Ep #5: Intuition & Making Better Decisions

Our most valuable tool in life is our internal compass or intuition. And the good news? It’s available to every one of us all the time.

I’m going to teach you how to access it and how to trust it. This tool will steer you away from a life that feels all wrong and instead, straight into the life you’re meant to live and love.

WHAT YOU’LL LEARN:

  • What is intuition?
  • The different ways our intuition speaks to us
  • Different ways to connect to our intuition!
  • How to make better decisions that point us in the direction of our dreams

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TRANSCRIPT

Welcome back everybody. Thanks so much for being here as always.

Today, we’re going to talk about our intuition and making better decisions from an intuitive place.

Just a few episodes in, you’ve probably heard me say things like, “My intuition said this. And my intuition said that. Or my essential self pointed me in that direction.”

And some of you listening, might be like what is she even talking about.

So I not only want there to be zero confusion, but better yet, I highly encourage you to start paying attention to your own intuition.

I know that following my intuition, even through the sometimes scary adventures it’s led me on, have been absolutely the most life-changing and rewarding experiences. So I want nothing more for you to learn how to read and honor your internal guidance system, because it’s going to be your most valuable tool in reaching your full potential and creating a life that you are obsessed with.

Now, some people will argue, “I’m not an intuitive person.” And that’s so not true.

We are all intuitive and we all have access to this part of ourselves, it’s just that some people don’t know how to read it or they’re so in their heads that they’re overlooking this deeper part of themselves. And I’ll talk more about that in just a second.

First, there are different ways or names we use to reference our intuition. I use the term “essential self” often which I credit Martha Beck for. We can sometimes refer to it as our authentic self, deep self, gut feeling, a hunch, internal compass, internal GPS, instinct and even alignment– when I say, I’m getting into alignment, it’s another way to say that I’m connecting to my intuition.

The verbiage itself is not important. What’s important is that you know what your intuition looks like and feels like and sounds like.

So what is our intuition?

Our intuition is a mindless process that does not involve deep thinking or analysis. Instead, it’s a deep knowing that comes through us.

In other words, our intuitions speak to us through physical manifestations, not thought.

This is a very important distinction.

The voice inside of your head, that constant chatter is not your intuition, that is your ego my friends.

And unfortunately, the majority of us are so I our heads all the time, that we become so disconnected from our bodies. And when we are disconnected from our bodies, we are ultimately disconnected from our intuition.

And this is a very big problem. This is when a lot of us get ourselves into trouble. Our egos do not have our best interest in mind (no pun intended) because its constantly operating from a place of FEAR.

And I’ll do future episodes that focus primarily on our ego minds, but for now just know that in order to connect to our intuitive selves, we must detach from that voice in our head. The more often we can do that, the more often we get into alignment.

The quickest way to detach from the voice inside our head and live more fully from an intuitive place is to be still and be present.

And when I say be still and be present, I don’t mean that you have to meditate every day for an hour or go on a weekend zen retreat or take up yoga…I think there’s a misconception out there that you have to step into this grand spiritual role in order to tap into your intuitive self. And that’s just not the case.

Sure, these things can absolutely aid in quieting your mind and getting still, yet if these activities themselves don’t spark joy, it’s a bit counterintuitive.

We can 100% be still and practice mindfulness while we’re driving to work or walking our dog or doing the dishes. We always have the power to plug in.

It just takes the awareness and the commitment to do this often.

If we can learn to stop, and take a step back and not be so busy and not be so in our heads, you’ll be amazed as to what answers come through you versus trying to think your way to the answers.

And when I say answers, what do I mean by that?

What I mean are the big, the small and the tiny choices we make every single day. What to do, what not to do, what to wait on, where to focus our time and energy.

Our intuition leads us and points us in the right direction– and I don’t mean “right” according to what society deems acceptable, (not what we think we should be doing or have to or can’t, that’s all ego stuff) but rather the direction that’s built on the truest expression of ourselves. And it points us in this direction using our feelings and our bodies. It points us in the direction of what feels exciting, what sparks joy and makes us come alive, and what we’re innately curious about.

I love just stopping and asking my intuition, OK, what do you FEEL like doing right now? And using this compass to navigate where the day takes me. And it’s usually somewhere pretty awesome.

For example, maybe it leads you to this cool new boutique in town and then that leads you to running into an old classmate from High School who just so happens to be in real estate, when you were just talking about how you needed an agent.

It’s like a trail of bread crumbs. Each one leads to the next and the next and the next.

This is why I tell people…in times of uncertainty, just follow the tiny breadcrumbs and see where they lead. Because they will lead somewhere. You just gotta get out of that head of yours and let your intuition show you the way. Feel your way to the light.

And at the same time that our intuitions guide us toward the light, we also want to pay attention to when it’s warning us that we’re going in the wrong direction, when we’re entering some dark, murky territory. Paying attention to when our bodies feel tense or tight. Because this is the way it tells us, “Don’t do that thing. Don’t go in the direction.” It’s always trying to point us away from things that feel boring, dreadful, draining, not fun…anything and everything that’s not in alignment.

This is why you hear people say, “Oh man. I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me.” After quitting their job or being let go. And that’s because there has been if that job wasn’t in alignment. When we’re in alignment, we feel light as a feather.

If you think about engaging in your favorite activity, how do you FEEL? You don’t think, Ooooh yes, I am excited or happy. You just have this overwhelming feeling of excitement and happiness in your body.

You’ll also experience the state of flow– where an hour feels like 5 minutes. When an idea for a video or episode come through me, I’ll sit at my computer, and it’s like my fingers can’t type fast enough. The words just come to me and everything that I want to say and express.

So pay attention to when you lose track of time and you become so deeply seated in the present moment. You can be sure that you are in complete alignment.

So at the same time that our intuitions speak to us physically, it’ll also sometimes communicate through a lightning fast, yet soft whisper.

Just the other day, I was at the grocery store, practicing awareness and just being where I was physically with all five senses, and that little whisper said: people you know here. And immediately, my ego mind kinda added onto that and said, “yea, you never run into people you know at the grocery store.” And as soon as I had that thought and looked up from pushing my cart, I see somebody I know.

I’m sure you can think of a time when that soft voice whispers something like “Annie.” And then you think, “yea I haven’t spoken to Annie in so long.” And then what seems like out of the blue, you get a text from her. Right? Obviously those are minuscule things, but it’s so cool to experience these synchronicities when you’re in alignment…when you practice being still and present among your daily chores or whatever. It’s all very magical and mystical.

Some people experience messages from their intuition in their dreams. Personally, I’m not one of these people.

The funny thing is, I’m actually certified to analyze dreams because it was a part of my coach training, so I know how to dissect dreams and identify the messages hidden within, but it’s not something that brings me a lot of joy so I don’t practice this with myself or my clients…unless it’s a dream that really stuck out to me in the morning, and one that I remember long enough to write down on paper.

But I know for some people, they don’t even need a full on analysis, sometimes the intuitive message that comes through their dream is crystal clear.

For example, if you’re familiar with actor Mark Ruffalo. One morning, he woke from a very vivid dream about having brain cancer.

And he was so shaken up by it, that he made a doctor’s appointment right away. Well as you can imagine, the doctor thought he was nuts, but ordered an MRI because I think Mark Ruffalo was so adamant (and well he’s Mark Ruffalo, let’s be honest). I think it would’ve taken a lot more convincing on my part if that were me and my doctor

Anyway, low behold, he had a mass the size of a golf ball behind his ear.

I don’t know, I thought that story was super fascinating when I read it. So if you wake up from a very vivid dream, it’s worth paying attention to and exploring.

Another type of intuition we hear often is a mother’s intuition or instinct…having the gut feeling that they’re child is in danger or in need. Not being a mother myself, I can’t say that I experience this, but I know it’s a common one.

Our intuition also warns in self-defense. After all, it was developed on a primitive level– a survival skill to keep us out of dangerous situations.

Today, we are no longer being chased by lions or bears, but we still experience the same fight or flight response– our hearts begin to race rapidly when we sense that we are in danger.

A lot of the time, our fight or flight response is triggered from something imaginary– something that we’re conjuring up in our minds.

For example getting up on stage to speak in front of hundreds of people or the idea of doing our taxes or being in the middle of a relationship conflict of sorts.

Other times, much more rare, but other times our fight or flight switch gets turned on when we are in real, actual, physical danger. Maybe you’ve been waiting for an elevator, and something inside of you says, “Don’t get into that elevator with that man.”

And actually that reminds me, I had a pretty frightening experience about ten years ago. I was driving to a friend’s house because I had left something there…I don’t remember what it was, but it was nighttime, so it was dark outside, it was December and snowing. Those horrendous winters on the East Coast.

My friend was out of the house, but he let me know that he left the door unlocked for me, and I could just run it and it wasn’t a problem.

Well, as I was driving to his house, I experienced this really intense gut reaction that was telling me not to go. It was this pit of fear in my stomach and my heart started to race. So as I’m feeling this way, another friend of mine calls me and asks “Hey, where are you? When are you going to get here?” Because I was then going to meet up with this other friend. The joys of being young and free, I guess. And I said, “Yea, I’m just stopping by Brad’s house quick, but I feel really weird about it.” And they’re like, “What do you mean?” And I said I don’t know, I’m having this crazy, scared feeling.” And they were like, “WHAT? What do you talking about? Just go and get over here.” And I was like, “Yea, I don’t know, I’m being ridiculous.” I mean we went to each other’s houses all the time, it’s not a big deal.

I pull up the house. And he lived at the top of this hill, so you kinda park at the bottom and you walk on up the driveway. So I park my car, I trudge up this hill covered in snow, I open the door to a pitch black house, I walk in and the hairs on my arm just stand up straight. I pretty much ran in and ran out like I was Speedy Gonzalez, ran down to my car and I drove away.

Well long story short, I get a phone call from Brad about 2 hours later. I answer the phone and he says, “Shaina.” And I said, “Yea?” He said did you stop my house? And I said “Yes.”

He said, “My house was broken into and they stole everything.”

And my eyes shot wide open. And I looked at my friend, the one who had called me on my way there and we were both in shock. To this day, I don’t know if the burglars were in the house when I ran in or if they had seen me in any shape or form as I was walking up or in. But of course I started thinking about some terrible alternate endings and I’m very grateful that I got out OK, unharmed. And I can assure you that I will never ever ignore a “danger” warning from my gut ever again.

The moral of the story (and really all of today’s episode) my friends is to never ignore your second brain– as scientists now call it.

It’s there to protect us and to guide us in the best, possible direction.

And with that being said, now I want to talk about using our intuitions to make our bigger decisions in life.

For example, maybe you were offered a new job and you’re not sure whether to accept, or your boyfriend asked you to move in, or you’re debating whether to put an offer in on a house.

When it comes to these bigger decisions that will determine the trajectory of our life on a grander scale, most of kinda panic because we’re so afraid to make the wrong decision.

And in these times, unfortunately so many of us look outside of ourselves for the answers. We use our analytical, rational, practical minds to steer the course of our lives.

I’m going to accept this job, because it’ll look great on my resume, even though the actual job does not excite me.

I’m going to move in with my boyfriend because financially it makes sense, even though I FEEL resistant.

I’m going to put an offer on this house, because it’s a “good investment” even though my body feels heavy every time I think about it.

Right? We make these heady, pragmatic decisions, without ever consulting with our intuitions.

And it’s such a shame, because the most beautiful part about our intuition is that it’s always operating from a place of love. It always has our best interest at heart. It’s always moving us in the direction of our dreams.

Listening to my intuition has moved me into every big, new and wonderful chapter in my life.

Every single one. But where most people get tripped up, is letting go and just trusting and honoring it. And the reason is that most times our essential selves are pointing us in a direction that’s unfamiliar or not conventional. Most of the time, it moves us out of our comfort zones which is why a lot of people avoid it or dismiss it.

We can FEEL the deliciousness of saying YES or we can FEEL an intense aversion toward something, but then all of a sudden our ego minds pop their ugly heads up and do everything in their power to dissuade us from an intuitive moment (and ultimately an intuitive decision). Our minds will say things like, “You’re too old. That’ll never work. You don’t have the resources. You’re not brave enough to do this. But this will look great on your resume. Everybody else is doing this.” It not only tries to rationalize things, but it also irrationalize what our intuitions crave.

We all have the answers inside of us. We have access to this internal compass that’s trying to lead us down this joyful, fulfilling road, yet a lot of us are too scared to listen. We allow our fearful egoic minds to take the reins.

So my advice to you, is to start small and build a trusting relationship with your intuition. And the way to do that, is by using your internal compass more often. Start with small daily decisions. When you have some free time, just ask yourself, “What do I feel like doing right now? What feels joyful?” And go do that thing. And just see where it leads. And slowly build your relationship from there.

OK, getting back to big decision-making. Whenever I’m faced with a bigger decision, I always stop, I take a step back and I do NOT allow myself to overthink and overanalyze my way to the final answer.

You hear people say, I’m just going to make a pros and cons list. I’m going to list all the reasons this is a good idea and all the reasons this is a bad idea and then I’ll see which one outweighs the other.

That’s the rational part of us, right? I don’t do that, unless my thoughts are overwhelming me and I just need to get my thoughts on paper and out of my head. Then sure. But I don’t let the list itself hold any weight in my decision making process.

Because again, that’s ego stuff. The answers do not lie there.

I not only know this to be true from my knowledge in mind management, but better yet from personal experience. Every decision I’ve ever made from my ego has led me down a very dark, unfulfilling road. From staying put in my unhealthy, abusive relationship in college, my dreadful corporate jobs in my early twenties, and even my decision to attend college. Which I’ll talk more about that as the weeks go on.

All of those decisions were made from a place of “I’ll never find somebody else. I have to do this. This is what everybody else is doing. I should do this.”

No bueno!

Instead, I ask my intuition, what do I do?

That’s it. I ask for guidance and then I go back to my regular programming. I go back to whatever it is that I’m doing on that day, just grounding myself in the present (not all up in my head trying to force an answer). No, I just wait for the answer to come through me.

Again, some people will experience the answer through this very quick, soft whisper.

It might come through while blow drying your hair or out to lunch with a friend.

Or the answer may hit you like a TON of bricks, which happens to me often.

Regardless of how it’ll come (or when) it’s never my job to know how or when it’ll come. My only job is to be open and receptive for how and when it will come.

And if you’re wondering, well what about if I’m on some sort of a time constraint, and I still haven’t received a CLEAR yes or no.

I need to give HR an answer by this day and time.

Well if the answer weren’t to show up by that date, then I don’t do anything, right? Like not making a decision and staying put is still a decision. If it doesn’t feel 100% right, I just don’t move. It’s as easy as that. That’s my intuitions way of saying, yea, I’m not too thrilled about this.

OK?

Now, I want to share a personal example with you.

When I was 23 years old, I was living in Boston. And I was only there for about 9 months when I started to feel this inner scratch…that it was time to move on. But I didn’t know what my next move was. So in this period of uncertainty, I asked the question, what’s next for me? I was in need of some direction. So I got still, didn’t overthink it and continued on with my life.

And within weeks, a friend of mine in California posted on Facebook, saying that his roommate was leaving and he was looking for someone to take his spot. Now, this same friend is somebody who I had visited in California on 3 different occasions. And with each visit, I felt magnetically drawn to Los Angeles. When I was in the city, I felt so free and almost this warm feeling of “at home.” And that was my intuition right? The excitement and love that I felt in my body.

Anyway, so when I saw his post, I immediately perked up. My intuition was very curious about this possibility. It was however a very big decision…to move myself 3,000 miles away from family and friends, without a job, without really any sort of a plan.

So I just took one small step in the direction of this curiosity and I messaged him. And he gave me some more information and I remember him saying, “Shain, if you want to move here, this is your chance.”

And I was like OMG, this is crazy. And as alive as I felt at the thought of this opportunity, my

rational mind chimes in of course and starts saying things like, “What are you gonna do? Go out there without a plan? What about your job here? What will you do for money? How would you get all your stuff there? This will never work.” 

Right? I had all of these fears and concerns.

But I knew that in order to make the best decision possible, I had to detach from my thinking and just let the decision marinate and WAIT. And that’s what I did. I just focused on being in the present moment and I waited.

Until I think like a week or so later, I was a nanny at the time and I was at the kids soccer field. And my dad called me and I kinda just blurted out the words, I’m going to do it. I’m going to move to California.

In that moment, the answer became so crystal clear. And it wasn’t clear because of a pros and cons list, or because I had thought my way to around the obstacles, it was just a CLEAR YES that came through me. And that’s a gut feeling you guys. And then you’re off to the races…you make an inspired decision, you go through the messiness and uncomfortable nature of such a big change and then you come out the other side, completely better than you were before.

As we wrap up here, just remember that you have all the answers that you need inside of you. And the only permission you need to access those answers and follow-through is your own.

Consider that permission granted.

Thank you so much for listening as always. I’ll see you next time.

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