I've never considered myself 'intuitive' in any way - until the Myers-Briggs personality test told me I am in fact, far more intuitive than I reckoned.
Up until then, intuition suggested someone who acts on instinct, and gets it right every time.
I would consider myself way more cautious, and definitely a fact-checker - as well as an over-thinker.
But when I came across this Myers-Briggs definition of 'intuitive', I could totally see myself in it:
• They are good at spotting patterns and taking a high-level view, as opposed to digging into the detail
• They like ideas and inspiration and tend to have a focus on the future, where they will plan to change the world rather than continue to live in the imperfect present
• At work, they like to acquire new skills and working at the strategic level.
• They may be seen as impractical, theoretical and lacking determination (I'd disagree with lacking determination, but I've never been known for my practical skills...)
The only part that made me think of my old definition of intuitive was:
"Intuitors process data more deeply and are happy to trust their subconscious and 'sixth sense', gut feel, intuition or whatever you want to call it."
Hmph. Do I go with my gut?
I definitely experience that 'gut feeling'; something in me that says YES I like this person or NO that rug gives me the heebie-jeebies.
But do I GO with that feeling?
Do I trust myself?
That's why the idea of writing to my intuition, struck a chord with me.
I loved the idea of embracing this side of my personality, and seeing where it would take me.
What if you're not an intuitive type?
That's the beauty of this! You don't have to be.
The idea is to get BETTER at getting in touch with your innate sense of YES/NO and develop that over time.
I'm all about making things a habit, to make it easier for ourselves to actually DO them, and this is one of those things.
It's not a 'every now and then' thing, in my opinion.
This is an exercise that will strengthen your intuition 'muscle' - and just like any exercise, you need to keep it up to see results.
OK, so how does one write to their intuition?
It's as simple as it sounds.
You go somewhere quiet, and think of a question you're mulling over.
This isn't a question that can be answered with facts (we have Google for that) it's one that no one can really tell you the answer to.
One of those 'only time will tell' decisions you need to make.
Or, something that's bothering you.
Niggling thoughts like, career choices - do I take the job? Where will this project lead me? Should I start that business?
Yes, facts come into play here - but really, it's up to you to take the gamble.
So step one: write the question down.
Then, wait and pay attention to either your heart, your chest area or your stomach and try to wait as if you are asking a friend for the response.
Top tip: If you're a bit rusty on listening to that 'little voice', a great exercise to do is this.
Then, start writing the answer.
I know this bit sounds a bit woo-woo, because why would you be able to write the answer?
Writing morning pages
But, keep with it. Some super interesting stuff will start to pour out - it's like giving yourself counselling.
Simply making yourself come up with an answer, will reveal what you need to know.
It's all there inside you - but the magic of WRITING it down, seems to pull it out.
You can keep going further, with follow up questions, in order to really get to the crux of it.
For example, why do I feel this way? Why might that be? What's the cause of that?
Again, this peels back more layers and forces out what you really think - logic aside, what is going on in that murky subconscious of ours.
"The intuition is the master and the rational mind is the servant. The problem in our society is we've forgotten the master and we revere the servants."
~ Albert Einstein
So, how does this become a habit?
I've found that there are certain times where I've got TONNES of questions that need answering, and I'm spending a good chunk of my morning having chats with my intuition.
Other times, I feel like I'm on autopilot, and I'm making decisions using purely my rational mind.
Which isn't always a good thing, I've found.
It can lead us to do things that make sense on paper, but are in fact not what we want to do, really, nor what we should be doing.
We get influenced by the wrong forces (people or society) and usually end up regretting these - and having a 'why didn't I trust my gut!?' moment.
It's those times when I need to come back to this exercise, and make sure I'm writing to my intuition DAILY, in order to keep it tuned in, and turned up as loud as possible.
So, I've come up with a set of five default questions I can go to, when I don't have anything urgent on my mind, but I need to get the pen moving.
5 Questions Creatives Should Ask Themselves Daily
1) What's the one thing I can do today that will move me closer to my goal?
This springs from one of my all-time fave non-fictions: The One Thing by Gary Keller + Jay Papasan.
Lordy what a book. I've written about finding my focus before, and how frickin' hard I find it, but this simple question is what everything boils down to.
If you're feeling overwhelmed with your to-do list, this is the only question you need to answer.
2. How can I make a positive change in someone else's day?
It was a Seth Godin interview which sparked this - he spoke about creativity being a result of changing someone in some way.
So, a theatre play might open someone's eyes to a certain social injustice issue, and they leave a changed person.
I think it goes beyond our creative work too, and can be applied anywhere in life.
Buying some flowers for your flatmate will inevitably change their day for the better.
3. What can I do that will make tomorrow better or easier?
This is a reflective one that I would recommend at the END of the day.
I usually write to my intuition first thing in the morning, but I do a bit of journalling at night too.
One of the things I routinely write (along with what I'm grateful for that day) is what I could do to make tomorrow better.
It gets you in the habit of constantly making 1% improvements, and looking for solutions rather than dwelling on problems.
4. What did I learn today?
I can get through 2-3 podcasts, browse through 3-4 blog posts, and read a good chunk of a book - all on one day.
Granted, I don't watch TV or read a newspaper, but that's still a LOT of content to process.
It's all for naut if I don't LEARN anything though.
So, throughout the day I'm usually making notes on my phone, but I like to consolidate them in one place - my journal.
Then it's just to decipher it all...
At the end of the month, I go through all of these lessons again. I make sure I've implemented them - at least some of them - in some way, or make plans to do that.
Always be learning!
5. Who can I connect with?
The idea of having an email marathon where you're trying to get through your contacts and send out a load of desperate calls for work, is not only daunting, but downright exhausting.
I hate it so much, I've all but stopped trying.
Instead, I replaced it with a daily promise to myself to get in touch with just ONE person a day.
• I know I'll do it, as I'm not overwhelmed
• I usually get hyped so I might do a few more
• It's more enjoyable - I can put my real voice into the message
• It works better - I can tailor my message way better, and the recipient notices that effort
• It's an amazing habit to get into, and one that will reap serious rewards in the long game.
Hopefully that's all helped you to give this writing to your intuition thing a go.
Cat Rose is on a mission to help other creatives get over their fears of self-promotion and get their work seen and shared.
She offers 1-to-1 coaching and founded the League of Creative Introverts: a safe community for creatives to share their work openly, learn from others and get all the support they need on their creative journey.
Find her at www.thecreativeintrovert.com