We’ve all been there at some stage in our lives – at a crossroads, not sure whether to turn back to face what’s familiar, turn left, right or go straight ahead. Usually, when this happens to me, some options seem more attractive than others, but each option has an advantage and a disadvantage – and weighing up the options can create quite a dilemma!
This is exactly the situation my girlfriend found herself in the other day. We were having lunch, and in the course of our conversation, she outlined the different options, the pro’s and con’s of each, and her struggle to make a choice. In her situation, she has a deadline to decide by – and it’s looming, which is simply adding to an already stressful situation. I realised that she wasn’t asking me to help her make the decision – she just wanted to be listened to. What I heard were three different internal struggles, and it occurred to me that this is so often the case when we are faced with choices – there’s an internal dialogue running in our heads. The first thing I heard was her conscience. She talked about a sense of duty, her feeling of being judged and of disappointing others. These are her values, beliefs and conditioning at play. She spoke about what she “should” do – even reading the word “should” feels heavy, doesn’t it – it certainly sounded heavy! Ever been there? I certainly have, and I identified with her dilemma. The second thing I heard was her internal gremlin, saying things like “that’s not fair”, “nice girls don’t do that”, “what if xyz happens?” and “you won’t manage on your own”. It’s a cross between our inbuilt safety mechanism, designed to protect us from danger, and our negative self-talk, and if you don’t identify (i) which voice it is and (ii) whether it is helpful or not, you can feel stuck. The third thing I heard was her intuition. On one aspect of her dilemma, she was certain of what she wanted to do – there was no evidence to support her view, just a feeling inside – a definite knowing. On another aspect, there was still confusion and uncertainty. Having the mix of knowing and confusion actually made the overall decision more difficult in her mind.
Our intuition is like an internal guidance system, but like a muscle, it becomes weak if not used regularly. You can set your “destination” – the goal you are working towards, the outcome you desire, and along the journey, check in with your feelings to see if you are still heading in the right direction. We talk about having a ‘gut feel’ about something – if we feel good, then we are on track – if we have a nagging doubt, or we don’t feel right, then perhaps we are off track, and a review or reassessment is a good idea. And this is how my friend felt. She acknowledged that the ‘sense of duty’, while worth being aware of, was not appropriate to follow in her current circumstances. The situation she is in is very unique – unlike some situations, where a previous example exists, and a precedent has been set, or there is an ‘accepted’ behaviour. This is definitely not the case for her – and in fact, if anything, her situation calls for her to be selfish, and put herself first, rather than do ‘the right thing”. (Of course, this makes the dilemma even harder for her!).
The internal gremlin is not her self-defense mechanism at work, as she is not putting herself in danger. It’s her lack of self-confidence, her fear she will make the ‘wrong’ decision. She recognises this, and chooses to firstly acknowledge the gremlin and then tell it that she has this under control and the gremlin is not needed. Giving the gremlin a name may help her deal with it. In terms of her intuition, she knows she will find her own answers, and we discussed going within herself to do so. Each one of us is already creative, resourceful and whole. We have within us the answers to all our questions, we just have to tap into our inner knowing. There are several different ways to do this, and her choice is by journalling. By writing down her thoughts, just letting the words flow without consciously seeking answers, she will find what she is looking for. Her intuition will guide her. A wise man once told me that if you don’t go within, you will go without. And I think he is right.
So, what about you? Are you ‘in tune’ with your in-tu-ition? Do you regularly go within to find your answers, or are you going without because you’ve let your intuition muscle get weak? Coaching is a way to exercise that muscle, to get back in touch with your inner knowing and flex it so you live your life on purpose.
Jan was born in England, and moved to Sydney, Australia in 1998 on a temporary work assignment for an international investment bank. After a short return to London, and having missed the Sydney lifestyle, Jan returned to Sydney in 2001 with her husband, Steve. In 2006 Jan left the corporate world to set up and run her own business, helping others create better lifestyles. A Certified Professional Coach (CPC) and a Licenced NLP Practitioner, her passion is in helping others be the best they can be, through her Wellbeing & Performance coaching, which she offers one-on-one or in teams both face to face or over the phone. She is committed to ongoing success for those she coaches, and believes that every individual has unique strengths to excel. To work directly with me, email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact me through my website, www.janosmond.com.