Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. -- Benjamin Spock
We're taught that quitting is a sign of weakness; that you can't be vulnerable and successful at the same time. We're taught that hard work is the path to success; that "out working" everyone else is what's going to get us ahead.
We're taught that the struggle is an integral part of the process; that perseverance is what will make the difference.
But Blind Perseverance Is Not Progress
There's another side -- an equally important side -- an opposition to the hustle: an ease.
The hustle is in the action. The ease is in the intuition.
Intuition is knowing what is right for you and what is not in any given moment. It's an intentional drive, not a brute force, that is pushing you forward in the ways you need to be pushed.
I have a story to tell you. Sadly, it's not a story of the profound impact of using my intuition. It's a story about what I was left with when I ignored it. A while back, I had an amazing contract opportunity literally fall in my lap at a time when I really needed it.
I was looking to fill a financial gap with a new challenge, so when a mentor of mine reached out about an opportunity she had, not working directly with her but right alongside her, my ears perked up. "I'm listening," I said.
When I say it fell into my lap, maybe that's not strong enough. It pounced on me like a freaking tiger on a sprightly little gazelle.
It all happened very quickly. That quick and unexpected pounce was quickly followed up with a contract. Not an offer or a negotiation - a "sign on the dotted line and drive it off the lot" contract.
But there was something about it at the time that didn't sit quite right with me. I couldn't necessarily put my finger on it... not because the answers weren't there, but because I wasn't truly listening.
I had this little seed of doubt in my gut. Truth be told, signing the paperwork made me a little bit uneasy ("What am I getting myself into? Is this what I really want?"), but it looked like all the stars were lining up and financial security sure sounded nice. (Note the disparity here between what I was feeling and what I was seeing - this is important!)
So, I signed on the dotted line and drove the Jalopy disguised as a Jaguar (or at least a Nissan Maxima) home and I got to work. I'm one of those people who will just put my head down and get it done, so when things started going haywire, that's exactly what I did.
I Was All About The Hustle
I figured I'd just do what had worked for me before -- I'd just work hard and do my thing and it'd all end up OK in the end. It didn't.The whole time it felt hard. It wasn't a fit.
But instead of walking away, I stuck it out. I justified it by telling myself I'd made a commitment and that it would all be over in just a few months.
So fast forward to the end of my contract. Not only did it end up being a non-starter from a professional growth perspective, but it was also a major impediment to my personal progress.
I went from being in the best health of my life to my highest weight in 10 years -- yes, I put on about 15 pounds over the course of this six-month contract. It hindered my confidence, decreased my own value of myself, and led me to question my ability to be an effective contributor. And, it completely disconnected me from my true passion: helping women play bigger through my work as a coach. Not only did I lack the energy to help others, but now I was one of the women struggling to care for herself while stuck in a job that wasn't serving her.
I don't believe in accidents and I know I had this job for a reason... I had this job to learn this:
Even one day lived out of alignment with your intuition might be too much.
But what if I don't know the answer (or why is hearing our intuition so hard)?
We've been taught to quiet the voice inside and to follow the pretty, pre-defined path laid out before us. We're told the voice of intuition is fleeting, but that logic and reason will always remain. So we quiet the voice and we do what we're told and we get rewarded for being good little boys and girls who follow the rules.
But the rules strip us of our voice and leave us weak. We lose sight of our intentional drive and our deepest desires. We become people we're not.
This isn't all doom and gloom... here's a beacon of light: tapping back into your intuition is possible. This is something I teach, but also something I learn and re-learn every single day. And you can, too.
If you've lost sight of your own inner voice like I did the moment I signed on the dotted line, here are four basic questions to tap into the truth inside yourself.
- Is this decision aligned with who I am and who I want to be?
- Is there a discrepancy between what I'm seeing and what I'm feeling?
- What signals is my body sending me? (hint: think weight gain, headaches, that "pit in your stomach" feeling)
- What would me five years from now tell me right now?
The truth is, you already have all the answers you will ever need. You simply need to (re)learn to listen to them. The hustle only really works when it's matched with the ease of your inner voice.
Are you listening?