In 2002, I knew I was meant for something more in my career. It was a strong internal conviction that dawned on me over a period of months. At the time, I worked in a demanding job that sapped my energy, but not my potential. Even though I initially tried to ignore it, over time the voice inside me grew from a whisper to an insistent roar. I knew it was time for a change.
I decided to see a career counselor and held regular sessions over several months to clarify what was most important to me in my work. Sorting out what my inner knowing was telling me took time and effort. But, it was a rewarding process that enabled me to eventually create a new structure for how I could bring all of who I was to my career. Since then, I’ve never looked back. It never would have happened if I had not given that inner voice a space in my life.
WHAT IS “INNER KNOWING”?
Inner Knowing is a gestalt sense felt multi-dimensionally through thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. It’s the intrinsic wisdom honed by your life experiences. It goes by many names: intuition, gut feeling, and the inner navigator, for example. When you start having a feeling things aren’t right, that voice inside becomes more persistent and starts manifesting in other ways.
For example in the career arena, if your intuition is telling you that you are going to burn out if you don’t slow down but you continue to work at an unrelenting pace, your physical body — or some other aspect of our experience — will eventually break down and could manifest as an ailment that demands your attention.
Here are some additional examples of how inner knowing can show up in your work.
- You have a persistent thought that it’s time to leave a situation that no longer works for you
- You feel like you’re focusing in an area that is not worth your time or effort
- You know you need to quiet your mind more
- You feel an urge to nurture your creativity
- Deep down you know that you are capable just as you are and don’t need further schooling or training to be “worthy” or “qualified,” which flies in the face of your itch to sign up for another academic or training program
- You need to bring more of who you are into your interactions with others
HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR INNER KNOWING
The best way I know to engage your inner knowing is to get into a regular habit of self-reflection with an outlet for the thoughts that surface so you can see patterns. This can take several forms. A regular journaling practice. Pursuing something that taps into your creativity. Meditating, even if it’s just a short time as often as possible. Or it could be what I did, working with a professional such as a therapist or coach so you can step back and start to observe your situation and unpack what your gut is telling you.
Working with a skilled practitioner can help sort the essential from the non-essential and experiment with different paths forward. This helped me flesh out my career vision and realize my full potential, which is centered on helping professionals listen to their inner knowing and craft the careers of impact, meaning and fulfillment they desire. It is particularly satisfying to have walked my own path through transition and transformation in my career and now be able to do the same with my clients.
This article originally appeared on the Merideth Mehlberg Group website.