Monday Notes: 4 Ways to Follow Your Intuition

Following your intuition can be a scary thing because many of us have been taught to listen to family and friends, walk with the crowd, or attain external validation instead of listening to ourselves. We’ve literally been taught to not trust our gut instinct, which can sometimes be detrimental because we end up living by someone else’s rules, as opposed to our own.

If this is you, here are four ways to ease into following your intuition:

think1: Be impulsive. A blogger once asked me to differentiate between intuition and impulse. I don’t remember what I told her, but today I have an answer. Being impulsive has a negative connotation. No one wants to be impulsive. Impulsive purchases can create debt. Impulsivity can lead to destructive lifestyles. Romeo and Juliet were impulsive and look what happened to them! See how we’re shaped to believe a thing each and every moment?

But what is intuition, except knowing you should do something right then?

If you’re not used to following your intuition, then I suggest making a small, impulsive, low stakes move. For example, have you ever felt you should call a person? Go ahead and call. Have you ever talked yourself out of buying a piece of clothing in a new color? Go ahead and buy it. Making low stakes moves will build your confidence and pretty soon, following your intuition will become second nature.

2: Don’t overthink it. After you’ve decided to do something, you may feel inclined to overthink it. Don’t.

I have done quite a few things in my life without thinking them all the way through. *The latest idea was the Mental Health Matters interviews. My initial thought was I’m not equipped to answer readers’ questions about mental health issues; I can only write about myself and how I’ve handled these concepts. Wouldn’t it be cool if I invited mental health experts to discuss one issue with me in a brief amount of time? That was it. That was the idea. The next thing I know I’d compiled a list and was interviewing experts and having videos edited. The editor then asked me if I wanted an audio for podcasting, too. My answer? Sure. Next I found myself figuring out where to upload audio versions of the interviews.

When I shared the idea with Dwight, he gave me the slow blink and said, “So you’re going to have a podcast now?”

“Maaaybee,” I laughed. That leads me to the next way to follow your intuition.

feedback_opinion3: Don’t listen to others’ opinions. There are two reasons why I would suggest not listening to other people’s opinions. The first is if you don’t have supportive people in your life. Instead, you have naysayers. You’ll know who these people are by their past responses. For example, if you’ve told a friend about your idea and their response is why would you do that or how would you do that (but not in a helpful way), then this is the beginning of a subtle naysayer response. The second reason you may not want to listen to the folks around you is because of the opposite. They will have a million different ways for you to enact your idea. Don’t use WordPress. Use Medium. What about Tumblr? Other people’s opinions may send you down a rabbit hole of self-doubt and non-productivity, which could lead to never manifesting your idea.

If you need advice about how to make your idea a reality, then use Google, read a book, or take a class. The only exception to this may be if your friend or family member is someone who has done what you want to do. I say may be because that person will still only speak from their experience, which could be totally different than yours.

4: Adopt a playful view of life. Most of the time I view life as a playful experience. When I conceptualized and edited Daddy, I thought of it as playing with other people, you know, like when you were a kid? I envisioned being in a room with the other women and pretending to be authors who were writing a book. And now, I thought, we’re going to go around the country and tell people about the book. Doesn’t that sound like fun? With a little planning and agreement, it happened. We actually did the aforementioned things and impacted lives at the same time. Trust me, pretending is not just for children. Kind of like being impulsive, we’ve been told it’s not something we should do as adults. But not imagining, pretending, and playing are for adults, too.

I hope being impulsive, not overthinking, listening to yourself, and adopting a playful view of life helps to guide you toward a happier and more intuitive life!

*Update: My latest impulsive act was co-creating a petition to stop Florida public schools from reopening in August. If you’re concerned about this issue, then you can view and sign the petition here: Safe Return for P-12 Florida Teachers.

54 thoughts on “Monday Notes: 4 Ways to Follow Your Intuition

  1. ‘When I shared the idea with Dwight, he gave me the slow blink and said, “So you’re going to have a podcast now?”’ 😂 Was that me who asked about impulse/intuition. Even if not, it’s a question I’ve grappled with, together with catastrophising the outcome of going with impulse and imagining looking back on the moment of that decision as being the choice I made ugh. Such an unhelpful line of thought. I think deuttering the mind and being attunded to my feelings makes it clear and also stops me questioning. I think if you’re aligned, impulse and intuition are one and the same. If out of alignment, there’s lacknof focus and impulse can be anything…being led by subliminal messages, opinion if others, envy etc. Nice post 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. No, it was a blogger who knits. Yes I agree. aligned/attuned = knowing and trusting impulse/intuition. And YES about being out of alignment. Thanks for sharing this part Mek!

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      1. I once knitted haha. I made a scarf over the course of my pregnancy. It was very very long haha. No probs…having the chance to discuss allows it to be clearer in my mind, so thanks for the space to share those thoughts 😊

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I…A…GREE! That is a great example of using intuition/being impulsive. So many of us, especially women, second guess what we want to say for many fears (that we’ve been taught to have). This would be a good way to take those baby steps I suggested above. Thanks for adding this.

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  2. 🙂 Hmm I enjoyed this posting and you are so right, being impulsive isn’t such a great idea, reckless even, you’re imagination is flooded with wonderful possibilities but in your impulse you’ll not have thought through the possible bad outcomes….. and there always are!

    Yes someone who asks tooo many opinions will NEVER make a decision in their life and we all know people like that, but now I’m wanting my cake and eat it, who’s advice to take and who’s advice to ignore will also create indecision, many times in life you desperately need valid good opinion from people you trust, who know what they’re talking about. I’m reminded of something else, I’ve lost count of the times people have said to my face lol “the trouble with you Andrew is you think too much!” I’ve thought myself out of a night out won’t be enjoyable without thinking ‘yeh tonight will be fun 🙂 ‘…………….. that’s probably because I had three dating experiences on the spin that lol didn’t go well, knocked my confidence big time whereas the optimist climb back on that horse to ride again (err that’s not a sexual riding!)

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  3. Great post, Kathy. I’m glad to say over the years I’ve learned to listen and trust my intuition. This is not to say I don’t sometimes find myself questioning some of my decisions. For example, my post on Instagram today (an excerpt of another piece) was inspired by a decision I made in haste and ignoring the very thing I know for sure; to never go into business with family and friends again. So, I’ve been brooding over this lately. Luckily, things are still at the beginning; nothing lost only the same lesson learned again. 🙂

    p.s. Maybe that we both ended up posting about intuition today is no coincidence but a likely event, the randomness of life, considering how many of us often ignore our intuition.

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  4. Interesting post, KE. I’m a very methodical, pros and cons kind of girl. Following my intuition, an intangible and mysterious force for which no data exists, often feels reckless. I think parents are right to warn their kids against impulsivity. The brain areas involved in risk assessment and decision-making do not mature until about age 25. But it’s OK to take a few chances in midlife, once you’ve gained some experience and self-control. Beginning with low-stakes stuff was key for me. Why not audit a poetry class or try on an eye-catching striped top or buy some yarn and a hook and teach myself to crochet? Being a beginner is a humbling experience but you have to start somewhere. As little successes stack up, you begin to trust yourself, open yourself more to those inner inklings and hunches. Who would have guessed that striped top would become my favorite, crocheting would become a sort of moving meditation, and I’d be reading my work in front of an audience (she who was once terrified of oral reports)? Not everything I’ve tried has ended in success, but even failed ventures have value if you learn from them. Often, they open unexpected doors. Serendipity exists but it cannot swing into motion until we take the first step. Not overthinking and being playful fall in the same category, not taking ourselves too seriously. Usually, I don’t share intuitive ideas with others until I’ve taken the leap because their responses are so predictable. Mostly naysayers. And a few over-positive people who aren’t to be trusted because they always tell you an idea is a GREAT IDEA, whether it is or not. I just do it if I want to do it and let it play out, prepared to take credit if it succeeds or responsibility if it fails. 🙂

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    1. EXACTLY Joan!

      As far as the children thing…I’ll say this: Raising children is no easy feat. I understand about the frontal lobe and all, but I do think sometimes we over-parent and teach children to over-rely on outside opinions, which also can make it seem as if we have all the answers…I think you’d agree that we do not. So, I believe there’s a fine line of encouraging children to LEARN to use their intuition by giving them opportunities to do so, which I do think will help build self-trust…you know?

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      1. I get it, but most of the “intuitive” things I did at 18, 19, 22 were actually wildly impulsive. Developing intuition takes time and life experience. As a kid, I wondered how Mom could look the sky and know if it was going to rain. She had 27 more years of experience looking at skies than I did. Now I can do it. As a newbie in Labor and Delivery, I wondered how seasoned nurses knew if a woman was in real or false labor just by looking at them. Five years later I knew, too. I wondered how anyone could cook without a recipe, tossing seemingly random amounts of ingredients into the pot. Now I do it all the time. Kids need to have the opportunity to make low-stakes decisions but would do well to check in with a parent on the biggies. Ever see the meme about 14-year olds needing to hurry and move out while they still know everything? LOL.

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      2. I hear you Joan. I’m not sure the things you named are intuitive though. If I’ve been looking at the sky for years, I’ve developed a system based on external factors that alert me to things that are telling if it’s going to rain or not (the way the air smells, how the sky looks, if those clouds are flat or cumulus)…know what I mean? The type of intuition I’m speaking of isn’t based on practicing/learning/studying something, except your internal system.

        But I do know what you’re saying.

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  5. Great topic, Katherin! It brought to mind a recent situation I went through. My gut feeling was to stop corresponding with someone I had met through my meditation app. He was overly friendly and it felt artificial. I tried slowly disengaging, but he kept bombarding me with messages and questions. It seems that my gut feeling was helpful, as things seemed more uncomfortable as I withdrew. Finally, I sent a message telling him I no longer wanted to communicate – to stop messaging me. He did not respect my wishes. I blocked him by email and then I had to block him on the app, as well. I wondered if I had been cold and heartless, as I started out with open and friendly correspondence. But I’m glad I trusted my gut! I never thought of being friendly as a drawback, but I will be more careful sharing my email next time.
    I love what you wrote and it will be helpful to remember when accessing my gut feelings in the future.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Judy! What you’ve shared reminds me of a conversation I JUST had a couple of hours ago. The person said that she’d learned to pay attention to people’s “tells” early on to prevent one-sided collaborations. What you’ve described seems similar.

      I think you’re right that you knew he was creepy from the beginning, but women, in particular (something my friend and I discussed) are taught to be nice and not to be mean to others, etc., etc. and I do think we end up in these situations quite a bit because of the cultural lessons we’ve been taught about how to interact as women/females.

      I’m also glad you ended up blocking him! This sounds like it could’ve been scary.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I sure appreciate your supportive reply, Katherin! I do believe he was a bit threatening. When I shared his messages with friends, I was even more sure about my decision – they said he sounded crazy. I agree with what you wrote. This was definitely a skewed interaction – he wouldn’t take no for an answer.
        The scary part was I stopped writing to him when I learned he lives in my area. I am still nervous about it. I’ll keep you posted.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. You know I was just thinking I should’ve added this: don’t worry about “failure.” Failure isn’t real and I say go back to starting small and increase from there. And don’t beat yourself up about “making a mistake.” Ultimately, if you keep dwelling on what happened before, you’ll teach yourself not to trust yourself.

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      1. Then it all goes into what is failure? I wrote a post last week about if marriage is the same as living together. Obviously lots of different opinions about that. But many people who are pro living together had been in failed marriages before, so while a marriage ending in divorce isn’t a failure, does it cloud your perception about your intuition? I wrote about judging today, and it all circles around…do you judge based on intuition or something else? I don’t have any actual answers to any of this…but thoughts keep circling in my brain

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      2. I hear you. That’s why I said there is no “failure.” There really is no such thing. We’ve made it up. I’ve seen this in particular with people who have gone through divorce. Like you asked…what I’ve seen is their “failed” marriage sometimes hinders them from having future healthy marriages/relationships because of fear of “making a mistake.”

        I think you judge based on fear in a lot of situations.

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  6. I like the topic and the down to earth advice. As I’m slowly building my writer blog, I would love to ask you why (since you mentioned it) you use WordPress instead of Medium? Personally I feel too intimidated by Medium but I am sure you have a better reason than that! Thanks.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I like both, but the only time I’ve used Medium is when someone else is publishing my work, mostly small presses. I think WordPress is more down to earth and common. Medium seems lofty…I mean President Obama penned a letter to the public there lol

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  7. This is great advice. I read somewhere that impulse drives whilst intuition guides. At times like this, when it is so hard to plan ahead, tuning in to our intuition could be ever more valuable.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Great 4 points! I feel like there are a lot of things we know as kids and those things are practically beaten out of us as we go through life. Okay, thats a little extreme but people would be happier if we were more like we were before we were conditioned the way we are.

        Thanks for this!

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