A couple of years ago I was offered an incredible job. It was everything that I was looking for- great salary, amazing location, and fantastic exposure. But as I sat there looking at the contract something inside was telling me to say no. It made no sense to me. I had made tons of pro and con lists. I had asked most of my friends and family. From all sides, it seemed like the right decision. And yet, the knot in my stomach wouldn’t go away. But instead of listening to it, I told myself that I was probably nervous, and I went ahead and signed on the dotted line.
Flash forward to 6 months later where I hated my life.
I think I can safely say that we have all been there. We have all had that moment where we knew something was so incredibly right or wrong for us even though we had no idea why. There were no facts to back up this feeling. All there was, was a deep knowing of the truth.
That’s your intuition. It’s that innate knowledge rooted in all of us. Some call it the highest self, the soul or their gut. Whatever name you choose, it’s that moment where a feeling inside us tells us what’s best.
As women, I believe, intuition is one of our superpowers. That’s not to say that men don’t have it, they do. But as females we have been given an easier ability to access it. Unfortunately, we live in a society that has shamed or conditioned us out of using this power. We’ve been taught that facts are more important than feelings.
But I know that we have all had a moment that seemed so illogical but felt so right. That was your intuition guiding you. Did you listen?
Many of us don’t. Most of us are so out of touch with our intuition that we don’t trust it. When you haven’t listened to your intuition in a while, it can be scary to make a big decision based on it. But intuition is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. And your intuition can become one of your greatest assets as a business woman. It will always steer you in the right direction. As my boss lady mentor, Bozoma Saint John said, “my spirit always [knows] what to do, and more often than not — actually no, every single time — that I did not listen to what my spirit was telling me, it was wrong — even if I rationalized it to myself.”
Yup, we’ve all been there. The moment we realize that all the pro and con lists we made and all the outside opinions we asked for were useless. We should have just listened to our gut, because it was right all along.
So how do we strengthen our intuition?
Figure out the Language of your Gut
Our intuition communicates with each of us in its own unique way. Some people say it’s a voice. Others will describe it as a pang in the heart or a gut feeling. It can also be a combination of many things.
To help get in touch with your intuition, remember a time when you had a feeling that you should or shouldn’t do something even though that feeling made no sense. It could have been telling you to not trust someone or to decline an opportunity that seemed perfect, but the message was loud and clear in your body. That’s an intuitive moment. Now hone in on how your body responded and communicated with you in that moment. That’s the language of your intuition.
Ego VS Intuition
Of course, sometimes it can be difficult to figure out who is speaking to us. Often our ego gets in the way of intuition. Now when I say ego, I don’t mean that part of you that is boastful or prideful. I mean that part of you that is all consumed with fear and fearful thoughts. Both voices, ego and intuition, are trying to protect you but their “why’s” are very different.
Ego is grounded in fear and can be loud. It yells “Look at me!”, and is concerned with worst case scenarios. Intuition can feel scary, because it asks us to do uncomfortable things, but it’s a centered voice. It’s often quieter because it’s rooted in who you are. When you make an intuitive decision you feel grounded, even if the decision doesn’t make sense in that moment.
You can figure out the difference by channeling the energy behind your thoughts. Ego-based thoughts have anxious and nervous energy behind them. Intuition-based thoughts have a calm, centered energy to them.
One way to gradually strengthen your intuition is to use it in low-risk circumstances. For example, if you’re at a restaurant and there are a couple items you can’t decide between, go with your gut. Ask yourself “What do I really desire?”, and decide based on what your body says. Start with small things and as you trust that voice more, it will strengthen.
In order to hear intuition we need to consciously make space for it. Everyday we’re thinking hundreds of thoughts, and sometimes that internal dialogue can make it hard for intuition to stand out.
When it comes down to it, when you trust your intuition, you’re actually trusting yourself. And that is the number one person you need to trust as you become the total boss that you are.
Meditation is a great way to create mental space. It allows you to quiet your mind and ground your body, so the most nurturing thoughts can come through.
Journaling is also an incredible tool. It helps you distinguish between the different voices in your head. It helps sift through the chaos of your thoughts. Journaling clears the mind so we can see which thoughts are fear-based and which are rooted in intuition.
Intuition can be one of the greatest tools you use when making big decisions. But, if it’s been a while since you’ve listened to it, be kind and gentle with yourself. It’s all about building trust. I promise you that over time it will strengthen and you’ll be making intuitive based decisions without even knowing it. When it comes down to it, when you trust your intuition, you’re actually trusting yourself. And that is the number one person you need to trust as you become the total boss that you are.
To get BEING Bold delivered right to your inbox, sign up here. You'll also be the first to know when The Collective (of Us) reopens to new members.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shirin is a certified professional life coach accredited by the International Coach Federation. Her holistic approach to transformation is influenced by her work in the arts, meditation, Buddhism and spirituality. Her mission is to bring more purpose, passion and joy to her client’s lives.
An avid speaker, she leads workshops on mindset and intuition throughout New York City for companies including Brand Assembly, Ludlow House and Splendid Spoon.
She is a featured wellness expert for the Today Show and Cosmopolitan Magazine.
Visit her website here.
Follow her on Instagram here.