Have you ever heard someone say, “Wow, I’m so glad I didn’t listen to my gut?”
Neither have I, nor has anyone to whom I’ve posed that question. Yet we all have plenty of examples of instances where our gut gets to the point where it needs to practically scream at us to make a decision one way or another — and we’ve ignored it.
And after experiencing some kind of entirely avoidable consequence, we pledge, “next time I’m going to listen.”
Then there are public figures such as Richard Branson, Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Albert Einstein, who despite their work in different arenas, all speak openly about the value of listening to their gut instincts.
We all have this voice inside us. And it seems to not only be looking out for our best interest, but has a very high rate of being right. Might that be something worth exploring?
Your gut instinct, also known as intuition, is the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
Given society places a heavy value on fact-based, rationale decision making, we may feel sheepish acknowledging that intuition plays a role in guiding our decisions — especially decisions related to something as important as our careers.
Much of how we’re taught to make career decisions is based on rational processes: Creating a check list based on what’s important, gathering information online and through informational interviews, examining industry trends, etc. What does the job pay? Does it match your skills? What’s the growth potential?
But what about this other less definable intuitive area? How can we use that to help us in making the best possible choices when it comes to our career?
For starters, by not ignoring it. Think back to your last few big decisions, and those where you followed your intuition and those where you didn’t. Which decisions turned out best? If you find that your best decisions were ones in which you listened to your gut, it can be helpful to look closely at how your intuition speaks to you.
It might speak to you through feelings in your body or emotions; for example, through excitement (clairsentience). Perhaps it speaks to you in the form of a knowing — you don’t know why, but you just know one option will work out best, even if you don’t have any logical reason for believing so (claircognizance). Other ways our intuition can speak to us: through images that pop into our head, seemingly out of nowhere, or arrive through dreams (clairvoyance). Or it might be something that comes to you through your hearing (clairaudience). As every person is different, every person can have their own way of receiving intuitive guidance.
Here’s a technique for actively tapping into your intuition and getting clarity on a yes/no question. Close your eyes, think about something you love, immerse yourself with that feeling. You may notice a slight expansion inside your belly, or a lightening, or possibly a lifting up. This feeling will be your ‘yes.’ Now do the opposite. Think about something you don’t like, and fill yourself up with that negative feeling. It may feel like a contraction, a darkening, or a heaviness. This feeling will be your ‘no.’ When you have a decision to make (perhaps, should I take this job?), close your eyes, get still, ask yourself the question and see what it feels like inside – like your yes or your no.
There are a multitude of ways to tap into your intuition. It is a form of communication that is particular to each one of us, and is designed to assist us. We can go about our career path in intellectual ways, but there’s help available. So why not tune into it and take the inspired action being offered?