People often turn to peers for advice or look for help in books or online when they need guidance in their personal or professional lives. When seeking direction for your business, though, sometimes the best answers will come from within. Of course, if you aren’t accustomed to listening to your own intuition, self-doubt can make whatever solutions you come up with hard to sell to yourself—no matter how on point they may be.
While trusting your gut can be scary and challenging at first, it’s an important skill for all entrepreneurs to learn so that they can confidently make the many decisions that will impact their business. In this article Members of Forbes Coaches Council share 14 strategies you can use to develop and hone your sense of intuition. See their valuable insights below to learn how to hear and act on what your inner voice is telling you.
1. Keep An Intuitive Journal
Write down times in your life when you had an intuition, how it showed up, how it felt in your body, the action you took and what resulted. Through retrospective reflection, you’ll create your unique intuitive library to draw from in the future. – Gwen Dittmar, Gwen Dittmar Consulting, Inc
2. Slow Down And Observe ‘Knowing’ Moments
Create a practice that calms the nervous system. Stress and overscheduling drain our ability to notice when our intuition pings us. We have to create space for intuition, and we need to become observers of those “knowing” moments. That “knowing” is our intuition, but it is too often ignored or not valued because we don’t recognize it. – Stacey Staaterman, Stacey Staaterman Coaching & Consulting
3. Reflect Upon Your Regrets
All the times we’ve honored and followed our intuition can pass beneath our notice, but we tend to remember the things we regret. So, why not use that to your advantage? Think of a time when you didn’t listen to your gut instinct and regretted it. Ironically, doing this can help you get more closely attuned to your intuition in the future, giving you more space to make your choice—next time, to follow your intuition. – April Armstrong, AHA Insight
4. Don’t Edit Your Initial Response
I ask my clients, “What is your first, most authentic response to this problem?” I urge them not to edit their voices, to listen to themselves in a generous, self-respecting way. They can always choose to edit later. Freed up by this exercise, they often offer smart, intuitive solutions and plans of action. It is only when self-doubt steps up that they lose their brilliance. – Karyn Gallant, Gallant Consulting Group
5. Release Your Resistance To Self-Trust
A great strategy for honing your intuition is to trust yourself and release resistance. Many times, entrepreneurs doubt themselves out of fear or anxiety. Our cognitive minds may overthink a situation and cause analysis paralysis, even as our gut intuition is guiding us the right way. Flex your spiritual muscle, get quiet, pray and meditate so that you can feel in alignment with your divine path. – Lori A. Manns, Quality Media Consultant Group LLC
6. Build Your Intuition’s Foundation On Your Values
Take time to quietly reflect and listen to your intuition. As an entrepreneur, you can have many thoughts and feelings occurring at lightning speed. Slow down and reconnect to your entrepreneurial pursuits. Then, to hone that connection, think about why you care about those pursuits. Own what drives your passion. Reinforce your existing values and drivers to serve as the foundation of your intuition. – Jerome Zeyen, InsightHR Consulting
7. Fortify Intuitiveness By Prioritizing
Establish clear priorities for your work and life. Your intuitive responses are driven by your brain’s limbic system, which is responsive to whatever you establish as a priority. This part of the brain has no capacity for speech; its responses are feelings or intuitions. Practice daily pauses: 15-minute pockets of time to unplug, clear your mind and allow your brain to process those priorities. – Erin Urban, UPPSolutions, LLC
8. Tune In To The Silence Inside
Listen to the silence. It speaks. We all have an inner knowing, driven by our own internal GPS systems. Developing and honing our intuition starts with quieting the mind and turning our attention inward. Intuition can come in the form of a soft whisper, a fleeting thought or even a bodily sensation. Practice internal listening, stillness and body awareness. Trust the information you receive. – Michela Quilici, MQ Consulting and Business Training, Inc.
9. Coach Your Inner Client
Coaches ask questions, comfortably knowing their clients’ answers can lead to unexpected places. Then, they ask more questions, based on client responses. These questions allow clients the freedom to open up to truths they aren’t aware of but already know, intuitively. The secret is to be still long enough to allow your inner client to answer without telling your inner client what the answer “should” be. – Christine Rose, Christine Rose Coaching & Consulting
10. Hold Potential Solutions Up Against Expert Opinions
When faced with a difficult decision where you know that you’re going to seek outside assistance from others, write down what you think you should do about it. Be very specific. Draft out your approach, explaining why you chose it. Then, go get an expert opinion from one of your sources. Compare their advice and direction to what you wrote. Over time, you’ll build your intuitive muscle. – John Knotts, Crosscutter Enterprises
11. Analyze Your Audience To Confirm Intuitions
When communicating a message to others, trusting your gut is important. However, you also need to understand your audience. No matter the message you are tasked with delivering, the first step in effective communication is analyzing your audience to understand who they are and what beneﬁt you can provide. Then, see if your initial thoughts are confirmed or contradicted before making your next move. – G. Riley Mills, Pinnacle Performance Company
12. Ask Yourself What You Need Most
Ask yourself this one key question: “What do I need the most right now?” This will serve you the answer on a silver platter. Yes, it’s easy, but so many overthink and overlook the power of simply asking themselves what they need. – Marlo Higgins, Marlo Higgins, Your Chief Inspirational Officer
13. Heed Your Emotional Stop Signs
Trust your emotions. Emotions are stop signs for our brain; they are trying to tell us something. For example, I had a client who often felt like crying in certain situations at work. Instead of following the bad advice to push her tears down, she dug into them and found that, underneath, she was frustrated because she wasn’t being heard. Emotions put us in motion; pay attention to yours. – Darcy Eikenberg, PCC, Red Cape Revolution
14. Practice On The Small Stuff
Practice using the most underrated and most valuable tool in business—your intuition—on the small stuff. When you have an inkling to grab that folder for an upcoming meeting, grab it. You are going to need it, even if you can’t know for sure. Wake up with a past client on your mind? Call her and see what’s up. Received all thumbs up for that new CPA you’re planning to hire, but it doesn’t pass the “feels right” test? It’s not right. – Dodie Jacobi, The Consultant’s Consultant
This article was originally published on Forbes.