The Next Right Move

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This is what I know for sure; I am here to raise the consciousness of the planet.”

~Oprah Winfrey

Announcement: This is my last post before my son and I embark on a road trip to Kansas for summer vacation.  I will resume summer posting two weeks from today. Happy June!

As I was thinking about what to write about today, I came across Oprah Winfrey’s talk at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, “Oprah Winfrey on Career, Life, and Leadership.” Wow. Talk about a fascinating story of Servant Leadership! It was the most powerful hour of enlightenment that I have possibly ever experienced. She is the epitome of a Servant-Leader.

Last week, I talked about the 10 core competencies of Servant Leadership. Oprah’s talk echoed those competencies as she spoke about her life, her career, her mistakes, her successes, and what she has learned.

What I took away from the talk was the greatest lesson of all for emerging Servant-Leaders; Servant –Leaders who are self-actualized KNOW the change they are to make in the world. They are here to raise the consciousness of the planet.

Let that truth soak in for a moment.

Oprah reminded us of the truth of who we are. She said;

  • Always listen to your inner voice
  • Being fuels doing, not the other way around
  • Pay attention to your life and the life of others
  • Work on yourself; Always keep yourself full first
  • Know who you are and know what to do with who you are

Isn’t this the life and calling of Servant-Leaders? We are called to be keenly self-aware so that we can make a beneficial contribution to the greater world community. Without knowing who we are, we fail to help others see who they are.

Indeed, Servant-Leaders understand that there is, as Oprah said, “A supreme moment of destiny waiting for me.” Know it. Feel it. OWN it.

Take an hour in this or the next 24 hours to watch the talk.

I promise you, you will feel empowered and inspired to continue on your journey as a Servant-Leader. It is located at http://bit.ly/12Dnh0C

To Oprah,

Dr. Crystal

What Does Your Gut Say?

gut-360x285So, what I’ve come to learn is that if one is following their intuition, inner voice, the small still voice, or whatever name we give it, it can never lead one astray. Over the years, reading, learning, and applying mindfulness to my daily spiritual practice, I have come to understand the power of intuition.

In the book, Strategic Intuition, William Duggan speaks about three kinds of intuition: ordinary, expert, and strategic.

  • Ordinary intuition is just a gut feeling; an instinct you have.
  • Expert intuition is snap judgments when you immediately recognize or know something familiar, like a piano player who plays by ear.
  • Strategic intuition, is not a vague feeling, like ordinary intuition. Strategic intuition is a clear thought. And it’s not fast, like expert intuition. It’s slow. That flash of insight you had in the late evening or early morning might solve a problem that’s been on your mind for a while. Strategic intuition doesn’t happen in familiar situations, like the piano player. Strategic intuition happens when you need it most, like in new situations.

For me, I came to learn about strategic intuition (and trusting it) as the primary caretaker for my mother. In 2000, my mother had three strokes. I quit my job and moved back home to take care of her. Little did I know then that I was using a mix of ordinary and expert intuition. During the first eight years, I learned a lot about strokes, diabetes, high blood pressure, COPD, and all of the various dis-eases (yes dis-ease) that my mother was suffering. My intuition kicked in on one or all of the three levels of intuition at one time or another as I interacted with the doctors (she has a primary care doctor and a ton of specialists), the nurses, the CNA’s, the rehab hospitals, the nursing homes (for rehab), the dieticians, Medicaid, etc.

At times, I felt like I was a minnow that had been dropped into a vast ocean. Some of my mother’s medical situations called for ordinary intuition while others called for expert and strategic intuition. I believe strategic intuition guided me to know what kinds of questions to ask the medical professionals like the one I always asked, “What don’t I know that I don’t know that I should be asking you now as it relates to this present situation?”  Caretaking and Medicaid were new situations for me, and this was when strategic intuition kicked in.

William Duggan calls creative thinking, entrepreneurial thinking, innovative thinking, and strategic critical to succeeding in the modern world. All these kinds of thinking happen through flashes of insight—strategic intuition.

In this month’s edition of  O (The Oprah Magazine), Martha Beck wrote a piece on intuition. She says that since intuition relies on physiological sensations, that one can transfer one’s attention from one’s thoughts to one’s body. The argument is that your body can tell you areas of stress, contradiction, or discord.  This discomfort can be information from your intuition. For instance, tight spots in your back could be irritation you feel about someone or something.

Beck presents five exercises on intuition. Lesson #3 was called Intuitive Memory Lane. The exercise involves remembering and writing about your intuition from two perspectives. One column is titled when my intuition said no. The second column is titled when my intuition said yes. You are to write three memories of when your intuitive hunch told you that something wasn’t right- a bad relationship, a life-draining job, a friend you weren’t sure you could trust- but you didn’t heed the warning. Then, repeat the same thing in the second column; List three things that you remember when you did follow your intuition and things turned out well. Even if you may have doubted these choices at the moment, your intuition sent the signal to, “Do it!” and thank heaven you did, right?

Servant Leadership requires that a leader tap into intuition, understand it and rely heavily on it. I have grown up some in this area. Learning to listen to the inner voice is a challenge. Yet, as we make the choice to follow our intuition it becomes easier to do. Am I perfect at following my intuition? Nope. But I am finding it is the best way to go for an emerging Servant Leader.

So, intuition is pretty remarkable. I believe if people (and organizational leaders) make a decision that doesn’t pan out correctly; it probably wasn’t their intuition guiding them, rather it was ego.

And Servant Leaders understand that leading from intuition (foresight) yields better results.

Every.Single.Time.

To Intuition,

Dr. Crystal

© Copyright 2015 ~Dr. Crystal J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.

What’s Intuition Got to Do With It?

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Most People don’t trust it.

You can’t touch it. You can’t see it.

But, you can feel it. It is a thought, a hunch, a feeling, a half-baked idea, a hint, a notion, or a fleeting suggestion.

It is your intuition speaking to you.

The definition of intuition is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning. Or, a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.

Intuition is what Sipe and Frick in the book, Seven Pillars of Servant Leadership, are referring to in the chapter on Foresight (as discussed in last week’s post).

It is a challenge for most people to tap into intuition in a data drive world because everything is reconciled through analysis ad nauseam.

As Sipe and Frick advise, we should use all the forecasting tools such as data gathering, analysis, and scenarios. We should research the past, run the numbers, talk to colleagues, and consult with people at all levels of the organization.

Then, we should take all of that into silence.

We should “let it marinate” and allow intuition to come forth through the relaxed mind letting the present be. More than that, we should be careful not to dismiss any thought, hunch, half-baked idea, hints, etc. for they could be the very source of the answer we seek.

Sipe and Frick give an example of the ten-minute exercise of silence arguing that silence and emptying of the mind can allow for much more to come through. Intuition can guide us to greater awareness of any situation.

How can we nurture intuition? How can we be better Servant Leaders using intuition and foresight?

We can;

  • Analyze the past,
  • Learn everything there is to know about the issue,
  • Let the information incubate, (Let it marinate)
  • Be open for breakthrough, and
  • Share you insights with trusted colleagues.

In the article, The Right Ideas in All the Wrong Places, Ken Favaro and Nadim Yacteen call foresight intelligent recombination. They agree that for intelligent recombination to happen, one must create conditions where the mind can relax, deal calmly with problems, wander freely, and make new connections, rather than looking for quick answers due to stress or time deadlines.

Moreover, the authors commented that when they asked people where they get their best ideas, they rarely hear “at my desk,” “in a meeting,” or “in a brainstorming session.” More typical answers are while running, swimming, commuting, showering, cooking, sewing, or doing yard work.

Indeed, when we are relaxed, our brains can use the natural approach to creativity and intuition shows us the way.

To Intuition,

Dr. Crystal

Crystal J. Davis is a servant leader, blogger, and researcher. She holds a Doctorate in Management specializing in Organizational Leadership. Dr. Davis is passionately engaged in Servant Leadership and selfless service to the nonprofit and public sectors having served both large and small organizations throughout her career and consulting business. Follow Crystal @DrDavis2126 (Twitter) and, Lead.From.Within. (Facebook).

© Copyright 2015 ~Dr. Crystal J. Davis. All Rights Reserved.