The power of intuition

How can we pay better attention to our intuition before something bad happens?

We are all born with the gift of intuition. Tapping into your intuition will strengthen your effectiveness as a volunteer manager or youth worker and may even save a life. The Oxford dictionary defines intuition as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” Unfortunately, we often ignore our intuition or try to rationalize our apprehension towards a person or situation. It is important to listen to that little voice or the gut feeling as they are equally valuable as other information you gather.

Intuition is an important tool when screening potential volunteers. I was recently in a training provided by Friends for Youth utilizing their SAFE publication. Something the detective said stuck with me. He told us that every time he has investigated a child molestation case there was a woman in the picture who said, “I knew something wasn’t right.” How can we pay better attention to our intuition before something bad happens?

  • Don’t ignore you intuitive feelings, even if you have no evidence to back them up.
  • Try to determine what is striking you the wrong way. Does the person have poor boundaries? Is there something off with his or her manner or tone? What is making you uncomfortable? Be sure to consider whether it is personality conflict or some other difference.
  • It can be helpful to get another opinion from a colleague or friend. Don’t ask leading questions, just see what the other person thinks.
  • Look for inconsistencies, talking around the question and lack of long-term peer relationships
  • If your intuition is telling you that you are not safe, get out of the situation quickly.

If possible, attend a SAFE training to help you better understand those who seek to harm children and youth. Knowing more about these offenders can help strengthen your intuition. Michigan State University Extension will be providing SAFE training in fall 2015.

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