I was too bold when I entered into the work force at the age of 21. Outspoken and unafraid, when my gut told me something was wrong or unsettling, I didn’t hold back from voicing my opinion – even if that meant calling out against a VP in front of the entire company. When I was let go, I realized that the fire I brought into the workplace could burn me as well. A heavy shower of reality doused my fire into a flickering flame.
Looking back now, I stand by my instinctual feelings, however the way in which I articulated myself was terrible. My lack of experience led me to rely solely on my instincts – knee jerk reactions that weren’t well thought out but had good intention. In the aftermath of losing my job, I became scared of authority. Whenever a boss asked to speak with me, my heart rate raced and I immediately feared the worst. To protect myself, I recoiled and closed down, only voicing my opinion after I had digested my instinct and properly processed it. I found myself pausing more before I spoke instead of blurting out the first thoughts that entered into my head. My intuition was igniting as I slowly learned how to control my instincts.
In April 2016, Brenda Finley challenged our Connections: Mentorship Circle to reflect on our instincts. Retelling her story of being unlawfully arrested in the Middle East in her late twenties, Brenda recounted situations where she had been forced to rely on her instincts and intuition to ensure her survival. As drama unfolded with little time to process her thoughts, Brenda had no choice but to listen to her gut. At particularly pivotal moments in her story, Brenda paused and gave our group the opportunity to jot down what our instinctual reactions were had we been in her shoes. At one moment in the story, while Brenda described having a gun pointed at her head, she asked our group, “What would you do?”
After Brenda’s keynote, upon reviewing my instincts, I realized that my reactions were passive compared to Brenda’s. Thinking about a gun pointed at me, my instincts told me to be non-confrontational and to timidly ask, “Can I help you?” Brenda, on the other hand, had boldly pushed the gun out of her face and shouted, “Stop that RIGHT NOW!” Brenda had leveraged an ideal balance between instincts and intuition. While in the Middle East, Brenda was young, but she knew who to pressure and who to acquiesce to. Her instincts had been trained and tempered by her intuition. This, is the key to success under pressure: you must balance your internal instincts and reactions against your intuition and the environment you’re acting within. At 21, I was able to differentiate between a good and bad idea for business but I could not effectively and appropriately communicate this to my leaders. Now, further along in my career I have honed my intuition so that I can now wield the fire of my instincts without burning myself or others with my actions.
Connections: Mentorship Circle was founded by Finley & Associates with a simple purpose: empower and support young professionals who may face discrimination in a positive environment, while discussing relevant issues.
Our next session is scheduled for June 4; if you are interested in learning more about our group, please do not hesitate to connect with me directly or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org