14 Jun 2013

Trust Your Instincts

No Comments Building Confidence, Decision Making, Empowerment, Fearless Living, Life Coaching

My amazing coach mentor, Marta Weiskopf, taught me how to trust my instincts. “Notice when you get it right. Notice when you get it wrong. Work on understanding that difference.”

You can only really get in touch with your intuition when you get to know the difference between what a real intuitive nudge feels like compared to a fear response. The simple way to work on this is by taking the time to notice. When do you get it right and when do you get it wrong?

I just had one of those huge gut instinct moments. I have a window at my desk looking out into my yard and the neighbors yard beyond. I was working away when all of a sudden a young man appeared from the back of my neighbors yard and marched on through. The fact that he was carrying a chainsaw caught my attention. I thought, “that is weird.” I hesitated, then got up. I walked to my front room – watched as he walked across the street and straight into the back yard of the house across the street. I stood at the window. I was about to shrug and turn away, but I hesitated. I waited. He didn’t come back around the front of the house. I waited longer. I started to get worried. The neighbor across the street is a senior and lives by herself. I waited even longer. I started to debate about what should I do. I saw her front window shake, hard.

I called 911. I decided it was better to be wrong. I tried to be cool on the phone but really I was apologetic, “I saw this thing, and it was weird, and I am not sure, but the lady there lives alone, and I am worried, and…I just have a feeling that I need to call.  It is probably nothing, but I thought I should call…”

By the time the police arrived he was long gone. Her three jewellery boxes, and lap top were gone with him. The good news is I was outside with the police when she got home so I was able to tell her what was going on. Better that then her coming home alone to a kicked in door. Still, I felt terrible that I wasn’t more forceful on the phone. I felt terrible that I basically stood at my window and watched it happen. It took the police 20 minutes to arrive. What if I would have been more clear with 911, what if I would have trusted my gut feeling more? Would they have got here quicker? Would it have made a difference to the dog they brought over to try and catch the scent? What if I had acted on my instincts rather than hesitating?

In this case my instincts were right. I acted, but I also hesitated. When I was dialing 911, I heard my gut very clearly say CALL, DO IT. When I got on the line I was clear but also hesitant. The chatter in my head was loud: “What if am wrong and he was supposed to be back there cutting her tree?” , “Why else would a guy be walking around with a chainsaw?”, “What if you are wrong and the police swarm her house and scare her?”, “What if you end up looking like the nut case crazy neighbor?” Even though the “voice” was saying all of those things, the feeling in my gut was louder. DO IT.

The good news is, I have evidence that my intuition is on. Despite the obvious fact that there was a random guy wandering around the neighborhood with a chainsaw, I could have ignored it. I could have shrugged and turned back to my work. But I didn’t.  My intuition worked. I was right, something was up. The bad news is my fear of “bothering people” also kicked in. I think I actually apologized on the 911 call! It may have made a difference if I had said loud and clear on the call. A MAN WITH A CHAINSAW JUST WALKED INTO MY ELDERLY NEIGHBOR’S BACK YARD!

Could have, should have, would have. It may not have gotten them here any quicker, and I will never know. But I can still take this experience as a lesson on trusting my instincts more. I can use this experience and file it away as validation that my intuition is always with me. It was clear as a bell, but I fought it because I wanted an out in case I was wrong. My fears of looking stupid, being wrong, and looking like a nosey neighbor made me hesitate. But even when my voice of fear was yelling at me, my gut instinct was clear as a bell. “Call 911 now.”

Coach Yourself:

1) What are three memorable moments in your life when your gut told you something and it was right? What happened? Did you know it and act, or did you not listen? What did that experience teach you about your instincts?

2) If you feel like you can’t trust your instincts, work on listening to your intuition more.  Intuition is a gentle nudge – it is the quieter voice. It is steady and it is clear. If you are feeling “muddled” you may not be able to hear it. Allow yourself to get quiet. What is the constant nudge, the one that remains steady?

3) Be willing to notice when you get it wrong and embrace that. Sometimes it will be more clear that we have not listened to our gut. Give yourself credit for that. The fact is your intuition was there – you just didn’t act on it. Again, the thing to notice is that it was there. What did that feel like compared to what you decided to do? How could you recognize that same gut feeling next time? What are you willing to do for yourself next time?

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Beth supports people in finding solutions to everyday problems!
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