Intuition is important for all leaders, but it’s even more important in the spa and wellness industry. This is because in this sector, every team member, no matter how junior or senior, should be demonstrating great levels of empathy and personal insight – not just to each other but to their valued guests.
This means reading moods and emotions, knowing when someone wants to talk or to be quiet, and just generally reading how to be with each individual person because everyone is different. And if you can intuit a spa guest’s needs and wants, personalize not just your services and treatments but your interactions as well, you’ll be so far ahead in this game, you’ll be basically unstoppable.
Highly developed intuition is a “secret weapon,” Judith Orloff, MD, professor of psychiatry at UCLA and author of Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Extraordinary Story and Shows You How to Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom told Inc.com. “It gives you all kinds of information you wouldn’t normally have. This isn’t the brain analyzing; this is nonlinear knowledge. It’s a second kind of intelligence. You want to use both.”
Developing your intuition will make you a better leader, and help you better understand your team and business needs. It will also make you a more well rounded person and help you strengthen your relationships in other parts of your life. All good things.
Here are nine tips that will help you develop your intuition, which will allow you to make better business decisions, and build powerful relationships with your staff and your spa customers.
Have a sacred space. Judith Orloff told me on the phone. “It’s important to have a sacred space so you can be with yourself. Ask the questions you need to ask, then go inward and listen to any images, impressions, sights, smells, or feelings that come to you, and then write it all down in a journal.” Keep a log of what you’re experiencing, so you can then figure out what you’re trying to tell yourself.
Listen to your gut. If you have a gut feeling about somebody, listen to it. Orloff says, “If you get a feeling of tightness in your gut, or your gut says something feels right,” don’t ignore it. Avoid resisting what you’re trying to tell yourself.
Turn off the mind. “The key is to get out of your head,” says Orloff. “One exercise is to get quiet. Just find three minutes of time, close the door, close your eyes, breathe out your stress, and just listen to what your body is telling you about something. Intuition doesn’t come through your mind. It comes from your body.”
Learn from the past. Haven’t we all been in situations where we had a bad feeling about something, but we ignored it, and we turned out to be right? Your experience with people and relationships will guide you in your current relationships. And your past experience with business will do the same for your work life. Don’t make the same mistakes again. Despite the idea that “intuition” doesn’t come from the mind, sometimes what we call “intuition” is just learning.
Learn to read people. Continuing on the above theme, much of what we call intuition is also just paying attention and opening your eyes to the world around you. Body language cues are constant, and learning to read them is key to connecting with people. The internet is full of tips on how to read people.
Use all of your senses. Scientific research suggests that we can smell emotions, including fear and anxiety in others. We can also hear it in their voices, and see it in their faces. And we can sense happiness and sadness, when we pay attention. A massage therapist can obviously feel when someone is stressed. Listen and sense for cues that might suggest that someone needs a little more attention and kindness, or perhaps some distance. Or if something you usually enjoy tastes strange to you, it might suggest that your own emotions are off kilter. Don’t just see and hear. Look, listen, and feel.
Listen to more than people’s words. Orloff says “When you really listen to people talk, you begin to listen to their hearts. You listen to their words, and as they’re talking you can intuitively sense what elements of what they’re saying have higher energy, what is really important to them. When I listen to someone talk, I listen to which statements pop out more, what feels most important.”
Pay attention to your dreams. “If you have a question,” says Orloff, “you can often find the answer in your dreams. Ask the question and In the morning, write down your dream and see what the answer is.”
Lissa Rankin, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute, and author of Mind Over Medicine, The Fear Cure, and The Anatomy of a Calling, writes in an article that “when you’re sleeping, your cognitive mind rests and opens space for the subconscious mind to signal you in dreams.”
Meditate. Meditation allows you to focus, and to listen. Lissa Rankin also writes, “Messages from your intuition tend to be quiet, so spending time in silence will help you hear and interpret these messages.”
Listening is the key skill to just about everything on this list. Listen to others, to yourself, to your gut, to your body, and to the world around you.
They’re all trying to tell you something.
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