I was about to call a friend to help me figure out why I was so stressed and frustrated. Then a reminder came of what I already knew deep within I should be doing: “the answer is within,” my intuition told me (this happened to be one of the foundational principles I regularly post on a Facebook page for coaching).

Friends, family… certainly can help us release whatever stress we feel. But stress can be a sign of imbalance between our actions and what our hearts would like to do. Stress can be a warning signal that it’s time to look within.

Out of love and good intention, friends and family often recommend what they think would be good for us. But we are all unique. What might work for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. The answer to our happiness is not “out there.”The way to find what works for us is to look within.

Twenty years ago, I was sitting on my bed as I was finishing my PhD in Singapore, pondering what to do next. I was debating between going to California and diving into the field of molecular biology, to work for a biotech company, or moving to Shanghai, to discover the booming Chinese economy.

I was torn. I had all the pros and cons in my head for both options. There was no clear winner. I pondered for a while. The frustration grew. Eventually, I called my friend Gerry.

“What should I do?” I asked her. “Which option do you think is best?” I asked again. And I waited patiently, eager to get closure. Well, closure came but not in the form I expected.

“How would I know what you need to do?” Gerry blurted out, with all her loving passion on the phone. “How would I be able to know what you want, deeply. You’re the only know who knows. Gotta run,” she concluded.

I was irate. I wanted closure. I wanted a solution. I wanted a quick fix. But quick fixes don’t work.

It takes practice to see people for who they are, without transferring onto them our own beliefs. Gerry was right. I was the only one who could find the answer to my dilemma.

I eventually calmed down after swimming a few miles in the pool. Going for a walk or some other exercise, or spending time in nature, often helps get rid of stress, frustration, and rambling thoughts. Eventually, we reconnect with our intuition, knowing the path forward and, with our heart, knowing what we love.

I eventually knew. Deep within, I wanted to go to China. And so I went. I enrolled in a program to improve my Chinese and scope out the job market, and eventually I was hired by GE.

Our mind is useful in helping us crunch data. But our intuitions and heart are also precious to get us tuned in to what is meaningful for us—away from all the “shoulds” of our mind.

So… what has your intuition been telling you lately?

©2018 Do No Harm Foundation

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