“a natural ability or power that makes it possible to know something without any proof or evidence : a feeling that guides a person to act a certain way without fully understanding why.”
And maybe that is why it scares us so much to trust our own intuition. Our society values evidence above feelings and we are taught from a very young age to believe what we are taught, even if it doesn’t feel or sit right. We often hide our own intuition and go against our gut feelings because we perceive other people’s feelings and reactions as more important than our own.
But what if we flipped our thinking and relied more on our own intuition and led our lives to our own beat?
That is essentially what listening to my intuition or gut feeling is for me. A great example of this recently was when I was asked to join a network marketing opportunity. Now, I have been involved with two other network marketing companies before and they just didn’t feel right for me. I never bought in to the way they work and have even lost someone I thought was a really good friend over the sales tactics that one of these companies used. But as I listened to the sales pitch, I let my logical mind and promise of cash override my intuition and I got sucked in – AGAIN! I signed up and started the online training but that terrible niggle wouldn’t go away. Eventually I decided to meditate on what was bothering me and I ‘tried on’ different scenarios – one where I remained a member and one where I didn’t – and really tuned in to the feelings that went with each one.
Yup, you guessed it – the scenario where I was no longer part of it and followed my own business dream made me feel light, free, excited, inspired and creative whilst the scenario of putting a lot of effort into network marketing made me feel sluggish, heavy, demotivated and just like another cog in a wheel. So, the very next morning I sent all of my information back, cancelled my training and left a message for the person who had recruited me. I apologised for wasting their time and wished them well, because at the end of the day this type of business works for them and they love it. When I put the phone down I had a huge smile on my face and I felt free again. My own business got far more attention that week and I have a clearer image of where I want to be simply from knowing where I didn’t want to be.
My point? My intuition was right on the money the first time and yet I still ignored it and followed someone else. BUT, as soon as I realised this, I had the courage to change the situation – and that’s my lesson from all of this – it is NEVER too late to change your mind and follow your own intuition.
In January 2014 I wrote Bravely Trusting My Intuition and it is just as relevant today as it was then. Hey, I’m still learning and as my story above proves, I still forget sometimes too!
As part of my post last year I shared three steps to getting you started on trusting your own intuition, and I thought it would be great to share them again here:
- Give yourself time – if someone asks you to do something you really aren’t sure about, give yourself permission to take some time to think about it. Ask if you can get back to them once you’ve made a decision and don’t feel rushed into answering on the spot. Spend some time thinking about the request and how it makes you feel. Do you feel excited and nervous (if so, it may just be a fear of the unknown and something you really do want to do) or does it make you feel sick, frustrated or resentful (these are generally good reasons not to do it). Working your way through your feelings is the best way to start listening and trusting your own intuition.
- Stick to your guns – if you really don’t want to do what you have been asked, make sure you stick to your guns when you say no as people who are used to you accepting any request will take a while to get used to the new you! They may try to cajole you into whatever it is they want as they think you’ll go back to doing as they ask.
- It’s OK to change your mind – as you practice following your gut instinct you will sometimes read the signs and follow the wrong one. Trust me, that’s OK and normal, but the important part is that you actually change direction once you know you’re on the wrong path. Don’t be stubborn and get resentful; instead admit that you’ve had a change of heart and start down the right path. It’s important to correct yourself (but not berate yourself) as you go along so that you learn to read the signs better next time.
Be brave and trust that you know yourself better than anyone else does – it really is worth taking that leap.