It was 1:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and I was on the 16th floor of a non-descript building in the jewelry district of Manhattan, trying to find the office of a laptop repair service. As I walked the hall, I was struck by how desolate and remote it seemed. Why the heck was a computer service office in this dismal location?
I found the office and waited for someone to open the door. The “office” was the size of a large closet and was occupied by one person with very little equipment. My heart sank and my brain immediately went to thoughts such as “front for money laundering”.
Was I going to leave my precious laptop with this unknown person in such a dismal setting? Would I ever see it again? Had I lost my mind?
My brain told me to hit the road and to get out of there as fast as possible. My gut told me that it was OK. Which was the right answer?
I left the laptop and retrieved it at 5:00 that afternoon. The motherboard had died, and by some miracle, he had the right parts to repair it.
Of course, I was totally relieved because this laptop is the hub of my business. As I reflected on this episode, I realized that it was a perfect example of thinking vs. intuition.
I trusted my gut and my gut was right. Importantly, as I was thinking about “who were these people” and “am I crazy to leave my laptop with them”, I stopped my brain and tuned into my gut.
Leaders don’t always have time to think through all of the pros and cons of situations. The ability to pause and listen to your instincts is powerful. All great leaders have stories of how they trusted their gut/instincts/intuition and by doing so it served them well.
Ideally, it’s a balance of cognitive and instinctive. Practice tuning in to your gut and welcome the help it can give you.
Have a great day!