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Listen up - Your Gut is Speaking!

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Welcome to installment #9 of the A to Z for a Rocking Retirement. I = INTUITION. There is a still small voice inside of you that is speaking the truth, guiding you and keeping you safe. But do you recognize it’s power and utilize its talents when you are embarking on a life change?

Specializes in Wellness and Coaching for Women in their Third Act. Has 54 years experience.

Listen up - Your Gut is Speaking!

It's called your INTUITION and everyone has it but not everyone uses it. I can think of three different times in my career where my intuition spoke very loudly to me - and fortunately I was listening - and it changed the course of my life.

First - Before I even graduated from nursing school, I was already thinking - "Is this all there is? I don't want to just sling bedpans all my life. There must be something more." That gut feeling led me into joining the Navy and becoming a war-time military nurse, a very different course than my fellow nursing grads.

Second - Once I fulfilled that commitment, and feeling very grateful for that experience, I returned to bedside nursing and once again my gut was speaking to me - "This is not where you belong. You need to prevent what you are taking care of every day and make a bigger impact on helping people stay well". That feeling led me into becoming a school nurse, getting a Master's degree in health education and birthed my passion for wellness which has brought me great joy.

Finally - After working for several bosses in several wellness positions, my loudest intuitive hit came when I was nearing retirement age. I still wanted to keep working, but knew it couldn't be under some else's control, so I decided to go out on my own. That was the scariest move I ever made as I would be leaving the security of a paycheck and benefits to strike out on my own. But I had faith that all would be OK because I had followed my intuition in the past and success followed. Once I was secure in that belief, the door opened for having my own wellness business that I would never have thought possible.

I often wonder, what if I hadn't paid attention to my intuition and followed the guidance it gave me? Where would I be now? After all, a gut feeling - or a hunch - is that unconscious reasoning that propels us to do something without telling us why or how. Sophy Burnham, bestselling author of The Art of Intuition says "It's different from thinking, it's different from logic or analysis ... It's a knowing without knowing." And Steve Jobs even said intuition is more powerful than intellect!

As I see it, GUT FEELING = INTUITION = OPPORTUNITY. What's not to like about that pathway? So how can this impact your decisions about your next life choices toward retirement, or any change you are facing? Here are some ideas to help you polish up and utilize your own intuitive nature.

Recognize it

Recognize when you have a gut feeling and take some quiet time to explore the meaning behind it. The key here is to be aware of gut feelings, and not pass them off as irrelevant. Notice when coincidences happen or unusual thoughts occur and write them in a journal and watch for patterns to emerge.

Feel it

How does it feel physically and emotionally when you ponder it. Do you feel open and joyful or closed and uncomfortable. In life we are supposed to be on a path of joy and feeling good so that can be a gauge for you to determine if your intuition is telling you YES or NO to this opportunity.

Accept it

Don't analyze your gut feeling too much. Go with your first thought because that is the truth shining thru. Just like when you take a multiple choice test and they tell you never to change your answer, because most likely your first thought is the best.

Practice it

Few things stifle intuition as easily as constant busyness, multitasking, connectivity to digital devices and stress and burnout. Schedule down-time to practice mindfulness to become more relaxed and creative as you ponder the gut feelings you are having. By going deeper into the feeling you will learn more about how this can impact your life and clarify if this is a pathway to bring you the satisfaction and joy you are after.

Follow it

Now it is up to you. How will you open yourself to the intuitive hits you are receiving right now about what you want your future to look like? You are getting hits, but do you recognize them? If not, start today by paying attention to any coincidences, or repeated suggestions, or just hunches about what could be next in your life and make note. This could be the start of something big for you and your future.

Carol Ebert RN, BSN, MA, CHES, Certified Wellness Practitioner, Certified Mindful Coach, Sanoviv Nutrition Advisor

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4 Comment(s)

suseliz, MSN, RN

Specializes in Family Practice, Med-Surg. Has 40 years experience.

2 years ago I "retired". I was working full-time as an NP in family practice. My employer, a large health care organization was really only interested in the bottom line. I was exhausted and no longer had a life beyond work. I had this gnawing feeling I was to make a change. I was only 62 and felt it was too early to retire. I wanted to build up my 401k more with my increasing income. But I quit--I was too stressed. Fast forward 2 years. I work per diem from home doing online convenience care. Never would have dreamed this 40 years ago when I got my BSN or even 20 years ago when I went to grad school. Concerned it would be too easy--nope, extremely challenging minus the stress of wondering if I did the right thing. My husband died from a fast moving cancer earlier in the year, my employer said, "Forget about us, do what you need to do, come back when you are ready." Kept wondering what hoops I would have had to jump through in my previous job. Since then I picked up a clinic job one day a week as an independent contractor. I am more of a consultant. So now, I sleep late a lot of days, coffee in bed before I get up, I schedule work when I want to (sort of depends on how big my Amex bill is), fly to visit my grandkids, and I have time to practice the self care I preached to patients for 40 years.

Intuition--mine is kind of scary. But someone told me intuition is really pattern recognition. And isn't that what nurses are good at?

BeenThere2012, ASN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Pediatrics, Trauma.

2 years ago I "retired". I was working full-time as an NP in family practice. My employer, a large health care organization was really only interested in the bottom line. I was exhausted and no longer had a life beyond work. I had this gnawing feeling I was to make a change. I was only 62 and felt it was too early to retire. I wanted to build up my 401k more with my increasing income. But I quit--I was too stressed. Fast forward 2 years. I work per diem from home doing online convenience care. Never would have dreamed this 40 years ago when I got my BSN or even 20 years ago when I went to grad school. Concerned it would be too easy--nope, extremely challenging minus the stress of wondering if I did the right thing. My husband died from a fast moving cancer earlier in the year, my employer said, "Forget about us, do what you need to do, come back when you are ready." Kept wondering what hoops I would have had to jump through in my previous job. Since then I picked up a clinic job one day a week as an independent contractor. I am more of a consultant. So now, I sleep late a lot of days, coffee in bed before I get up, I schedule work when I want to (sort of depends on how big my Amex bill is), fly to visit my grandkids, and I have time to practice the self care I preached to patients for 40 years.

Intuition--mine is kind of scary. But someone told me intuition is really pattern recognition. And isn't that what nurses are good at?

Great post!

What is "convenience care"?

BeenThere2012, ASN, RN

Specializes in PICU, Pediatrics, Trauma.

I fully believe in intuition. Lately though, because of some problems Ive had related to work, I am not sure if my intuition is correct or is "reacting" because of the stress I've been under. For example, I had a job interview and left having no real idea if the manager was interested in me or not. She was very good at the "poker face" and not being committal at that Point. Within a couple days, I felt down in the dumps thinking I didn't do a good job at that interview and then a few days later I was offered the job. Yay! But...Apparently, I was wrong in how I was feeling.

Lane Therrell FNP, MSN, RN, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner. Has 8 years experience.

Did you know that the human intestinal tract contains more neurons the spinal cord? When I learned this fun fact, I got a new perspective on why paying attention to our gut feelings is SO important: It's not just for our peace of mind, but for our overall physical health and prevention of chronic illness. I always encourage my nurse practitioner students to read up on the enteric nervous system,” because research in this area is contributing actively to the evidence base for why wellness, and by extension, the mind-body interventions, can be so incredibly important in our care plans. Dr. Michael Gershon at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York gets credit for being the father” of the growing field of neurogastroenterology, which investigates the dynamic interactions between gut and brain. One great place to start learning more, if you're interested, is this blog: The Enteric Nervous System: The Brain in the Gut