Here’s the deal: Doing what you really want is complicated. It’s not like we can just decide on the one single thing we truly want, make it happen, then be happy with it forever. We’re living, breathing humans with ever-evolving preferences and vast influences. We change our minds. We grow. As does the world around us.
Hence: doing what we really want at any given time isn’t necessarily about making a concrete never-going-to-change-my mind decision–it’s more about embodying an attitude. It’s about knowing our wants and owning them, in any given situation. It’s about committing to your intuition and putting it, and whatever it tells you to do, first.
That is, straight up trusting your gut. Treating it like it’s the guiding voice of reason. Doing this is key to doing what you really want and making it work.
Too often, we’re hesitant to admit when we follow hunches, we know we should leave our emotions out of decision making and prioritize guidance of experts over our own. Expert guidance is important and, yeah, there’s a time and a place for it, but the attitude that it’s more important than our own diminishes our capacity to leverage the power of our own instincts when they can really shine–and guide us to awesome things.
CEO Francis P Cholle says, “we need both instinct and reason to make the best possible decisions for ourselves, our businesses and our families. Unfortunately, many of us—even when we experience success using this lesser acknowledged part of us–are uncomfortable with the idea of using our instincts as a guidance tool … our discomfort with the idea of relying on our instincts is based on millennia of cultural prejudice.”
We’re taught to put intuition second when it comes to decision-making and taught to ignore the fact that it helps u isn’t helping us navigate our careers and personal lives. Intuition is the sum of our experiences, feelings and reactions and we need it, which makes it a huge part of our intelligence.
Training ourselves to trust our guts in spite of the data, numbers and extrovert-championing world we live in can take some retraining of the mind. Here are three ways to strengthen that trust and own it:
Seek (don’t fear) disapproval
Focus less on the fear of public disapproval and instead on the advantages. Challenge yourself to seek it out, whether it’s a debate, an opportunity to teach someone something you know, self-expression or assertion and widening your perspective and self-knowledge. Doing what you want will lead you to come up against disapproval. That’s a good thing.
Give yourself enough time
Balance your seeking advice and communing with your crew with taking time alone. The time limits you give yourself are yours to set. Slow down, relax, let yourself react. A frantic mindset kills our ability to be in touch with what we really want. Don’t make decisions from that place.
Escape your routine regularly
Ideally, in nature. Away from the internet. Give your animal self some time to just be. After considering a decision, your brain will continue to work on the problem and downtime will, as Shelley Row puts it, “allow it to pick up subtle signals from the dusty file folders and meld them with the facts.”
Feel it, do it, own it. Now you’re officially adulting.