Don't Ignore Your Nudges

Thursday, January 23, 2014

“I don’t know what I want to do next” is a comment I hear regularly from many clients when they seek out coaching.  They know they don’t want to keep doing what they are doing, they know they want something different but claim they “don’t know” what that next thing is.  I believe we all ultimately know the answers to all those questions…  you know, those questions where the first response is “I don’t know”.  You actually do know – we all do.

The answers are inside each of us but just not easily accessible. They aren’t easily accessible for many reasons: we’re afraid to admit what we truly want to do with our lives; we’ve spent so much time doing what we’re “supposed” to do based on others’ expectations of us and society’s rules that we’ve forgotten what’s most important to us.  The real answers are buried deep.  They are there – just not at the surface.   So how do you get them to come to the surface?  One of the best ways I know how and have seen work countless times is to take a step toward those things that tug at your heart.  Move in the direction of something you feel nudging you to further explore.

For example, one of my clients, a long-time corporate executive, came to me seeking her “what’s next?”  She had no idea what she wanted to do but had many things she put off doing the past 20 years because she spent most of her time working in her job as a senior leader of her company.  As she took small steps down two paths that nudged at her, she found different opportunities that she would never have encountered had she not taken those small steps down each path.  One path was to further explore her love of cooking and going to culinary school.  The other path was to further explore her passion for getting involved with the ASPCA to support efforts to protect large animals and sea creatures.  After exploring and getting involved by volunteering and doing research, the opportunities presented to her were potential career paths in each field. One was as a leader within the ASPCA supporting a cause that was near and dear to her heart related to sea creatures and the other was as a consultant to a well-known culinary institute.

Once she started to explore each of these areas that had been calling to her for many years (but she had ignored) her response of “I don’t know what I want to do next” became a response with multiple choices of what to do next.  It was also after taking steps to get involved with both the ASPCA and the culinary school that she realized the answer to ‘what do I want to do next?’ was there all along – these were things she always wanted to do but felt she couldn’t do because she had to work 70 hours a week.   Giving herself the gift of time and exploration led her down a brand new and much more fulfilling career path.

So what’s tugging at your heart or nudging at you?  It could very well be your answer to what’s next for you.  Don’t ignore those tugs and nudges but instead, give yourself the gift of time to explore what could very well be what’s next for you.

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