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Listen to your intuition

Your own intuition: your best career coach

Learn more about coaching yourself or coaching others with intuition.


Recently someone asked me, "What coaching tools do you use?"
"Tools?" I asked, bewildered. "I avoid tests and assessments."
"No," she explained. "Listening skills?"
Well, I suppose I listen -- but I mostly listen to my own intuition.

Since I derive most of my life lessons from reading murder mysteries, I am reminded of a recent book by Marcia Muller: Listen to the silence. The heroine, Sharon McCone, turns her prodigious investigative talent to researching her own background. As she interviews family members, her significant other, also a heavy-duty detective, says, "Listen to the silence."

He meant, "When someone answers a question, don't just listen to what's said. Listen for the pauses, the silences in what they say."

As I listen to clients, I've decided that we need to listen to the messages sent by our bodies, our friends and family, and what some would call "the universe" -- our environment. As business people, we need to listen to our customers. We need to listen with great skepticism to advice.

While this idea may seem a little woo-wooish, here's an example. A self-proclaimed marketing guru visited my site recently.

"You need help, desperately," she said. "What's that picture on top of each page? Get rid of it!"

I didn't listen. I chose to listen to customers who write almost every day, saying, "I love your site," and, "Great picture of a highway."

One day I applied for an affiliate program with a noted web designer -- someone who's often chosen to serve as a judge for web awards and contests.

"Interesting site," she said.

"Gee," I said, "everybody loves my site except designers and marketers."

"Ignore them," she said. "Your site's just fine. I should know."

This validation (vindication?) is rare, but reminded me that the best support systems encourage us to listen to our own world -- not their words. If you're researching a new career, and you get only negative messages, you need to pay attention.

Considering a move to a new location and find yourself feeling like, "I don't belong here?" Going to a big job interview and feeling that everything you say is coming out all wrong? Well, there's a reason.

There are only a few times to heed well-meaning advice. When Tony Soprano says, "This game isn't for you," pay attention. When the police officer says, "Slow it down," that's a good idea too. But most of the time, listen for subtle messages from whatever crosses your path.

That's your own intuitive code. And don't let any words get in the way of the real message.

Cathy Goodwin, Ph.D. is an author, career coach, and speaker. She works with mid-career professionals who want to make a fast move to career freedom. Visit her site or call 505-534-4294.

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