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“If I Knew What To Do, I’d Do It!” The Importance of Intuition in Breaking Through Thirtysomething Panic

Recently, we discussed the key commitment of Telling the Truth. You practiced the discipline of allowing yourself to know and to articulate what you know, without shutting it down or pushing back on it. This is such an important part of breaking through Thirtysomething Panic, and in transition at any stage of life. We’ll be returning to this skill often as we go forward, because it is so important, and so challenging to master.
 

If you’ve been working on Telling the Truth about what you do know, you are moving in the right direction through Thirtysomething Panic. But what about what you don’t know? How can you increase the size of the piece of the great life mystery pie that you do know?

One key is to upgrade the way you interact with your intuition. Intuition can be a sort of holy grail of transition. When it speaks to us, intuition can be that manna from heaven that delivers information to us efficiently, suddenly, totally, inarguably.

Intuition is the thing that stopped me smack in the middle of a regular Tuesday morning a little over five years ago and informed me that I was supposed to embark on a nomadic adventure and live all over the country for a month at a time in each place. I did not THINK of this idea. I did not think ABOUT this idea. This idea landed smack in the middle of my living room floor like a giant asteroid. “I’m here!” our intuition announces itself.

Your intuition just knows things, and tells them like they are. When your intuition emerges, you know without knowing how you know. Your intuition sometimes offers little sparks of clarity, and sometimes delivers answers, fully formed. These knowings may be tiny, like, “I should get outside right now and get the sunshine on my face.” They may be huge, like, “I should pack up all my belongings in a storage unit and get a car and spend the next year living all over the United States.” Or they may be in-between, like, “I should really look into what it would take to become a physical therapist. That voice that tells me I’d love it won’t stop talking. That’s the next step, to find out a little bit more about it.”

What actually is intuition? As an easy working definition, I think of it as the synthesis of all of our prior experiences, knowledge, perceptions, and information we are currently taking in. It’s what we know without fully knowing how we know. When we use our intuition, we are drawing from information we consciously have and information we unconsciously have.

Intuition can be one of our superpowers. For many people, though, that superpower seems to be absent or, at best, dormant. I can’t count how many clients have said to me, “If I knew what I wanted to do I would be fine—I would do it. But I have no idea what I want to do, what the right path is for me. That’s the problem.”

How do you wake your intuition up and tap into it so that you know what you want or need to do?Your intuition itself does not need improvement. Your intuition is intact. It may be buried under a whole bunch of crap. You may not have practiced using it or encouraging it or listening to it or trusting it or teaching it that it is wanted and needed. It’s there, though, a powerful resource waiting to be used. That is why we focus on encouraging it.

When you learn how to tap into your intuition, your journey will get easier in some ways, and harder in some ways. It will get more exciting. It will get less scary, and scarier—because you’ll be in motion instead of stuck in place! 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore how to to Enhance Your Intuition by making the Squash —> Encourage Shift. Because this topic is so important, and also so tricky, I’ll be breaking it into three pieces:

• The role of listening in encouraging your intuition
• Telling the difference between intuition and fear/anxiety/unhelpful impulse
• How to enhance your intuition and make “it”—clarity, answers, knowing—happen faster

If you improve your skill with those three things, you will make a huge step forward in navigating Thirtysomething Panic—or any life transition. To get us ready for the next piece, here’s a quick exercise for you: 

Put it into Action!

Quick question—what is communication? I’m guessing your definition includes something related to listening. We know that listening (whether with our ears or with our other senses) is key to communication. It’s also key to enhancing your intuition. But we’ll get to that later.

For now, take out your notebook and a pen, and set a timer for two minutes. In list form, answer the following question:

What makes someone a good listener?

Stay with the question, adding to your list, until the timer goes off. 

You’ll be using what you write in the next article.

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