As a leader, intellect and rationale may be at the top of your list for necessary traits to possess in order to experience success. However, rational and intellectual thinking can only get you so far in a fluid, ever-change world. There will come a point when you gut check the facts and data and, despite the evidence, will be compelled to take an entirely different direction. This is your intuition at work. While it may seem a little woo woo, there is immense power in allowing your intuition to guide you.
Before you can begin to let your intuition be your guide, you must first learn how to identify it, listen to it, and trust it. As with many things in life, this is certainly easier said than done. Fortunately for us, I was able to tap into the experiences of 17 successful leaders from the Dreamers & Doers collective to hear firsthand the strategies that have helped them trust their intuition.
Wherever you may find yourself on your journey to honing your intuition, we are confident there is a strategy below that will meet you right where you are. And by the end of this piece, you just may discover that intuition was the missing business tool you’ve always needed.
Founder and CEO of Happyly, the corporate wellness and connection platform supporting the intersection of work and life for the future of work.
“As a heart-driven, passionate entrepreneur, I’m a big believer that my intuition is an important voice to listen to deeply. I’ve learned through the Happyly journey that intuition cross referenced with data is the silver bullet. I no longer rely only exclusively on gut and believe the sanity check of data has made me a stronger and more confident leader.”
Founder and CEO of Badassery, a marketplace for event organizers to book diverse public speakers in minutes.
“I try to catch myself when I’m catastrophizing a situation. Instead of spiraling down thoughts about why my choice might be the worst one, I start imagining the best-case scenario if I trust my intuition. That removes some of the fear I feel as a solo founder in making decisions on my own, and slowly has gotten me to think positively and quiet the negative thoughts and just go for it.”
Founder of a big idea, a creative studio that launches brands and experiences to deepen our shared humanity.
“It’s less strategy and more practice, and it starts with making space for yourself through alone time, journaling, meditation, or whatever works for you. Once you clear out the noise, make space to really listen. Once you hear what your intuition is telling you, act on it. And then do that again and again.”
Founder and CEO of SHAYDE BEAUTY, creating science-backed skincare made with melanin in mind.
“Scientists call the stomach the “second brain” for a reason. For me, visualizing each scenario’s outcome is key—basically role playing it without overthinking it. Over the years I’ve realized that intuition is like a muscle. Your intuition can be strengthened with intentional focus and practice resulting in better decision making.”
Founder of Hamilton Raye “Your Outsourced Admin®”, providing fractional executive assistant solutions to other businesses to amplify their focus.
“I used to ignore signs such as butterflies or pain in my stomach as I thought it was me being ‘anxious’ or ‘dramatic.’ As soon as I realized it was my body’s natural intuition to provide a sign of good or bad to come, I have been able to navigate many challenging situations ahead of time. This results in more thoughtful planning and allows me to maintain calm and peace of mind during turbulent situations.”
Founder and CEO of Ethintegrity LLC, a consulting firm empowering forward-thinking organizations and professionals to solve complex ethics and compliance and DEI problems.
“The strategy I’ve found most helpful in getting me to trust my intuition is centering myself with breathwork and meditation. By calming my nervous system and clearing the clutter from my mind, I can tune into how my body feels and get clarity. Typically, when trying to figure out what to do, I sit quietly and allow the thoughts to come through like closed captions. I feel into the ideas, and when I feel a sense of peace, I know my intuition has been activated. Now, if I want a second opinion, I’ll ask for a particular sign to confirm my decision, which has always worked well for me.”
Co-Founder of Nomad Lane, a brand of elevated bags and accessories for stylish and organized professionals on the go.
“The most helpful strategy has been to talk about the situation out loud to someone who is knowledgeable in the area. It’s not so much about the advice they give but more about how I feel after hearing their advice. If I feel even stronger about my point of view after chatting it out, then I know I’m on the right path.”
Founder of GT Consulting, a direct-to-consumer marketing consultancy for health, wellness, beauty, and pet brands.
“Learning to trust life and trust myself. My body proves that I can trust every time I wake up without prompting, every time I breathe without a machine, and every time my heart beats without stimulation. We came into the world trusting that we will make it through a narrow canal, and still today we navigate narrow spaces with grace. When I trust life and myself, I trust the internal compass that has guided me this far.”
Author at Alcove Press, dedicated to publishing upmarket book club fiction.
“Making an action plan to support my emotions has been really helpful as I learn to trust my intuition. As I was writing more than 30 hours per week on the side while working full-time at Goldman Sachs, my intuition was telling me to take the leap and pursue my dream of being an author. But it wasn’t until I took tangible action steps—landing an agent, book deal, and saving enough money—before I could follow my intuition without being mired in fear and uncertainty. The balance of passion and practicality—following my head and my heart—has been key for me in trusting my intuition.”
Founder and CEO of Perkies, creating innovative undergarments for women to wear.
“As founders, we make hundreds of decisions every week and we don’t always have time to cross-check them with others. I truly believe that nobody knows your company as well as you do. So whatever decision you think is best for the company is probably the right one. One recent tangible result I’ve seen from ‘going with my gut’ is adding an extra color for a new product we’ll be launching in the fall!”
Founder and CEO of OTITỌ Executive Leadership Coaching, showing ambitious entrepreneurial leaders how to confidently accelerate into more impactful leadership positions.
“The most impactful strategy that I use for getting better at trusting my intuition is creating an evidence base for those intuitive hits. We often think that intuition isn’t real—that it isn’t tangible like data. But it is. It’s just data in a different form that we haven’t mastered yet. When I started trusting my intuitive hits, I saw a direct impact on my business. I started making strategic decisions quicker and more effortlessly and felt more confident in my decisions, resulting in faster progress and greater impact for me, my team, and my clients.”
Kodi Kitchen Berg
Founder of EQUIPT, creating fitness equipment fusing functionality and design.
“Reminding myself of my why. I had lived a life in front of the camera. After having my daughter, I was reminded of how I have always moved my body, that’s arm moves while hiking and planking while reading. The result of making these pieces and putting this content out has been loyal consumers. A woman called our line and said thank you. She was in her seventies and it was about time a fitness equipment company was made for those who live on their own terms. That spoke volumes.”
Co-Founder of My Founder Circle, a platform that helps female founders launch and scale their businesses.
“As simple as it sounds, taking time for a few deep breaths has helped me trust my intuition more. I try to take a few deep breaths to start the day and in between meetings on a busy day. It helps me recenter and feel more calm. As a founder, the days can feel hectic, but stopping for a moment, slowing down, and breathing helps me remember that I am in control of my day. It allows me to reconnect to myself and quiet my mind for a few moments. I am able to be much more proactive than reactive in my business. I do better work for my clients and I have booked more clients because I am calm and centered on sales calls!”
Founder of Brim and Bold Creative Studio, a branding and website design studio that specializes in crafting purpose-driven brand identities.
“I write down or take a mental note of the things that I know to be true about my motivation, time constraints, and passion when making a decision. This practice has allowed me the space to be trusting of my intuition, while still pushing myself out of my comfort level. This recently gave me the confidence to take on a larger multifaceted branding and website design project for NYC caterers and a hospitality conference design project.”
Founder of RYLEN, a design lab creating sustainable products, services, and meaningful human experiences.
“I give myself time to step away from that moment and that feeling, and will place myself in a completely different action, environment, and emotions. For example, taking walks in between meetings has helped me realize I need time to internalize. This also has helped me better understand myself and how much the decision, my conscious, or gut feeling is speaking to me. By then it is usually loud and clear what I must do or not do.”
Co-Founder of Plum Diamonds, a female-founded brand that crafts one-of-a-kind lab grown diamond rings in our own certified-sustainable jewelry manufacturer.
“I’ve started to really track my most successful decisions and actions. A common thread in most cases is that I had tapped into my intuition to help guide me. Knowing that I’ve got this record of positive results helps me trust my intuition. Collecting intuition data points, so to speak, gives me confidence.”
Leah Slote Feuer
Mind Organizer at Leah Feuer, helping creatives, entrepreneurs, and purpose-driven leaders bring their vision to life.
“In coaching sessions I share intuitive hits. Once it was a vision of a client with a lemon tree, other times it’s a color, or goosebumps when someone says something deeply true. I used to couch it with “this might sound crazy,” but I gained more confidence as people responded positively. It’s led to more inspired and empowered clients, opening their minds up to new possibilities and dreams for themselves. Personally, it’s also led to less chronic pain and some cool art.”
All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community and diverse ecosystem amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women through PR opportunities, authentic connection, and high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to its monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.