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!
I have been on your email list for some time. I always find them incredibly helpful but just wanted to let you that this one truly impacted my life.
I have been struggling with overwhelming anxiety lately due to balancing a lot of things, including (voluntarily) taking a graduate credit class for “fun” that requires a significant amount of time and travel in addition to my full-time big law lawyer gig. When I read your email this morning, I simply knew that despite what my logical mind was telling me (finish the class, it’s only 4 more weeks of travel and 40+ hours of schoolwork! Get another A! Show yourself you can excel at something other than work!), my body was trying to wave a red flag on behalf of my inner knowing. Your email gave me permission to listen to that voice and take action to ease my overall stress by simply withdrawing from the course. Accordingly, I did!
I now feel SO PEACEFUL and aligned with myself! So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for affirming that I know deep down exactly what I need to do (which is apparently, simply focus on being a happy lawyer).
I love this article! Since the beginning of the year 2018, my dad has had a lot of health issues while my mom, who has dementia of some sort, has declined in parallel. I am an only child and they used to live 235 miles away from me. This year, time and time again, I made choices based on the feeling that it was what I was meant to do. Meanwhile, my thinking says “when am I going to develop my business and make some money?” I keep doing what feels right and I will see about what I am thinking later. Thank you Vanessa for your confirmation of my way of handling this extremely difficult year.
Thank you for sharing this Sonia. It sounds like you’ve had a lot of challenges this year, how wonderful that you’ve been able to tap into your deeper knowing to help you navigate these trade-offs. Your way of handling this year sounds beautiful as you’re following what you’re meant to do even when the voice in your head says you “should” be developing your business. It takes courage to do what feels right and let those other thoughts go. Nice work!!!
Omg this post is right on! I’ve struggled with “is this my intuition or my emotions/mind” and our minds definitely try to take over, and often intuition doesn’t “match” logic or what we think we are supposed to do. I actually just did an online class they’re doing again starting Nov 15, all about learning to identify and trust our intuition! I hope it’s ok to share here, it was an absolute game changer! And reading this post really confirms how important it is to trust it! It’s a process, but it’s amazing when we can trust it! Just Sunday I was freezing waiting for the bus and I asked my intuition if I should call a lyft, it said no (even though not as crystal clear as other times) and the bus came within a minute! My mind was about to make me pay for a ride but my intuition let me know I wouldn’t have to (or get charged for cancelling).
Here is the class I took that starts the 15th, again I hope it’s ok to share, it was really really profound!
Thank you for your emails and meditations too, you always send just the right things at the time I need to hear them!
It’s totally fine to share here, we welcome resources that come from a place of loving sharing. 🙂 And what a cool story that you checked with your intuition and the bus came within a minute! It’s so fun to get that kind of validation that this stuff really works. Thanks for sharing Sarah!
Thank You so much for writing this piece…A lot of times I do think with my inner voice, but I just feel that people think I’m crazy…anytime that I’ve followed my inner voice, I’ve always felt that I did the right thing.
Yay! You are not crazy Candida. If anything…I’m starting to think the way we “normally” operate in the world is a bit crazy, ignoring our inner wisdom is CRAZY and hasn’t served our society or our world very well. Isn’t it fascinating how when you do follow your inner voice, you feel that you did the right thing. It’s a feeling or a knowing that it was right that comes as the validation afterwards and we can just tell – YES, I was meant to do that. Thank you for honoring your truth Candida.