“Let’s go get the blueberry out of my shirt.”
There it was again, I thought. Whenever a profound moment occurs something ridiculous usually happens, like a blueberry falling into the depths of my white blouse. If it wasn’t for these Bridget Jones moments, I don’t know if I would have developed the ability to notice important details as often as I do. It’s like a little intuitive joke that has become a beacon. This particular moment came on the heals of writing “The Art and Science of High Performance and Leadership” and this article.
I was traveling with my daughter and her friend. We were finishing the obligatory tour at college number five. The four others did not make the “I want to go here list.” I knew something was different at this school when the camera came out. In our family successful events are marked by spontaneous picture taking.
We stumbled upon the library after circling the campus a few times. There sat three bronze statues in a beautiful little courtyard. A photo op for sure. I was tossed the camera as my daughter and her friend ran over to pose with the statues. It was one of those irresistible moments. I am rarely the designated photographer. For a flash I hesitated, out of my comfort zone with a nonpoint and click camera. “Oh well”, I thought I couldn’t see the details in the little lense anyway. So I moved a lot, snapped a lot and hoped for the best. I got lucky!
Across the courtyard from the statues sat a group of what looked like professors from around the world. I heard a variety of accents. They were enjoying their lunches, chatting away and deep in discussion. All of a sudden, one of them popped up and joined in. He put a cup in the statues hand. The laughter increased from our little group to include theirs. In a few more moments, the statue was adorned with all sorts of items.
“Look at this”, I thought there is that leadership thing. The energy facilitates strangers to connect and create together. It’s fun, attractive uplifting. It can take on a life of its own as people join in the and also intuit the rules of engagement. My daughter was a natural and I was having a proud mama moment. My stomach though started demanding attention. It was one 0’clock and we hadn’t had lunch yet. I put the camera down and grabbed a handful of blueberries.
This moment was not to be glossed over and my intuitive nudge dropped the blueberry. My Mama’s moment turned into a writers moment. I did not want to break up the fun or get a big blueberry stain in the middle of my shirt. What a dilemma. I made a signal smile to my daughter. She and her friend came over and I whispered “Let’s go get the blueberry out of my shirt.” The girls promptly cracked up. Christina, a writer herself, exclaimed, that sounds like a great title for a book. Collaborative intelligence and intuitive moments go hand in hand. “Hmm! I will have to think about that one.” I replied. The rest of the afternoon was spent interjecting the blueberry theme and laughing.
Intuition is a funny thing. It is unique to each of us. Learning to use it is a very individual process, just like learning to talk or learning a new language. Successful leaders develop the skill of utilizing their intuition. Intuition is the life saver that is relied on after all the facts and data have been collected about a situation.
There are numerous examples in history of great decisions to act and not to act were based intuition. During the Cuban missile crisis, Kennedy chose to wait and not respond in some instances which avoided huge catastrophe’s.
Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and most successful entrepreneurs speak about their ability to follow their instincts and take the road less traveled.
The ability to lead yourself in your life is becoming more and more essential as social groups, community structures, resources and businesses are changing at faster rates than ever before. The gift of intuition is a critical guide in times of change. For the skilled leader, change is the way life is lived. A natural leader is adept at recognizing opportunity, connections, ideas, as well as facilitating concepts to create and improve things.
Leadership can be exhibited no matter where you are in your life, your business and your circumstances. Leadership skills are often more evident when a person is taking action in an area of their strengths. We each have this potential. Leaders draw people in and inspire movement towards a greater purpose. They transform, create and are instinctively aware of opportunities.
Leaders are facilitators of change. An effective leader develops skills to stay present in moments, to recognize opportunities, vision what is possible, focus, bring people, teams and circumstances together. Change happens faster and with more ease when people feel, see, here and can conceive of the benefits. Change involves risk. A good leader knows this and positively guides his teams to move through the risk process.