Compassionate Coaching & Trusting Your Instincts

Yoga teacher. IT recruiter. Operations director. Actress. Program manager. Waitress. Venture fund manager. Career coach. What do all of these jobs have in common? Me. I’ve held them all – and that’s the edited list! The menagerie of roles has provided me with an unmatched depth of experience, figuring out what’s next, seeking out the best opportunities, and getting the job.

Intuition – along with reason – informs my professional decisions. As a coach, I know it’s not always easy to give our intuition a seat a the decision-making table. Writing them off completely, however, is the kind of self-sabotage that keeps us locked in place, on a narrow path for the sake of our careers, our futures. In the end it does damage to both. I know from personal experience.

At the time, I remember thinking This is a really good job opportunity! I’d learn something new (one of my favorite things!) and be mostly client facing (which is what I’m certain I want in this next role). The team and the manager seemed great. My executive-level contact had positive things to say about the leadership team. All signs pointed to GO!

Then, somewhere along the interview process, my optimism and excitement waned, replaced by anxiety and dread. My head yelled at me What’s with all the anxiety?! This is a great opportunity! My body, however, kept insisting that, no matter how golden this opportunity appeared, it wasn’t the right one for me.

Feelings, however, don’t pay the bills. Jobs do.

In the past, I would’ve stifled my instincts, brushed the worry off as a normal level of anxiety, especially since I coming was fresh off a recent job that had left me physically and mentally drained, I would’ve pushed through my obvious fear of success without investigating its root cause. Feel the fear and do it anyway! Isn’t that what “they” say to do?

This time, however, I remembered the commitment I made to myself, to listen to my intuition.

Shortly before the interview process began, I’d participated in an intuition development class. Each session taught me the value of knowing, sensing, listening, seeing, and empathizing. Now, here I was, faced with my first real test. Would I bravely listen to my intuition or do what my mind told me was the right thing to do? At first, it seemed like an either/or decision, but if I stepped away from the loud voice in my head long enough to look at all the information objectively, I realized that my body, my intuition was telling me “You won’t be happy here, no matter how it looks now. This will not be sustainable for you. If this isn’t a clear YES and you move forward with it, not only are you screwing yourself over, you are preventing this company from hiring someone who is really excited about this opportunity.” A lose-lose if there ever were one.

That sounds logical, yes? Okay, so reason wasn’t absent from this equation. I didn’t dismiss one internal system (my mind) for the other (my gut instinct). Intuition and reason are complementary tools, not dream job or best life adversaries. In the end, I removed myself from consideration for the position, my decision led by intuition and supported by reason.

In the Bright Livelihood method of compassionate coaching, Intuition is one of three cornerstones. We covered Love already. Discernment will round out the series.

Intuition on both sides of the coaching dynamic is important. It’s present in the questions Bright Livelihoods coaches ask our clients and in the ideas and suggestions we provide. We help our clients access their own intuition by focusing them back to what they know, sense, hear and feel on the inside so that they’re better able to navigate their career path.

Making decisions doesn’t have to be a battle between your head and your heart. A Bright Livelihoods coach can help you Integrate your intuition with reason. Regardless of whether you’re beginning your career journey, are looking to change industries, or get a new project off the ground, we can help you discover what’s right for you right now.

Kelly Dwyer