for life?

Here’s how to develop your intuition

1. Clear your mind

If you’re anything like me you probably have lots of thoughts running through your mind at any given moment. All of this “noise” makes it difficult to hear your intuitive voice. Let them go. Picture your thoughts floating away on a cloud. Try meditation, or a practice like yoga or mindfulness which allows you to focus your mind on one activity, and let the other distractions float away.

2. Imagery

Here’s an exercise that can help you if you’re pondering a specific challenge:

Imagine yourself in a quiet place in nature, surrounded by beauty and wonder. Make this image as vivid as possible by using all of your senses. Then, imagine a treasure chest nearby. You feel excited as you approach the chest because you know that the answer to your question is inside. Take a deep breath and imagine yourself opening the treasure chest.

Now, if you struggle with this whole ‘imagine’ thing, know this. When I close my eyes and visualize, it’s black. I don’t see anything. But I pretend I can. And it still works!

I’ve changed my entire life by pretending I can visualize.

(Not to mention pretending I don’t feel dumb when I move my body… When actually it’s quite ridiculous on some level! And pretending it’s OK for me to smother a pillow in snot from crying… When really I’m a grown woman, come on!!)

Turns out pretending can be life changing if you give it a chance…

3. Dream

Take some time before you fall asleep to ask for an answer to come to you through your dreams. Your answers may come symbolically and may need some interpretation.
Look for the emotions and themes of your dreams, and see if this sheds light on your problem.

4. Affirmations

Here are just a few examples of affirmations to increase your intuitive abilities:

  • I trust my intuition.
  • My intuitive voice is consistently accurate.
  • I access my intuition easily.

Can you think of others? Find one that works for you, and try popping it on a post-it somewhere you can see it, or repeating it to yourself while you’re brushing your teeth.

5. Practice

The more you use and trust your intuition, the stronger it will get and the more confident you will feel about it. The whispers from your soul will always guide you to the path that is for your highest good.
Enjoy developing this incredible gift you have. And don’t forget to let us know how you get on!