The Missing Link to Making Better Career Decisions

Early on in my career, I interviewed with an organization for a job that sounded great on paper. But when I got to the interview, something didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I ignored that strange sense and (regretfully) took the job. I quickly began to realize the value of paying attention to that inner wisdom.

There have been many major career and life decisions that I’ve had to face since then, and what I’ve noticed is this: I’ve always benefitted from listening to that inner wisdom.

Now this doesn’t mean that we should ignore the rational or logical side of decision-making, but consider how frustrating it can be to feel stuck after making endless pro-con lists, asking friends and family what you “should” do, deliberating over uncertain potential future outcomes, or worst of all – allowing our inner critic to run the show.

Listening to our inner wisdom is a great way to help cut through the noise and confusion we often experience because we’re so used to making decisions from a solely logical or rational place.  It can provide us with another perspective and greater insight to consider before moving forward.

Because so many of us are used to making decisions from our rational or logical point of view, we often don’t know what it means to listen to this inner wisdom. How do we know when it’s trying to tell us something? Here are three simple techniques to tap into your inner wisdom:

Write

Let your thoughts and feelings pour freely out onto the page. What will likely emerge first are the concerns, fears, and excuses that your inner critic keeps voicing in your own mind. Getting this out on paper can make way for your inner wisdom to finally come through, so keep writing! Then ask the questions you need answers for, and see what comes up.

Another writing technique that can help you elicit your inner wisdom is writing a letter from your future self to your current self. What would your older, wiser future self have to say? What clarity can he or she provide?

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Our inner critic likes us to play it safe by staying within our comfort zone. It comes up with all sorts of reasons why we shouldn’t step outside of that comfort zone as a means to try to protect us from potential threat. But our inner wisdom often has bigger plans and dreams that don’t fall within our comfort zone. By taking even a small step outside of it, we’re then able to quiet the inner critic and tap into our inner wisdom.

For example, a friend of mine decided it was time for her to make a career change. Struggling to know what to do next, she simultaneously signed up for an improv comedy class. This class took her completely out of her comfort zone and not only helped build her confidence as she tried something new, but also helped her access her inner wisdom about who she is and what she wanted to do next in her career.

Turn Up the Volume

On your inner wisdom, that is. For many people, activities like meditation, hiking, or yoga help them access this voice. For others it might be painting, dance, or running. Activities that help you quiet your mind and engage a creative or energetic part of you often help your inner wisdom to become louder than the whisper we tend to ignore throughout our usual day-to-day tasks.

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Next time you’re facing a career decision, tune into this wisdom within you to help guide your way. I’d love to hear from you: what other methods help you access your inner wisdom? How has listening to this voice helped you in the past?