A few years ago I gave a large presentation at a F500 company that would end up being the biggest deal of my career and a huge win for the company. It also ended up being one of the biggest watershed moments of my life and changed the way I forever looked at my life.

When I say it was a big meeting – it was huge. In addition to myself, my manager and the head of IT, our President, and senior most VP flew in from New York to attend. It was a big meeting for them as well, with several hundred thousand dollars on the line. All told there were about 25 people in a stadium-style seating room.

I was nervous but had been preparing so intently I knew I was ready. Almost 3 hours later I was done and I knew I nailed it! With agreeable nods from the client and a thumbs up from our highest VP I knew I won the deal.
We reserved our excitement as we left the auditorium then erupted with congratulations once we reached the parking lot.

This deal would take me over the top of my quota and into the President’s Club. I felt pride in myself.

Everyone disbanded, I jumped in a cab to the airport, and made my way back home. The good vibrations didn’t last long as everything seemed to take a nosedive the minute the taxi rounded the corner out of the parking lot.

We got stuck in a terrible traffic jam, the driver got lost and I missed my flight. To top it off I received a doomsday email letting me know a key client was leaving us for the competition. I got pulled over in security, broke my book buckle in the conveyor belt and they took my brand new $45 face cream. 200 yards later I tripped, fell, and splayed the contents of my open backpack across the terminal hallway.

What in the hell was going on? Why was this happening?
Two hours ago I was walking on air – and now this?
Those questions just kept playing in my mind, over and over.

I pushed the question aside as I rushed through security and stuffed down something to eat. It wasn’t until I was on the plane that I understood why.

It was my normal flying routine to meditate while parked at the gate. Once I was seated I pulled out my headphones, turned on some relaxation music, and began to drift away.

Almost immediately, I heard a voice inside me answer the question I had been asking.
“Because you are betraying who you are”

Those words hit me with a force, though I had to be honest with myself, they weren’t unfamiliar to me. I had heard them many many times in recent months.

The truth was, I hated my job and I disliked the environment. It was superficial, phony and void of any deep meaning in my life, and no size victory was going to let me escape those facts.

I wanted out, my inner voice kept telling me that I needed to find a way out, but I didn’t know how. So, I did what any logical person would do - I ignored it. Again, and again, and again.

The pattern was pretty straightforward:
-Feel pain
-Back to square one

To spell it out a bit more clearly. The despair would present itself, I’d complain, thinking I could whine it away, then outwardly hunt down a safe, practical answer, adopt it as a viable solution, and when it inevitably didn’t work the pain would cycle again — rinse, repeat.

It went on like this for years until I realized the answers I was looking for were never going to be “out there”. They would only be found by looking within.

When I stopped being a slave to what the world was telling me I was supposed to be, and finally started listening to the voice inside me, everything improved. My relationships, my outlook, my opportunities, even the way I felt about the job I couldn’t stand.

The gigantic and simple lesson - Trust your gut.

For so long I knew that my instincts were telling me that I would never find happiness doing what I was doing. I ignored it because I was afraid of what it would take to follow a life of my true desires.

Call it your gut, your intuition, your inner voice — it is constantly speaking to you. From the moment you wake up, until the moment you lay our head on the pillow.

That tiny voice contains all of the answers you will ever need.

The problem is, we’ve become so accustomed to stuffing those voices down that it can be impossible to hear them.
We’ve drowned them out because we’ve convinced ourselves the voices and opinions of those around us are more important than the strength and wisdom of our own.

The right questions

The great news is that it doesn’t take hours of meditation or a retreat to Sedona to learn to ask yourself the right questions and listen to the answers your soul provides you. In fact, you can start right in this moment.

Ask broader questions. Detailed, specific questions tend to freeze you up:

- Is this what I should be doing?
- Do I continue?
What is my next step?
- The perfect answer

You might feel compelled to “do something” to come up with an answer. If so, let it go and focus on something else.

The answer will come from within when you’re ready, and you’ll be surprised at how right it feels when it does.

Jennie Aberle, xo

Author's Bio: 

Author, blogger, speaker. Living your dream life requires sustained focused effort and a defined plan - I can help you! My book, The Purpose Plan launches on Amazon, Nov. 30th. Free 3 Day workshop to Find your Purpose at my website.