A strange resistance. A yearning. A niggling doubt. A little voice. A whisper, even. How often do these pass into or through your life and your body? Can you remember the last time?

Did you take notice, or just put it down to ‘a silly feeling’ that drifted away as quickly as it came up? Or did it linger, but you swept it aside, thinking it was wrong, only to be proven days, weeks or months down the line that she deserved to be listened to?

As a coach, I often work with clients who think they are clear on the ‘answer’ and say they just need some help from me to hold them accountable to the plan.

When I hear this I smile and say “let’s see”.

I say ‘let’s see’ because I know that our minds and thoughts can be persistent in knowing ‘the way’, and leading us on a merry dance. I know mine has over the years, thinking I was ‘meant to’ be a marine biologist, that this relationship was ’the one’ or if I just worked harder the next promotion would make me happy. The sense of control this certainty provides is comforting to us. The truth is we want to be in control, to have our lives all neatly sewn up and understood. It provides a sense of belonging and calm to most of us.

The reality is that life is mostly messy.

The plans we create in our heads are often mismatched to the greater plan that life has for us. That’s not to say you shouldn’t have a plan. I believe it’s important to engage with life and have a sense of what you want, but thinking you’ve got it all figured out and not listening to your gut feelings… I’ve learned that’s the most dangerous game we can play with ourselves!

I’ve been up my fair share of one way streets and blind alleys, but what I’ve come to learn is there is another, often wiser part of me that I can trust. It’s a part of me that can sometimes be a faint whisper, barely heard over the clanging, planning of my busy mind. It’s a sudden rush of feelings that I put down to nerves, a part of me that I often override, deeming to be ridiculous, nonsenscial, irrelevant, unimportant.

Here are some tips to tune in to your own intuition:

  • Keep tuning into whispers inside

If you hear a whisper, a voice, a feeling in the pit of your stomach… trust it. We often override these feelings as worries or pieces of insignificant information, but after a while you may come to realise this isn’t the case. The next time you hear a whisper or have a rush of feeling, don’t push it aside. Instead, give it a little room to work itself out and show you its card – then make your decision and choices with that as a strong guide.

  • Pay attention to the strange coincidences

Albert Einstein once said that “Coincidence is god’s way of remaining anonymous”. I like this theory, although I know it’s not one logically we can prove or disprove. What I do know is that there is something to be gained from somewhat strange coincidences that can spark a feeling inside of you, or seem too weird to really be happening. If this stirs a strong or repetitive feeling or voice, listen to it.

  • Respond to the unexpected with curiosity

As with my moment in the homeware department, sometimes your gut likes to pop up and lead you to things that you don’t necessarily understand at first. Drawn to something? Think about why – what is your intuition trying to tell you? Respond with curiosity, and by that I mean don’t try to control what’s happening, just flow and play with it!

  • Listen to the wisdom that lies deep inside

I’m sure that if we all got a pound (or a dollar!) for every time we wished on reflection that we had trusted our instincts, we would be rich! Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Try to avoid those moments of regret by tuning in next time: when you catch a whisper, ask it to repeat itself, and speak more clearly. Your wisdom deep inside will always be your strongest leader.