What is the difference between inner guidance and fear-based decision making? This is a question I am quite often asked in classes and workshops.
Here is an example of what intuition looks like, or more accurately, feels like:
As I walked down the empty hallway after saying goodbye to all of the students I had worked with that year, time appeared to slow. Despite the hum of celebration and excitement that accompanies the end of the school year, I found myself in pure silence. A sort of knowing came over me—I wasn’t just saying goodbye for the summer, I was saying goodbye to my position as a pediatric occupational therapist. It was time for me to go out on my own. As I received this guidance, there was not one ounce of apprehension or hesitation in my body, mind or soul. I shared this insight with the department manager, and easily stayed solid in my decision as she asked me—three times—if I wanted some time to reconsider.
Shortly thereafter, I started my coaching practice and began growing it to what I have today.
Here are some key points about this intuitive experience:
- There was no urgency to come to this decision.
- I felt a sense of peaceful guidance throughout the entire process.
- My body was in a state of ease and relaxation, despite having to talk with my boss on what could be perceived to be a difficult subject.
Contrast this with the following scenario of fear-based actions and decision making:
I sat in the LaGuardia airport after visiting my best friend in New York. I had a four-week parenting class starting in two weeks and very few people had signed up. I experienced this as a problem and felt as if I needed to take specific, and lengthy, actions to solve it. In my body, I felt a pit of nervous guilt in my stomach and the tightness of regret in my throat—I should have done more sooner. The words “too little, too late” replayed in my mind. Fear-based thinking led me to an apparent solution: I would use my two hours in the airport to start sending out emails to everyone I knew who may be interested. Due to delays, I was “lucky” enough to turn this into three hours. Guess how many responses I got from those three hours of emails? None. Not one.
Interestingly, when I recognized that my last-minute attempt had led to nothing, and then let go of any attachment to a specific outcome, folks began to sign up via referrals and word of mouth.
Here are some key points about this experience of fear-based decision-making:
- Feelings of anxiety, worry, stress and urgency were present.
- My body was not at ease or comfortable.
- I was in a state of thinking and analyzing rather than being present in the moment.
I have countless examples of both intuitive and fear-based decision-making in all areas of my life. And you may, too. If listening to your intuition or inner guidance is something you want to work on, start by getting quiet, listening to your body and following the decision that brings you the most peace.