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Inner Guidance

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Weekly Impact is written for leaders by our Executive Director, Garth Jestley, who has decades of experience in senior leadership roles in the financial services sector. Each week he will share insights on life, leadership and faith.

I was thinking recently about “inner guidance” one form of which is called intuition. Merriam-Webster defines intuition as “quick and ready insight.” Some call it “gut feel.” In business, intuition can help us avoid unending analysis of opportunities and problems (aka “analysis paralysis”).

One example that comes to mind from my venture capital days is the “excitement rule”, which our teams applied to distinguish between investment prospects worth investigating and those that were not. The rule: Only pursue investments that really excite us during our initial meeting with the entrepreneur.

In my experience, the merits of investment opportunities invariably deteriorate during due diligence. Thus, it makes sense to commence the investigation on a high note, since it is usually all downhill from there! In fact, in the venture capital business, most opportunities are discarded during the due diligence phase. In support of the excitement rule, Harvard published a study many years ago looking at returns from investments that passed the excitement test versus those that did not. The former significantly outperformed the latter.

Those of us with many years of marketplace leadership typically possess an advantage over our younger colleagues. When examining a new opportunity, we can filter it through a grid of extensive experiential data that often prompts quick insights. Of course, this experiential grid, which is based upon historical data, can sometimes undermine our ability to discern investment prospects worth pursuing. For example, opportunities involving breakthrough market insights such as the demand for new technologies may require fresh thinking unencumbered by the status quo.

I discovered that I did not have to leave my brain at the door while living out my faith.

Believers in Jesus possess an additional form of inner guidance that is spiritually, rather than intellectually, grounded. Its source is a Person, not past experience. In the Bible, Jesus said, “All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” (John 14:25-26)

I knew with certainty that Jesus is alive the moment I entrusted my life to Him. Since I cannot physically see Jesus, I cannot explain this phenomenon using my intellect. Notwithstanding, I can confidently assert that Jesus is alive because the Holy Spirit (also called the Spirit of truth and the Spirit of Christ) lives inside me and bears witness to this truth. During my years in marketplace leadership, this spiritual inner voice became my most important guide for decision-making, both professional and personal.

Years following my encounter with Jesus, I discovered that I did not have to leave my brain at the door while living out my faith. In fact, there is a wealth of evidence to intellectually support my belief in Jesus. However, there remains a fundamental difference between knowing about Jesus and knowing Him!

How about you? Is Jesus someone you only know about or do you actually know Him?

Garth Jestley is a husband, father, grandfather, leader and business executive. Most importantly, he is a follower of Jesus Christ.