Is your life out of sync with your priorities?
Do you feel like you’re a hamster running on a wheel?
Have you forgotten who you are?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, read on. Learn to listen to your inner voice – the essence of who you are – by following these five steps:
- Check in with your heart.
Social conditioning teaches us to be logical and “use our heads”. When you only use your head, your experience of yourself and the world is limited. You miss out on the vital information the rest of your body, heart and soul is giving you.
Benefits: The same neurological tissue found in the brain is found in the heart. The heart is a second “brain” and our emotional center. Listening to your head and your heart is crucial to good decision-making about your life, your business and your relationships.
New Focus: Put your hand over your heart and focus there – what is it telling you?
- Connect with your body.
Your body gives you a tremendous amount of useful information that you may not be conscious of. For example, when your mother-in-law visits, does your stomach tie up in knots? When your boss yells at you, do your shoulders turn into stone? When you feel passionate and alive, does your chest feel warm and open? When we ignore the body’s message, we lose out on valuable information designed to let us what works for us and what doesn’t.
Benefits: For many people, fear manifests as a tightness in their chest. This is valuable information, especially if you aren’t aware that you are afraid. Your body alerts you to what makes feels passionate and what doesn’t. The body is a fount of wisdom designed to tell you when you’re on the right path and when you aren’t.
New Focus: Notice the messages your body is giving you right now. Try a self-massage to find areas in your back, neck or shoulders that are tense or knotted. What other areas of your body feel tight? Which ones feel relaxed and loose? Use this information as another key to listening to your inner wisdom.
- Listen to yooour intuition.
Intuition is simply knowing something without knowing exactly how you know it. Connect back to a time that you had a “gut feeling” about something – the job that you knew you shouldn’t take, even though it looked good on the surface or the relationship that just felt right for you. That’s your intuition talking to you.Benefits: Gut feelings are a wealth of information. Remember, your intuition is never wrong, although your interpretation of it may be incorrect. When your intuition calls to you, trust it. Practice makes perfect when it comes to using your intuition effectively.
New Focus: The next time you need to make a decision, check in with your intuition. Experiment with trusting it. When you follow your intuition, what happens? When you hear it and disregard it, what’s the outcome?
- Notice your self-saboteur*.
Each of us has our very own special saboteur. The saboteur is the voice in your head that says, “You are not good enough.” “Who do you think you are?” “If you take this new job, everyone will find out what a fraud you are.” The saboteur’s job is to “protect” you from taking risks and making changes.
Benefits: Learn to distinguish between your voice and the saboteur’s mumbo-jumbo. Notice how the inner critic drives the choices and decisions you make.
New Focus: Simply notice the negative voices playing in your head. Notice the times when they crop up. Recognize that the voices aren’t you and they aren’t true. Learning to separate your own voice from that of the saboteur is a powerful and life changing tool.
- Identify limiting beliefs.
We each carry a set of beliefs that we live by. Certain beliefs you hold consciously, while others are mainly unconscious. Beliefs develop out of past experiences and our interpretations of those experiences. Some of the conscious and unconscious beliefs that you develop limit your ability to grow and move forward in your life. For example: One of your goals as a successful entrepreneur is to make a lot of money. You discover that you have a belief – a limiting one – that it’s wrong to make a lot of money. Until you begin to alter your beliefs about money, it will be more difficult for you to achieve that financial success you desire.
Benefits: Learning to notice a limiting belief allows you to become conscious of it, and then change it. Releasing a belief that limits you puts you back in the driver’s seat of your life. You, rather than an old belief, make the choices that are right for you and allow you to fulfill your potential
Ways to spot a limiting belief:
- You tell yourself that you only have one or two choices in a situation, or “no choice” at all.
- Your inner critic expresses his or her opinion. The inner critic’s opinion is generally based in a limiting belief.
- A decision may appear to be black and white to you, or an either/or situation.
- You have decided that “this is the way the world is.”
- You make a decision based on fear.
- You feel constricted and notice that you lack clarity about a specific situation.
New Focus: How does a particular belief allow you to attract what you really want in life? How does it prevent you from attaining your goals? When you reach an obstacle in your path, make sure that it’s not an old belief in your way.
When important questions like “What do I want?” or “What’s the right choice for me to make?” surface in your mind, consult your inner voice. You possess the answers you need to live a life that feels successful and fulfilling. Listening to your inner voice can lead you on a path that feels deeply satisfying. Your business and personal lives will flourish with this new level of trust in yourself.
By Claudette Rowley MSW, CPCC
*Based on the work of Richard Carson in Taming Your Gremlin.