I get this question all the time, both inside and outside of work. I’ve asked it many times in my life, too. When we are in a state of questioning, we often look for some validation, or at the very least an opinion.
Vetting our possible next steps is a great way to learn a different perspective, and look at at a choice through various lenses. It can be a critical step to taking action. But, does it ever hinder moving forward?
In short, yes.
We can definitely spend a lot of time searching for folks who will validate our choices. Or, we look to validate a choice we already made, arguing not with others, but really ourselves that what we chose is the “right” choice. The human brain is capable of all sorts of rationalization and justification!
The good news is that we can in fact push the pause button on all the vetting. Humans are equipped with intuition, although we often learn to override our natural instincts. Intuition is that “gut feeling” we get. It can be a quiet feeling, or it can be a screaming voice depending on the situation. I think of intuition as a dashboard with indicator lights letting me know of a potential problem, or a full on emergency.
The trick is learning to listen to it. For years, I tuned out my internal dashboard. I was raised with the idea that feelings and emotions do not have a place in decision making, so I learned early on to ignore my gut. The thing is, feelings and emotions do have a significant place in our decisions. Feeling comfortable with our decisions is important, and we are the only ones who truly know how we feel about the choices available to us.
When asking yourself if you are doing the right thing, ask yourself how you feel about your next steps. Maybe journal about it, or meditate. The one thing I have found from my coaching experience is that if someone is asking me if what they are doing, or about to do is right, they often already know the answer.
The trick to learning to listen to our gut is to pause. This takes tremendous practice, and I have to practice every. single. day. It is completely not natural to me after years of disregarding my instinct. The good news? We can change our behaviors, and we can learn to pause.
The next time you are asking a friend if you are doing the right thing, ask yourself what your intuition is telling you. Listen to that quiet voice inside you.
“You know the truth by the way it feels.”