We live in a noisy world. There is chatter and information overload everywhere. This is great if you’re anything like me, a lifelong learner, seeker, and collector of information. I LOVE gathering information on any variety of topics, and having it at my fingertips. It’s great, until it becomes too much; until there’s so much data and input that it becomes difficult to discern what’s best for you.
I’ve been in a place of suspension the past few months, trying to get clear minded so I can make some important decisions about my next steps, professionally and personally. When my clients are in this space I suggest they go within and inquire: what is their inner guidance, their gut, their intuition telling them? That’s where they’ll find the answers. I decided to heed my own advice, and in doing so discovered I’ve been overly reliant on outside input for a long time.
Since I started my business eight years ago, I’ve gone through a lot of change and growth- personally, professionally, and spiritually. I’ve had business and life coaches, mentors, spiritual guides, psychic readings, tarot card readings, etc. to guide me along the way. You name it and I’ve sought it out for advice, wisdom, and input. Many times when I’ve taken others’ advice and input I end up thinking, “Why did I do that?” or, “That wasn’t what I really wanted to do.” But I did it because someone “wiser” or more experienced than me suggested it.
Earlier this summer, as I was embarking on making some personal and professional changes, I decided to go on an “input fast”. I read about this in Danielle LaPorte’s book, White Hot Truth, and knew it was exactly what I needed: no input on my decisions from anyone but me. Because I relied on others’ input for so long, this was not easy for me to do (in the beginning.)
So how exactly have I done it?
First, I cut off asking for others’ advice and opinions.
Yes, I still talk to my family and friends. I still read and listen to podcasts, and go to personal growth workshops and retreats. But, I don’t ask anyone for their opinion or advice about my decisions and choices. I don’t have conversations about what I’m doing and what I’m trying to decide to do. Those conversations are between me and me only. I’ve limited (not eliminated, but limited) contact with some of my closest friends who I naturally seek advice from. I did this because I knew I’d be tempted to ask for their advice. It’s not that I don’t respect their wisdom and guidance. I’m just abstaining from it for while.
Second, I’ve created space and silence to hear myself.
Our world is noisy. And when it’s not the chatter from the TV, social media, Siri, text messages, or phone calls, it’s often noisy in our minds. I created daily time to simply be quiet and still. Although I do meditate, this wasn’t meditation time. It was time to sit at my pond or be out in nature where the only sounds were those of mother earth. It wasn’t even a lot of time… maybe 15-20 minutes per day. It’s in this quiet space that you can ask yourself for guidance. You can ask yourself the same questions you’d ask coaches, friends, psychics, or mentors. If the answers don’t arise right away, they will eventually. They might show up when you’re asleep, when you’re in the shower, or when you’re taking time to be quiet the next day. They will come because you’ve created space for them to. Trust in that.
I’ve been doing this for almost two months. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue my input fast – I’ll have to check in with myself! The longer I do it, the easier it gets to just rely on me and to not assume that someone else has a better idea or opinion. That’s really what it’s all about – trusting in ourselves enough to know that WE KNOW what’s best for us. In these two months, I’ve realized a few things. First, my inner self is ultra-wise. Second, I’ve underestimated my own knowledge and wisdom by continually relying on others for input. Third, I’ve gotten quite clear on the things that felt cloudy a few months ago. I guess you can say the input fast is working!
I’ve also realized that it seems lots of us are looking for that silver bullet answer to our questions and problems (me included!) Many life and business coaches out there claim they have your answer. They don’t. Only you do. A coach can help you get clear on your answer and the good coaches do, but any GOOD coach won’t claim they can solve your problems or give you your silver bullet solution because they cannot. No one can do that but you. And, the best way I’ve found to do that is to go within and ask yourself. It’s all an inside job.
This blog was originally featured on HuffPost on August 8, 2017