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Are you an HSP? What is intuition to you?

Intuition isn’t exactly an uncommon topic. You can find a plethora of articles about intuition, including the science behind it, and growing numbers of professionals like well-known author, psychiatrist, and speaker Dr. Judith Orloff work with executives to help them develop their intuition. Highly sensitive people tend to be more intuitive, according to Dr. Elaine Aron, because they are naturally more tuned in to their environment. "This greater awareness of the subtle," she writes in The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You, "tends to make you more intuitive, which simply means picking up and working through information in a semiconscious or unconscious way. The result is that you often 'just know' without realizing how."

Following intuition requires courage because when we follow its lead, we don't necessarily have all the data in front of us.

However, everyone has intuition, and it can guide us toward right decisions in all areas of life - career, personal relationships, and beyond. Intuition holds wisdom that the brain and ego don’t; they want us to play within the bounds for our own security - taking “a leap of faith,” as it were. Following intuition requires courage because when we follow its lead, we don’t necessarily have all the data in front of us supporting our intuition’s guidance - it can feel like a leap into the unknown. But it could just be a small step, followed by another small step.

What is intuition to you? How does it show up?

Series of brick arches spanning a narrow Roman street adjacent to a cathedral with sunlight shining down

It often shows up for me as a gentle tug or a quiet voice. Many times I’ve felt an intuitive pull (or push) and ignored it, often because I thought I should listen to someone else, someone wiser or more experienced, instead. While I’m not always great at heeding my intuition, I am an excellent people-pleaser. Years of practice have made me a real pro. Unsurprisingly, I’ve usually come to regret listening to those outside voices, and saying “I told you so” to myself isn’t one of my favorite pastimes. As a full-on adult (now into my early 40s), I decided it was finally time to start trusting myself more and trusting others less. They can make their own choices; I can make mine. That’s what drew me to intuitive development and spiritual coaching.

Several years ago I heard about a job posting with a new company less than 10 minutes from my home as opposed to the 70 miles roundtrip I had been driving for three years. The job looked interesting. And it required 10 years of experience to my five. “So what?” I boldly thought. I had nothing to lose and applied for it. I was soon contacted for an interview with the hiring manager, an aerospace industry VP.

Afterward, I remember calling my husband to tell him that after learning more about the role, I knew I would be disappointed if I didn’t get it. In a breach of protocol, the HR manager called me personally within an hour. I remember standing in my living room as she told me that they had been searching for months, and I was the one. I had the job.

In some ways that step felt like a leap. It meant that I would be leaving a job I was quite comfortable in to start all over. As an HSP, I don’t take that stuff lightly. In other ways, though, the prospect of taking the job felt more like a small step. My brain had reliable data suggesting that I had started other new jobs before and I’d probably be fine starting one again. “You never know,” the HSP voice said. What if I left a job working for a great boss and hated my new role? I’m really great at “what ifs” and back-and-forths. But that feeling of excitement - knowing I would be disappointed not to be offered the job - that’s what got me. How could I turn it down?

As it turns out, that job was amazing. I worked with incredible people from all over the world in an awe-inspiring field, and I even got my first coaching experience there, albeit rather different from the coaching I do now. Deciding to resign after a few years to stay at home with my new baby was one of the hardest choices I’ve ever made. Spoiler alert: I went with my intuition on that one, too.

Trusting my intuition brought me to coaching. (“My brain didn’t get me here” is an important message I received during a session with a new-to-me coach, and that message has served me often since then as I have navigated starting a coaching practice.) Trusting my intuition also led me to my coach training program, based on transformational rather than transactional coaching methods. If it had been up to my former coach, I would have selected a psychology-based transactional coaching program. That type of training is right for some people. For me, it was bad advice. Don’t get me wrong - as an expert people-pleaser, I felt like I “should” do what she suggested, and I had to deal with the internal conflict of being pulled in two different directions - hers or mine.

I chose mine, and it was hard. I have also been deeply grateful ever since. I found a caring, supportive community of coaches, visionaries, and professionals who are committed to lovingly transforming the world. We weren’t taught about SMART goals; we learned about creating a better quality of life from the inside out, transforming our relationships to our challenges to create lasting change rather than addressing symptoms, and tapping into the highest potential in any given situation. We learned about true personal power.

Just remember that your body knows. Your heart knows. You have the answers.
Inside of an arched opening under a Roman building with wrought iron gate overlooking a small garden

We have to trust the moments when our inner guidance system kicks in. It’s scary, especially for HSPs, empaths, and other sensitives, as well as for those who live in service to ego only. Just remember that your body knows. Your heart knows. You have the answers, whether or not your brain can create a graph or list bullet points supporting your decision. You can’t know what will happen after the first step down that path. Maybe your next step will take you toward a different path. Whatever happens, you will know that your choices were your own.

Your path. Your inner guidance. Your opportunities. Your potential.

You’ve probably experienced many similar situations in your own life, and I’d love to hear about them. Send me a note to share your stories.

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