Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Developing Intuition To Succeed
Since early 2001, I have been living a dream--a vision--that surfaced from using my intuition. By tuning into my inner guidance, I was able to build a national organization for women writers in just over 4 years that currently has over 11,000 newsletter subscribers and over 2,700 members (as of 2005). When I first came up with the idea to start the National Association of Women Writers (NAWW), I was a suburban mother of three small children who had a somewhat bold dream to connect and support other women writers like myself.
Intuition can be defined as a quick and ready insight. This insight can steer you on a correct path, warn you of danger, and/or connect you to your creativity. In Shakti Gawain's book, Developing Intuition, she describes how "the most successful people are often very intuitive. Consciously or unconsciously, they follow their gut feelings. Following intuition puts us in the flow--a very alive, productive, and desirable state."
Developing your intuition allows you the ability to not have to look to others to give you strength or to teach you what they know. Using your intuition allows you the ability to look internally, find the answers and the strength to be bold and act on your inner guidance.
Accessing your intuition is like many other creative activities you might engage. As you string together words or put paint on a canvas, you must listen and pay attention to these mental insights. They allow you to keep moving forward. The more you trust these insights, the more your craft will improve. Of course, you must add liberal amounts of perseverance and some organizational skills as well, but the end results will pay off as you see your dreams and goals come to fruition.
Following are five suggestions for developing and accessing your intuition so that you may find, follow, and fulfill your dream! Continually use these techniques to make decisions and reach goals.
ONE: REFLECT ON LESSONS ALREADY LEARNED
You must reflect to process information. In February 2000, I had just given birth to my third child and finished my MA in Organizational Management. At 30 years old, I was at a crossroad and in a position to finally pursue a career I loved. I just had to figure out what it was. For seven months I read about and researched different subjects that I was interested in, such as women's issues, writing, and business startups. I journaled a great deal during this time, reflecting on the past and looking towards the future. I came to understand through this process that I wanted to use my social work experience, my love of writing, and my organizational management skills. While intuition led me during those months to make these decisions, journaling helped me to document the insights and focus along the way.
TWO: GET BACK TO NATURE
Developing your intuition requires the absence of chaos. It is impossible to fully listen to this inner guidance with all the interruptions that occur in our lives. To tune in to your intuition, to succeed, you have to get away from the chaos. For me, I jog or walk outside at least 30 minutes each day. Nature provides me with just the right sounds and scenery for my intuitive senses to come alive. I make this activity a priority in my life because this quiet time calms my soul, supports my creativity, and gives me the mental space I need to tune into my inner yearnings. I have used my "getting back to nature" time for over five years to make crucial business decisions and to figure out many pivotal solutions to roadblocks in my personal and business lives. Nature is the perfect prescription for anything that ails you. Experiencing the solitude that nature provides is a form of meditation that calms the soul and purges the stress from your life.
THREE: TRUST YOURSELF
Understand that most people usually act on impulses and societal cues. Those who slow down and pay attention to their own inner guidance find that they can think clearly and make difficult decisions. When my close friends and family were not supportive of my new dream, they would often say negative things. They honestly weren't trying to be mean spirited, but simply could not visualize how I could possibly succeed at building an organization from scratch with three small children to care for. Past lessons taught me I was on the right path. I had done enough research and my strengthened intuition faithfully guided me through the difficult times. Another benefit of learning to trust yourself is that you will also nurture your self-confidence and build your self-esteem in the process.
FOUR: BLOCK OUT NEGATIVE THOUGHTS AND PEOPLE
Once you begin to trust yourself, you will inevitably have to start blocking out the negativity of others. Some of this negativity will come from loved ones. It is human nature for people to negate things and events they do not understand or have no personal experience with. Change causes stress and many people subconsciously dismiss new ideas because it makes them feel more comfortable to do so. One of the most important steps you will have to take to reach any goal is to be able to block out and/or redirect negativity. You have to trust yourself to be able to do this. The time you spend in nature will help you to purge the toxic feedback from others out of your mind and out of your life. Everyone that was close to me did not understand nor share in my dream in the beginning. Only after they started to see my dream materialize did they begin to support it. That is why it is essential to block out or at least filter the negativity. Understanding the cause of these behaviors and reactions makes it easier to dismiss them and to follow your own (more in tune) thoughts instead.
The last and most important suggestion I can give you for developing intuition is to be bold and to act on the inner cues that are being sent to you as mental/emotional/spiritual signals or urges. Developing intuition is a cyclical process and, like any other innate talent, you must act on it to further develop it. Often we are drawn to people, subjects, and events through our intuition. I was drawn to establish the NAWW because I like to help people as evidenced by my obtaining a bachelor degree in social work. I have always used writing as a tool to heal and express myself. And lastly, I have always been an entrepreneur--even in the first grade when I made my own address books and sold them at school for 10 cents each. When my intuitive side sent the messages of what to do to start the NAWW, I listened. I acted by researching my competition (other writing associations), by asking my customers (my women writer colleagues) what they wanted, and by building a website and starting the official weekly newsletter. I acted quickly. In less than two months from the moment I conceived the idea of the National Association of Women Writers, the website and newsletter were born. My "baby" continues to grow and mature at a healthy rate.
When you continually use these five suggestions to develop your intuition and to test your inner guidance, you will find that it will become easier to make decisions and to live peacefully with those decisions. Your life won't automatically become problem-free, but you will begin trusting in the ultimate outcome of events as working in your favor for the future. By filtering through the physical and subliminal cues inside and all around you, you will learn to develop your intuition and succeed.
Sheri McConnell is the CEO of Sheri McConnell Companies, Inc. and the president and founder of two global organizations, the Smart Women's Institute of Entrepreneurial Learning (formerly the National Assn of Women Writers-2001) and the Global Institute of Associations-GIA. You can visit Sheri, access her free article archive, and grab lots of free stuff at http://www.smartwomeninstitute.com/ or http://www.giaconnect.com. Sheri lives in San Antonio, Texas with her husband, their four children, a weenie dog, and three hermit crabs.
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