“Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to require the most from you.” – Caroline Myss
This week I read a provoking blog from Maston Kipp on the topic of intuition. Maston’s writing is always great; succinct, to the point and often confronting. I really recommend signing up for his daily email.
He got me thinking about how well I trust my own intuition and exactly how my intuition works.
Recently, I’ve been contemplating moving house. One of my goals this year is to develop and invest in the Mr Rascal community and as part of that I’ve felt that I need a space to practice and write on my own. I’ve also dreamt about hosting some intimate gigs under candlelight in an old house or building.
Late on New Year’s Day I caught up with my sister for a drink and she told me about a property her company had recently bought with the intention of developing into a boutique hotel. She wanted to show me the property and get my thoughts from an architectural perspective on how they might develop it.
So we went and walked through the building. Its an amazing building! An old art deco brick complex with eight apartments. As we walked through the front gate into the main foyer (where we were greeted by an old piano!) I felt an overwhelmingly powerful connection to the place. We looked through the various apartments climbing our way to the top floor. We finally entered the top level apartment and walked into a kind of ballroom space that had a chandelier hanging in the middle of the room and beautiful timberwork decorating the walls.
When I entered that room my intuition immediately told me that I belonged in that space! This was the space I had imagined for playing music and writing!
A few days passed and I thought about the building. It would take at least 6 to 9 months to get a development approval to begin renovating, not to mention the time involved in design and documentation. I saw an opportunity!
So I emailed my sister with a proposition for her bosses. I could move in, pay rent and act as a caretaker for the building until they began renovating. Or, I could rent out one of the spaces as a rehearsal / writing space. I didn’t really expect them to go for the idea. But if you don’t ask you don’t receive!
To my surprise they said yes. So a few days later I asked if I could just take another walk through the apartment just to make sure. I suppose I doubted my intuition a little and the truth is I hadn’t really thought the idea through all that well.
The second time through I started to see everything that was wrong with the apartment. It was a little bit old, the carpet was worn in places, a cupboard door was missing in the kitchen.
And then I thought about the situation I have with my current apartment. I’m comfortable, I like the building, I get on pretty well with my housemate, the rent is cheap and I’ve been able to save pretty well since living there. I thought about how every time I move its such an effort and a struggle and how I’d only just moved into my current apartment nine months ago.
It all seemed too hard. I was getting cold feet.
Then, I had one more walk through a few days later on the weekend with two friends. As I showed them the apartment I described my dreams for a space to write and play music and I also shared my feeling of uncertainty and the fear of the unknown that this new opportunity presented.
These guys are thankfully awesome and they felt the passion of my muscial goals and they saw the positive side to my uncertainty as exciting and mysterious. They helped me to see the two choices I was facing.
On the one hand I had my current apartment; comfortable, safe, known. On the other hand the new apartment; a risk, mysterious, full of uncertainty but also opportunity, potential and growth.
My intuition told me in that first moment that I belonged in this new place. But what was the feeling of doubt that I had the second time I walked through?
Fear is not intuition. Fear is the thing that stands in the way of exploring my purpose and identity.
However I’ve worked hard in the last two years to understand fear better.
One of my greatest fears in the past had been approaching strangers and particularly approaching and meeting new women. One resource that I found really useful in facing this fear was a book called The Stylelife Challenge.
In the book Neil Strauss sets out a series of daily challenges to help the reader face their fears around approaching and meeting new women. I learnt through doing some of these challenges to completely re-program the idea of fear in my brain.
Whereas in the past I saw fear as a sign to not act (as a way of protecting myself), I’ve since learnt to see fear as a sign to act.
For example, during the challenge there were exercises where I had to go up and approach a complete stranger and begin a conversation. I gradually started to break down what was happening for me in these situations. At first I would see an opportunity to approach someone and then the fear would arrive (in my body as adrenalin, sweaty palms, fast-beating heart, you know what I’m talking about!) and I’d chicken out. I felt terrible when I backed out because I knew I had missed an opportunity.
But then as I got better I would see the opportunity, feel the fear and act in spite of it. This is really cool! Because I still feel fear and all of the physical effects of it, but now I choose to act anyway. Since developing this skill I’ve met so many great people in day to day life and while I’ve been travelling. Fear has become a motivator, its become the trusted sign that reminds me I must act.
The unknown is always scary but this is the place to grow, challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone.
Next time you’re in a situation where you feel fear, ask what that fear is challenging you to do.
For me, the fear is challenging me to step outside my comfort zone and explore a new reality living in this apartment. And so, here I am with a pile of boxes ready to go. By the time I write my next post I’ll be moved in and the adventure will have commenced!
In the meantime, I’m curious to hear of other people’s experiences with fear and intuiton. Please share what’s real for you in the comments below and be awesome!