Trust your instincts.
How many times have you heard that piece of advice? About two billion? Me, too. Or maybe it just feels like that. Is it helpful? Maybe. Sometimes.
If trusting our instincts was so easy, I bet we’d all have a much better track record of career and life decisions. Sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what message our instincts are sending. Please tell me I’m not the only one.
Before we trust our instincts, we have to know what they are. Another word for your instincts is your gut. I like this way of saying it, because it’s more clear that we’re talking about our bodies.
For anything we grapple with, our body has highly valuable information. Always. We just need to connect to it. Here’s how we do that:
- Get quiet. Turn off anything that's making noise or has the potential to. Put away or turn away from all your screens. Turn off all your notifications.
- Get still. Find a physical position that's comfortable and relaxed.
- Breathe. Find a deep, slow, quiet rhythm.
- Notice. Bring your attention and curiosity to your body. What sensations do you perceive? It's okay if you don't notice anything right away. And don't worry if you can't make sense of it or even put it into words. Just start getting familiar with how your body feels.
That's it. For now, noticing is enough.
A lot of us give our bodies short shrift when we're in the thick of busy or stressful. Sometimes we don't even realize that we're hungry or have to pee. When we're that unaware of what's happening in our bodies, it's no surprise that our instincts remain elusive. The key is simply noticing.
The longer you stay still and quiet and breathe, the more you'll be able to notice, but a few minutes -- even one minute, even half a minute -- is enough.
Give it a try. It's a huge and important first step in gathering all the available information we need to make good decisions. The rest of the process just flows from there.