Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts

Spoiler alert: bad things happen when we mute our inner wisdom…

I’m doing well in my job, but it feels like something is missing.

Ever felt like that?

I have.  I had a passion for academia, a passion so zealous that nothing could stop me – until it did.  I spent more than a decade in university and couldn’t find a job.  Career pivot.  I landed a job in investment banking.  With it came a steep learning curve.  Gratification.  Career traction, finally!  

A few years in, it didn’t feel like ‘me.’  Not really.  Something was missing.  Nearly a decade in, and I was banging my head.  A friend kindly referred to my career as, ‘death by a thousand paper cuts.’

I couldn’t hear my inner voice.  I was too busy muting it with lies, telling myself I was ‘making it.’  This was the Promised Land.  I had invested all this time and energy.  I had learned valuable skills.  I had to hang on.  Golden handcuffs, and all…

My stories were firmly in place, including one that I was too old to reinvent myself (in my late 30s).  Or that I wasn’t skilled enough to start my own gig – there was that lie too.  The inner critic is a crafty son of a gun.

Eventually with some coaching, a lot of discussion with my man, and a leap of faith, I quit.  I sent back my Blackberry and my employee pass, and it felt like the weight of the world was lifted from me.  The dizzy-dancing freedom started bringing my inner wisdom back to life.

Listening to the tug of my intuition has turned out to be the most valuable learning of my life.

I had some freak-outs when I didn’t know what was next. (I still do).

I didn’t have it all figured out. (I still don’t).

In the years that followed, as I groped my way through the career darkness, I went to a healer, five coaches, a Tantric expert, a business guru and two mindfulness teachers.  I have lost count of the number of courses, webinars, podcasts, videos and retreats that I’ve invested in.  My strategies have ranged from five year plans to Ametrine crystals.

Here’s the only thing I know for sure about working success: There is no guru. At least not outside of you.  There’s a Rumi quote that says it best: ‘Remember…the entrance to the sanctuary is inside you.’

What was missing was ME.  My wisdom.  My intuition.  My commitment to searching within.  My self-belief.

I had cut the cord to my own inner knowing.  I see now that I’d done that to make it easier to stay stuck.  Mute the wisdom; mute the fear.

I’ve decided to unlearn that habit.

Now I consciously live from a place of inner wisdom.  I’ve abandoned five-year plans.  I let go of anything that doesn’t feel like a deep and utter ‘yes.’  That includes ways of working, habits, clothes, stuff and people in my life.

It’s empowering to embrace your inner knowing.

I’ve found that I don’t need to ‘do’ anything to grow my intuition and inner wisdom. I still have a coach. I still take courses, and go on retreats.

But growing your inner voice is really about opening to it, and honouring it.  It’s about tuning in.  Because what you focus on expands…

3 Prompts For Opening To Your Intuition:

Does it feel good?  By all means, seek guidance from friends, coaches and experts.  But filter their well-intentioned wisdom through this question: does it feel good in my belly?  There’s fear that feels jangly and wrong; and there’s fear that feels exciting and tingly and oh-so-right.  If it feels like love and freedom – even if it’s scary – you’re probably onto something.

What am I trying not to know?  We find crafty ways to hide, run from, or bury what we know bone-deep.  What am I trying not to know?  Sit with this question, or journal your way through it.  Keep going.  The real gold might take some time to pan out.

What do I need to unlearn?  Often the very things that have made us successful can be the very things that keep us stuck in our current state.  Maybe being a perfectionist over-giver has created a level of success thus far.  Maybe it has served you, and served you well.  But that way of being might scramble the messages from your inner wisdom’s control centre right now.

Our intuition is something that we cultivate by nourishing it, and by holding space for it.  I love this quote by Robert Holden: ‘If you think something is missing in your life, it is probably YOU.’  Listen up.