Intuition, gut instinct, an inner knowing – call it what you will – it’s powerful! It’s a valuable tool that we all have but it often gets buried or ignored. Following your intuition is an act of bravery. (Yeah you!) Oftentimes, it can put you at odds with people and what they think you should do. It can mean saying “NO” or having a tough, honest conversation. Sometimes, it can be hard to discern our inner guidance from the noise around us…or our own noisy head. Learning to listen to your intuition and letting it guide you in your business is a sure way to live a more fulfilling and authentic life – one that is true to you. Here’s how to tune into your intuition to make decisions – 5 steps I follow in my own practice.
I rely far more on gut instinct than researching huge amounts of statistics. – Richard Branson
What Is Intuition?
Before we dive into the ‘how to’ let’s talk about Intuition. What is it, exactly? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, Intuition is “The ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning,” or “A thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.”
According to the dictionary a la Lynn, intuition is that strong, silent voice in my gut, an inner knowing, the voice that whispers in my soul. It can also manifest as a physical feeling in my body. Understanding what intuition is not is just as helpful when you’re learning to listen to it. It is not that hamster wheel in your head. You know what I’m talking about. That racing mind, the over thinking that goes round and round when we are fearful, stressed, uncertain, or under pressure. It is not your inner critic. Nor is it a feeling of guilt or shame.
A Note On Ignoring Your Intuition
Some of us have spent so long ignoring or suppressing our intuition that it’s gotten very quiet or even shut up entirely. Like, “OK, your stubborn ass isn’t going to listen anyways…so good luck out there!” (Que the universe smacking you upside the head with the same lesson on repeat.) This can be particularly true for people who have engaged in self-destructive patterns for a prolonged period of time, or given up their power to others.
When I was a young mom, I ignored my intuition and stayed in a dangerous abusive relationship for way too long as I’ve written about in a previous post. When you’ve ignored your instincts again and again, it takes time and practice to get back in alignment and start trusting and acting on your inner guidance.
My number one tip is: Have patience and compassion with yourself, regardless of what stage of learning to listen you are in.
How To Tune Into Your Intuition To Make Decisions – 5 Steps I Follow
Every now and then, I’ll get an intuitive lighting strike. Boom! There’s the answer. Loud and clear. Other times, it takes a bit more work or intentional “listening”. Everyone is different, but this is what I like to do when I need to listen for an intuitive answer in my business or in life.
- I clear out my emotions. If I’m in a state of fear, anger, or another strong emotion, it’s hard to listen. I need to pause and wait to calm down. It makes me think of the ocean in Hawai’i, which was home before I became a digital nomad. On the beach you’ll often see tourists trying to snorkel and see the reef and marine life when there’s giant waves breaking. They can’t see anything because the water is all stirred up. Best to wait for the storm to pass.
- I find a quiet, peaceful space. If I can, I like to be in nature with my toes in the sand or in the grass. There’s something very grounding about being in skin to skin contact with the natural world.
- I call in the question, problem, or situation I need an answer on. I sit quietly and listen to any responses in my body. How do I feel? If I’m still not getting a good read on the situation, sometimes I will ask myself simple questions and then listen for an answer. Is this the direction I want to go? Am I being proactive, or reactive? Is this coming from a place of fear?
- If I still don’t have clarity, I pause. It’s OK to take time to make a decision. Often, the answer will come to me suddenly later that day or week. Typically when I am in the shower or working out. I keep my eyes and ears open. It can come from any and all sources.
- I check for flow. Once I have the intuitive answer and begin down that path, things tend to flow easily. If I’m really struggling or trying to force or control something, that usually is a sign that something isn’t right. I need to go back to the drawing board.
Things That Can Interfere With Your Intuition
It’s not the cruel criticism from folks who hate us that scares us away from our Knowing; it’s the quiet concern of those who love us. – Glennon Doyle
As you practice listening to your intuition and using it to make decisions in your business and in your life, you will meet with some interference. I certainly have! It can come from both internal and external sources so it’s good to be aware. Here are a few examples of things that can get in the way of our intuition:
- Other’s opinions (especially loved ones)
- Too much “noise” externally and internally
- Wanting to ‘people please’ or make others happy
- Emulating/following in the footsteps of others who have been successful
- Fear of change
- Lack of trust in ourselves
- Our nasty inner critic
Practice, Practice, Practice
My experience is that the more I practice listening to my intuition, the stronger it gets. It’s like doing pushups or squats. At first it’s hard and your ass is on fire. But when you work out regularly your muscles get bigger and it gets easier. Keep working that intuitive muscle!
You will mess up. You will give in to people pleasing or making others happy. Sometimes, you’ll mistake the hamster brain or your dad’s opinion for your intuition and make a decision that doesn’t fit. But it’s all a learning experience. It’s all gravy.
When you go against your intuition, you will become more and more aware of that inner voice saying “Ummmm this doesn’t feel right…” And when you do listen and and you’re in the flow there is nothing quite like it. It feels ahhhhhhmazinggg!!! And you deserve to feel that way, my friend. 🙂
What is your experience with listening to (or ignoring) your intuition in your business and life? Is there anything you do that helps you tune in? I’d love to hear your story! Drop me a line.