How Do You Make Decisions?

I subscribe to Jason Hirschhorn’s curated news lists: @MediaREDEF (music + tech + pop interest remix) and @FashionREDEF (fashion + business + culture + tech mix), which is curated by Adam Wray. One of my favorite parts of Hirschhorn’s curated emails, besides the fact they arrive with consistency, which gains and builds my trust, is his opening “rantnrave://” where he delivers a quick-witted, op-ed overview of the content to follow. As well, he typically begins with a relevant quote.

Today, I opened Hirschhorn’s @FashionREDEF (by Adam Wray) to the following quote:

I make all my decisions on intuition. But then, I must know why I made that decision. I throw a spear into the darkness. That is intuition. Then I must send an army into the darkness to find the spear. That is intellect. Ingmar Bergman
Intuition - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon Intuition - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon

When I read Bergman’s quote, I about fell out of my chair because I “got it,” right away. I was so happy to read Bergman’s quote because I typically go with my intuition and gut first when starting a new chess game in business, or life, and then I seem to just know what pawn to move next. Left to my own devices, I got the board covered.

For myself, even though I see the big picture with my “third eye” (intuition), my biggest battle of subscribing to intuition first in decision-making is effectively communicating my moves to anyone who might need to understand my message (goal, reasons, gut-know) from their rational, left-brain in order to help me facilitate, or to participate in my quest to find the spear, least not think I was crazy. Just because I see the full picture, doesn’t mean everyone else around me does. It also doesn’t mean that I know how to get there. But, the last thing an intuition-based person needs is 20-questions from left-field about “why, who, what, when, where, and how much,” before basking in all possibilities grand. If you can’t intuit, dream it, or think it up, it’s DOA before it arrives…because it won’t.

Chess Board - Hotel Haven in Helsinki, Finland / Photo by Kathleen Blackwell Chess Board - Hotel Haven in Helsinki, Finland / Photo by Kathleen Blackwell

So, how do I combat other’s opinions and questions before making my first move? Generally, as I make my first move on intuition, and try to prove my gut concept, I’ve learned that sometimes the less said up front to family, friends, or even business acquaintances, the better, and if communication is spoken, it’s best to remain unemotional in delivery, as intuition is often guided by feelings:

The simplest way to make sense of why and how intuition works is to think of it as an advanced pattern recognition device. Your subconscious mind somehow finds links between your new situation and various patterns of your past experiences. You may not recall most of the details of those experiences. And even if you did, it may be very hard to express the lessons you learnt in a form acceptable for analytical reasoning. Yet, your subconscious mind still remembers the patterns learnt. It can rapidly project your new circumstances onto those patterns and send you a message of wisdom. That message comes as your inner voice and will most likely be expressed in the language of your feelings. The Time Management Guide.com

Specifically, I’ve found one strategic way I can implement intuition is to hire independent contractors to do specific tasks for me, which they can often do more efficiently than I could do alone, and that typically forgoes the deluge of overarching, are-you-crazy questions from the get-go—allowing me to do battle to find the spear. When I found and started my designer apron line, Saucy-Wear (featured at Williams-Sonoma, Neiman Marcus, and Sur La Table), I used the following strategy to implement my intuition from gut to goal: Hire an independent contractor to do a specific task that leads you closer to the spear.

5 examples of independent contractors to hire to begin building your intuition journey:

  1. A sample sewer (i.e. a skilled professional to make your prototype) <= leads to a local manufacturer, leads to an international manufacturer, leads to scaling production.
  2. a logo designer (i.e. a skilled designer to establish your image) <= leads to a graphic designer for labels, brochures, banners, textiles, and overall image branding.
  3. a technical web specialist (i.e. a tech enthusiast to cover online bases + implement the latest trends) <= leads to building an online presence with carry-through across current social networks and business mediums.
  4. a professional photographer , or videographer (because lighting ALWAYS matters) <= creates a professional look, which is absolutely necessary for credibility building, and again for overall image and branding.
  5. a local sales rep (i.e. someone willing to schlep your product, or service, and work on commission) <= to determine interest, which leads to a regional sales rep who covers account territory across state boundaries—i.e. they handle a region of the United States, like the NorthWest, or SouthEast—or Canada, Europe, etc., and they typically supply business-practice information about their territory that you may not necessarily know up-front without them.

Side note: When asked who my audience is for my next album, my response was “the whole world” because to me, music is in everybody, it’s everywhere. There is life, death, and music. My point? There are only a certain amount of general, umbrella categories that have big audiences built-in which to base and build a business. For example, we all eat, sleep, and wear clothes. We need shelter, love, and family. We work, play [entertainment/music], try to exercise, have a hobby, and/or subscribe to a certain belief, like religion. While there are always exceptions, pick a broad category, and then go all out. Start with the umbrella [industry], and then make your business fit a spoke [subset]. With aprons, the umbrella category was food—very basic—and the spoke was presentation.

You have to create relatable content that applies to the masses. Branden Hampton / How to Create a 7 Figure Social Media Empire with Branden Hampton

Yes, there are crowd-sourced logo design services, like 99 Designs, and DIY web development services, like Weebly, which I like, though I have found that I prefer to hire a specific person in varying categories, as it eliminates the middle-ground. I typically find people I like (designers, photographers) perusing Craigslist to start, and prototype developers, or sales reps, via trade shows and word-of-mouth. Just look for examples of products, services, photos, images that you like (respond to) and yes, go with your gut.

Intuition 2 - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon Intuition 2 - Kathleen Blackwell - Photography by Mark Guerra / Styling by Leah Moon

In the end, finding that spear is all about the process of development from the inside out—from intuition to the spearhead. Using my intuition first is just the way I operate, it’s my modus-operandi, and thus far it has served me well. By hiring a handful of strategic, independent contractors like I mentioned above, you can test your intuition on a professional level without too much gruff to determine whether or not to keep moving on your gut, or start a new game.

Of course, you could always forgo the independent contractors, create everything yourself, and quietly test your intuition on a service like Unbounce, where you’d build a landing page and pay for GoogleAds (or the likes) to target your audience, to determine interest. I’m just terribly picky about design, and prefer to hire a professional in a few key areas because they add value to the sphere outside of myself.

For fun: To find out which chakra you are guided by, you can take a personality quiz at PlayBuzz.com. What chakra did you get?

When I took the quiz, I got The Third Eye: “The Third Eye is located at the center of the forehead. If you are guided by this chakra it means that you are guided mainly by your intuition. You can trust your instincts to lead you in the right path and on the way you are good at giving wisdom to others. Your mind is your greatest strength.”

Somehow, I wasn’t surprised! How do you make decisions?