Listening to, rather than fighting against, your better judgment is the single most powerful tool you have in making changes in your life for the better. They key is knowing how to tap into it.
For many years I resolved to make career changes, always focusing on what I needed to do to improve things – a promotion, a change in role, a change in boss, a change in industry, a change in focus. In the end I discovered none of it made any difference, the career path I’d chosen simply wasn’t who I am. The trouble was I wasn’t clear on who that really is.
Yet one of my deepest beliefs is that I’m here for a reason, and so it was extremely frustrating to work in a job after job that just didn’t seem to serve that purpose. Uncovering that sense of purpose became a lot clearer when I started to uncover more of myself, living my life outwardly as I felt inwardly. When becoming unfailingly authentic became my focus things started to shift.
Knowing what we believe about ourselves and why we are here are some of the most profound and liberating things you can ponder because it gives you a powerful perspective that will enable you to live a life of purpose and fulfillment.
Your intuitive knowing is never as clear as times like this when you have had some time away from your daily routine. If you have promised yourself that you need to take a good look at your life in some way (career, relationships, health etc), first step back from that specific issue and take a moment to start to really articulate the BIG picture for yourself.
Believing I am here for a purpose didn’t stem from anything I was taught as I grew up, it stemmed from tuning in to the strong pull I felt any time I heard someone talking about their own story; in films, songs, books, magazines and on stage. Each time I’d hear that I would feel so inspired and the gap in my own life became more obvious.
Listening to that pull is your inner judgement. It’s not about rationalizing something in your mind, it’s about tuning into what you feel when you hear and see things around you. If you feel good you know you are on track, if you feel bad you know you are not. It’s that simple.
One of my biggest regrets is a time when I acted against my better judgment, taking relationship advice from a mentor that I still have a great respect for today. While the relationship endured, I can’t help but wonder at the harm that acting on that advice did. Listening to others is one thing; acting on their advice is another. No matter how together and worldly wise that person is, use their advice only to help you uncover your own knowing. If it feels good, go with it. If it doesn’t – don’t.
A word to the wise though. Distinguish between the good feelings that arise when you are inspired and the bad feelings that may follow when you then allow your mind to concoct all the reasons you might fail. You are wanting to listen to the inspiration, not your inner naysayer, your mind.
If you dwell on the stories of the mind you will end up stuck. Use your mind as a tool to get what your intuition is telling you is right. Deliberately ask yourself what needs to be true in order for a shift to occur. Start thinking about the possibilities of you achieving it in your life, even if that seems remote, dwell on what it would feel like.
To be clear, your job is only to figure out the what, not the how. All those years I spent searching for the right thing, reading career book after career book. The phrase “if it’s going to be it’s up to me” ringing in my head. Not realizing my job was simply to hold on to the feeling of what I wanted, to look for those feelings in my life that already existed and to focus more upon those than the lack I felt otherwise.
If you are constantly focused on the lack of something you will hold what you really want at bay. If you want it badly enough it will eventually come but it will be hard won. We are so programmed to believe it’s all up to us that we fail to recognize the role of serendipity and coincidence in our lives.
Look at the things in your life already that were game changers. How did you meet your partner? How did you get that dream job? How did you find your favourite hobby? Often these things find you, they are not hard work, they just ‘happen’.
Whatever you have resolved to tackle this year, doing it from a perspective of knowing yourself and your place here will greatly affect your chances of success. Answering the big questions isn’t about trusting in what your friends or family or some other trusted source believes, or finding rote answers in religious doctrines, it’s about learning to trust your own inner knowing above all else.
It’s normal to seek answers outside of yourself, from the moment we are born society teaches us not to trust our own perspective and we get told what is best for us. However this ignores the more relevant and powerful tool you have within, your inner judgment. Use what you find outside of yourself like a succession of clues, uncovering things that really resonate. When you hear your truth you will know it.
Over the New Year I was talking to some good friends about what we believed and one talked about their strong feeling that there is no ‘god’ in the common way that God is conveyed as some separate, higher, entity. Yet, she did feel a sense of spirituality, that there’s something bigger than us. She wondered if she owed it to her kids to take them to a church, just to experience it.
What she said next really resonated with me, that she heard some good stuff taught but just didn’t buy into the construct. In my late teens I remember actively learning about many of the world’s religions, thinking that much of the central messages and themes were the same and that they couldn’t all be right.
For many years my inner being was on red alert every time I even got a sniff of anything remotely religious. That changed when I finally figured out for myself what I did truly believe, it was liberating as I am now able to listen to what others are saying beyond some of the language and common definitions that are used.
People have created cultures and practices that can oftentimes focus more on the messengers rather than the messages they taught. Worse, many of the doctrines are others' interpretations of those messages. Whether you are religious or not, it still boils down to this, if you think something is off, it probably is. You are your own best judge of what’s right for you.
It’s well known that the further you are from a problem the smaller it seems. If you figure out the big questions in life for yourself, you’ll always have that much bigger perspective you can look through the lens of when you are contemplating your resolutions.
I recently heard someone say that the deeper we go within ourselves, the bigger an impact we make. There is simply no better time to contemplate the big stuff than when you have been outside of you usual routine. Listen to that inner voice of yours, it’s got your best interests at heart and can propel you towards your best future.
Dance to the beat of your own drum and the rhythm of life will bring you the happiness and success you are looking for.
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124394042@N01/2702827219">Dancing at sunset</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(license)</a>
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