Many of us have experienced being ready to make a choice at work and in our personal lives and still doubting ourselves. Do you schedule a meeting with your boss when you realize you’re past due for a raise? Do you speak up about a coworker’s comments that make you uncomfortable? Most of us don’t question our intuition until we’re faced with what feels like a big, weighty decision. The stakes seem high, and even when you can identify your inner voice, acting on it may feel like a different story.
You can come up with all the reasons in the world to back down or change your mind, but underneath those rationalizations, it’s often your doubt, fear, or uncertainty holding you back. So you sit in your uncertainty, hesitate, and push through the discomfort —or make an excuse and do what feels safe and familiar. The good news is that you don’t have to continue operating this way.
The process I use with my clients to find and use their unique inner wisdom, The Art of Following Your Own Path, is about self-trust. We must listen, discern, trust, and choose to get there. So far, we’ve talked about the process of listening to get as much information as possible and discernment to sort through all the information you receive once you really learn to listen.
Trust is the muscle we build to follow through and act on our inner knowing, even when other voices in our heads seem louder. So how do we learn to really trust the wisdom of the inner voice?
Try, Try Again
Have you ever watched a toddler learning to walk? They never do it the first time they try. First, they push up and roll off to one side or the other. Then they figure out how to lean on something, like a couch, that they can support themselves. After they do this a zillion times, they build muscle in their legs and begin to push off, and up they go! Oops, down they go. Then up again for a few steps and a few more. They don’t care how often they fall—they just keep going until they get it. And they always do! That’s the process I encourage in learning to trust yourself. Listen . . . discern . . . trust . . . try it out . . . see what happens.
As you uncover your own truth, you have to see it play out in the world. I think of it as an experiment. Let’s say you’ve always done something a certain way. You haven’t been happy with the results, so you’ve decided to do it differently this time based on new insights. So you try something different and see what happens. Assess, refine, improve, and do it again until you know that you are correctly identifying your inner guidance and that it works.
Here’s the key: confidence is cumulative. It doesn’t happen all at once! You can experiment with comparatively “small” things and feel safer—minor things can be important and significantly impact your life. But if you’re new to listening and trusting your inner voice, you probably don’t want to test that new skill immediately with a career change. Instead, something smaller but deeply meaningful, such as a change in your daily routine, can build confidence that you are listening and discerning from a place of wisdom.
Deepening Your Awareness
People often recognize when something doesn’t work, yet they keep doing it with the same poor results. It’s called self-sabotage, and we usually don’t even realize we’re doing it. But there are windows of opportunity in those moments when we get frustrated because the solution we keep trying isn’t working. We can take these opportunities to recognize that we’re failing because we’re straying from our Truth. It’s our chance to accept that we keep making these unresourceful choices based on past pain, including fear, sadness, and lack.
As I support my clients in taking a new direction, one careful step at a time if needed, a healing process comes into play. As I’m guiding my clients to practice, experiment, learn, and grow, I step in to remove limits and blocks that get in the way of “seeing clearly.” This is an intuitive ability I’ve developed over years of professional study and practice. When we remove pain and come to terms with beliefs that no longer serve us, we are freed up to make choices based on the here and now to improve our lives moving forward.
Proving Yourself Right
A big part of understanding your “inner knowing” is knowing yourself: your values, strengths and weaknesses, talents, etc. Of course, you can also build up your familiarity with the natural world, learn how power dynamics work, and read everything written about business strategy and leadership. But here’s the difference between knowing something is right and trusting yourself: what are you willing to bet on it? What will convince you enough to go out on a limb and try something you’ve never done before? Or (possibly even scarier) something that hasn’t worked under other circumstances?
The beginning of this process, The Art of Following Your Own Path, started with listening for your inner voice or intuition. You might say this voice combines awareness, knowledge, experience, and a little more. If you were raised to value “logical” or “rational” decision-making, you might have to do some work to reconcile these two ways of knowing. You might have to come up with your own definition of your inner voice to establish a real, strong sense of trust in it and stand by your decisions when others disagree. This becomes important when you start to use your intuition as a leader.
Find the Courage To Change
It takes time to root out the doubt, fears, and uncertainty you’ve picked up from past experiences. Trusting yourself is such an important part of finding your own path of inner wisdom. You can listen and practice discernment, but without developing the skill of trusting yourself, you will be held back from making the choices that will lead you to live at your full potential. So start betting on yourself, start small, and grow your sense of trust; with each new situation, you’ll find yourself transformed.
Working with a coach or mentor can be really helpful when you’re still learning to trust yourself. Get in touch with me for a free 15-minute consultation, and subscribe to my newsletter to ensure you don’t miss the last blog in this series!