I hear an eerily familiar voice and for an instant I freeze, my hands glued to the shopping cart. My gaze is fixed straight ahead on nothing. I can’t see his face. I don’t need to see it. I know with uncanny certainty that the man who stalked me years ago is now standing behind me. As he continues to speak to me, to us. He is asking questions. “Hey, have you tried this brand? This is the good stuff! What about this kind?” His nasal voice grates directly against my brain. He’s the personal shopper from hell! I refuse to look. I am speechless. The urge to get away overwhelms me.
I walk at a quick, clipped pace. I say nothing. “Mom, what’s wrong?” I hear my daughter’s voice. I can’t respond. We have to move away. He moves with us. He is now beside me. I can see his ruddy face from the corner of my eye. Yes, it’s him! My daughter senses something is wrong. “Mom, let me push the cart!” She grabs the handle and begins almost to run. “Come on, Mom!” she says loudly and over –cheerfully, as we sprint toward the cash registers. He ducks off into an aisle.
Finally at the register, I am visibly shaken. My 13 year-old, says, “Mom, that guy was really creepy!” Trying to appear calm, I respond, “He only said a few words. What makes you say he’s creepy?” Her response spoke volumes, “I could just feel it. That’s why I didn’t talk to him.” Smart girl. She listened to her intuition, to her insticts. If I had done that so many years ago, I would never have been so polite. I would not have entered a conversation that was the beginning of a situation that tormented me for years. I would have listened to that strange feeling, to the hair standing on the back of my neck, to the inexplicable feeling of not being able to breathe in this person’s presence, to my intuition. Since then I have learned to respect, greatly appreciate and more often than not, listen to that deep knowing both in my personal and professional interactions. And I have encouraged my children to do the same.
Despite the fact that studies support and confirm the idea that intuition is highly accurate, the accuracy of my own intuition still amazes me. And whenever I succumb to my old patterns of suppressing my intuitive insights, I usually regret it. The business deal ends up less than ideal. That particular client that felt “off” turns out to be far from pleasant to work with. And let’s just note that over the years I have had more than one stalker.
Too often, we are taught to ignore or mistrust our intuition. From the time we are children most of us are taught to override our inner compass to fulfill certain expectations of politeness or friendliness and the like. Of course, I want a kind, friendly and polite world, filled with loving and loveable people, as much as anyone could. And I also want us to us our intuition, because I know that it serves a purpose. Our intuition reveals that each of us knows more than we think we do and it helps us make decisions even in new and completely unfamiliar situations.
I work with men and women from a diverse array of backgrounds on issues that span the spectrum of personal and professional development. When a client enters a session, I never really know in advance what their needs on that particular day will be, because, well, life happens. In our previous session we may have planned to work on getting clarity on a set of goals or perhaps or improving their mindset or their leadership presence and influence. And then the client shows up with a different agenda. She now has the need and the desire to address how a disastrous family relationship is wreaking havoc on her both at home and in the office. How do I suddenly shift into that space and know just the right questions to ask to help my client reach a breakthrough? The answer is simple, intuition. Yes, I have been formally trained as a coach at one of the best training institutes in the industry and I have lots of experience, in coaching and in life. But that alone does not explain what some have called my “amazing ability to always ask the right questions”, sometimes even on things the client would not even have considered.
We all have an innate level of intuitiveness and our intuition is a figurative muscle; we can build and strengthen it simply by using it. One way to do this is simply to practice making decisions quickly before you have time to consider, reconsider and second guess your intuitive insights. I am not saying, throw all facts, sense and caution to the wind. When you are making potentially high-impact decisions, due diligence is in order. However, anytime you are faced with a decision, really check in and listen to what is coming up for you from deep inside. When in doubt follow your intuition.
Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear your story. How has following your intuition helped you achieve something great personally or professionally? Or, when was the last time you smothered and pushed aside your intuition and you really regretted it?
Post your comments and encourage more people to follow their intuition, because we always know more than we think we know.