Opinion: Wisdom Workout

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Intuitive Problem Solving

One of my favorite consulting clients heads a large educational firm in New York. Every six months, Chuck comes here and we spend two full days activating his intuitive problem-solving capabilities so that he can get a new perspective on his business.

My job is to bring in different ways of seeing. He gives me a quick update to bring me current. Next, we delve into the task of unburdening his mind so that he can access his own wisdom about a business he knows so well.

Most of us have been trained to approach problem-solving through one-track linear thinking. Identify the problem and come up with the best solution. That solution however, often creates another problem and on it goes.

Intuition moves in circles. When we allow ourselves the time and room to delve; we hover, waver, stabilize, get in touch, open up, sense and discover new approaches to old problems.

It is exciting and energizing to uncover new answers that blossom into workable strategies. Intuitive problem solving requires and allows stability and chaos to co-exist side by side; the known and the unknown twisting and turning as a magnificent mystery until clarity begins to surface.

I’ve done linear consulting and intuitive consulting and I prefer the results of the intuitive process. Intuition allows new ways to unfold rather than to “make it happen” by pushing and shoving the right answer at the problem.

If intuitive problem solving is so much more effective why doesn’t everyone use it? Intuition calls on inspiration. Inspiration comes as a result of letting go. I must let go of my preconceived ideas of what we will be working on. My client must let go of the fear and apprehension of what might surface. He must let go of needing to be right or fearing that his thoughts or feelings are wrong, unacceptable or off the mark. He must let go of using his energy to maintain a predictable image.

We are both required to come together and form a sacred trust. We must trust ourselves and extend trust and respect to each other. We both must be willing to surrender to a dynamic process that moves, deepens, twists and turns mysteriously through multifaceted levels of thinking, feeling and communicating until new dimensions and alternatives begin to awaken.

Instead of finding a problem and over-analyzing it, we involve ourselves and participate fully in the known realities of what is currently working and not working until new paths of workable actions emerge.

Intuitive problem solving is not only efficient and effective; it is exciting and fun. Unless, of course, you have a strong need to be in control, dislike intensity, are bound by rigid rules and need to have your knuckles hit with a lug wrench in order to even think about letting go. In that case, intuitive ways of knowing can be a bit threatening because the destination is unknown and unknowable at the beginning of the journey.

When we trade in glorifying one-dimensional thinking as strong, rational, serious and the only right way, we can step off of the self-selected treadmill of energy demanding problem solving and yield to letting inspiration deliver new ways to see and support our lives.

Intuitive problem solving allows a miraculous partnership between the known and the unknown to begin to surface and help us thrive rather than merely survive.

Susan is a leadership development facilitator and local author. Find her at beyondintellect.com.

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