An important distinction.
There’s a difference between thinking and knowing.
Have you ever had a gut feeling about something that you couldn’t explain? Do you have ideas that bubble up inside you and take you by surprise?
There’s a deep knowing within you. Perhaps you’ve heard that inner voice or felt an inexplicable pull to do something (or not do something).
And then talked yourself out of it because you didn’t have a rational explanation, or you were scared of disappointing someone.
The prevalent mindset today encourages thinking and negates knowing.
Our rational, western culture teaches us to rely on logic, data, and what we can see with our own eyes.
Unfortunately, this dependence on rational thinking has come at the expense of our deeper wisdom and inner knowing.
Many of us have lost touch with the magic and wisdom we hold.
You may feel skeptical, scared, or confused about how to tune into this inner knowing.
If you’re like me, you override your deeper impulses, sometimes without even pausing to notice what’s happening.
Two recent examples.
I’m currently developing an online course for an app called InsightTimer. As I began recording and creating the material, something felt off.
It felt heavy.
At first, I thought maybe I was resisting putting myself out there in a bigger way, or doubting my abilities to teach this topic.
I kept analyzing why it didn’t feel good. I was trying to figure it out.
My intuition was saying; “No” but I kept doubting it.
Be courageous and take aligned action.
I decided to honor my gut feeling and told the publishers I couldn’t create the course we’d agreed upon. I was nervous I’d lose out on the opportunity entirely.
It was scary because I didn’t have a logical reason for saying no. The only reason I had was the heaviness I felt in my body. And yet, I honored that.
(and even if they hadn’t, I knew it was the right move as soon as I said it out loud)
I’m now exploring what course wants to emerge from me that does feel aligned with my gut. I’m tempted to rush and create something quickly. Instead, I’m taking the time to sit with the question until I feel the answer.
It takes patience and trust to honor your inner knowing.
The answer may not be immediate, it often needs to emerge and unfold.
We live in a society of instant gratification.
And yet every time I’ve honored this “slower” process, the results show up so quickly once I get clarity from inside myself and then take aligned action in the outer world. It turbocharges my ability to get what I want!
The other example that recently showed up in my life around thinkings vs. knowing was with our son, James. He’s two and a half and just started preschool.
When I began dropping him off, he had a hard time saying goodbye. And I felt really emotional. While this is a common situation (find me a parent who hasn’t had a sad drop off and I’ll find you an avocado with wings), I felt like we were rushing him into school unnecessarily.
My gut said it was too soon.
And yet, I felt committed since we’d already registered him at the school (he’d been part of picture day for pete’s sake!). Plus, my logical mind argued back; “you’re probably just being emotional since he’s your youngest and you’re sad to see him grow up.”
I discounted my gut feeling.
I told myself I was overreacting. After meeting with the principal, I agreed to wait a couple weeks for him to adjust. Two weeks later, I went to drop James off one morning and he just stood outside the door to his classroom refusing to budge, legs planted firmly on the ground saying; “I want go home. I want go home.”
While sitting at the playdoh station inside, I looked into his precious blue eyes and I just knew.
This was not the right choice for us at this time. We were creating unnecessary stress and unhappiness in our family.
After a tearful conversation with his teachers, we took James out of school.
Walking out, I felt a weight lift.
I knew this was the right choice for us.
It’s a knowing, not a thinking that gives the answer.
So today I ask you, where in your life are you ignoring your own inner knowing? How can you trust yourself more and take aligned action to support that inner voice?
We’d love to hear in the comments!
Think back on your life, was there a time you just knew something? What did that feel like? And how might you be ignoring or discounting your inner knowing right now?
May you create work and a life you love,
P.S. I’m SO excited to be a keynote speaker on “Mindful Leadership” at the ThoughtSpot Beyond2018 conference in Washington D.C. this coming Thursday November 15th! I’ll be following Billy Beane, the inspiration behind Moneyball.
If you happen to be in the area, swing by. I’d love to see you there!