Take Time & Space To Listen To What's True For You | Blog

Listen To Your No

During a recent call with my current small group participants, the idea of sitting with the “no” or “I don't want to” came up. 

Often in business or leadership, we respect pushing through, and as a result, we override our feelings or desires. We have respected drive more than we've respected taking the time to pause and deeply listen to ourselves. 

We may fear that slowing down, changing course, or listening to those internal nudges to do it differently, will mean failure. Popular culture would have us believe that to be successful in business, we should ignore our desires, and “buck up.” We fear that slowing down or changing our minds means we are weak, flighty, not committed, or worse, it's a sign of a flaw in our personality or character.

Is that true? Will slowing down, listening, and following our internal nudges, really mean failure? Is success dependent on overriding our bodies, hearts, or minds?

Unraveling the old paradigms of success and our work culture, i.e., hustle, grind, busyness, and exhaustion is personal for me. Learning to give space to my “no, I don't want to” and listen to my desire for a fulfilling life, not just a fulfilling career, has taken me on an incredible journey over these last ten years. 

Taking the time to be present to the inner nudge that was telling me there was another way is one of the greatest gifts I've given myself. 

For the participant in my small group, within minutes of giving space to her no, her spirits lifted and more options were revealed. She went from feeling stuck & self-doubt to seeing new possibilities.

There is a profound thing that happens when we give space and take time to listen within. Rather than rushing to override or dismiss an inner nudge because we're afraid it's not possible or pointing to a flaw in our character, by getting present and open, we hear our truth. 

In the last few months, I have had several clients who desire to shift things in their work. 

After the forced slow down from the pandemic, one executive client no longer wanted to work weekends and travel like he used to. He was worried that this was impossible at his company. 

In his words, the company culture fostered busyness for busyness sake, crazy hours, and being “on” at all times. 

During one of our conversations, we took the time and space to listen to his desires more deeply. As we talked, it was clear to see he was living in a limited mind. He was taking his thinking at face value, and as a result, his options looked limited. Once he saw his rigid thinking, he got less adamant about what the company would or would not tolerate, and as a result, his mind began to open. In that openness, something beautiful began to happen.

He shifted from feeling trapped in his job to feeling the strength of his knowing. Regardless of what the company said, he could not return to the way it used to be. By giving himself the space to feel and listen, he heard his truth and knew putting his well-being and family first was the right course. 

His clarity was a source of strength and confidence for him and gave him the clarity needed to speak to his boss.

He's still not sure if he will remain long-term, but there have already been a number of positive changes that he had previously thought impossible. Listening to his “no” has led to more ease, clearer boundaries, and more time with family. 

Another client, an entrepreneur, found the courage to listen to her inner nudge and a deep desire for a sabbatical. This was no small act. She is the sole breadwinner for her family, and there isn't an infinite reserve for her to draw from. Yet, when she let her truth be felt and heard, she knew it was time. 

This knowing did not come with a strategy on how to cover all her needs, but when she took the time to listen deeply, she could see and feel the wisdom of this choice. 

She is on her sabbatical now and what's inspiring to witness is the strengthening of trust she has in herself. Fears and worries understandably creep up, but she is able to regulate find her stability within and from that space, she gets ideas, takes action, and shapes a new way forward and a new model for her business. 

Where could you listen to yourself more fully? 

Is there a “no” or an “I don't want to” beneath the surface of grind and make it happen? 

Have you been overriding a desire or an internal nudge because you fear it will mean failure? 

When we give ourselves permission to listen and get present to ourselves in a more profound way, we see what is true for us. 

Acknowledging what is true allows us to align more powerfully to our unique path. When we let go of old models of success or other people's formulas, we find our way. 

We discover the source for doing well in business is not our ability to override our feelings or those nudges but lies in embracing our truth and trusting that the creative potential behind life offers us solutions tailor-made for whatever is on our journey. 

I have seen this for myself and in my work with hundreds of leaders and entrepreneurs over the years. We may work hard at times, but grind, hustle, and the exhaustive hamster wheel no longer look like a necessary ingredient for success.

When we connect to our true nature and follow our truth, we get the wisdom needed, we experience more ease, and we create work that is aligned, fulfilling, and supports our lives.

When we give ourselves permission to listen and get present we see what is true for us.”

“Holding space so we can know our truth is a powerful act of self-love and respect.”

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Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company helping solopreneurs, entrepreneurs & leaders access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of fulfillment in work and life. She is the founder of Beyond Limits in Business, a global platform and community designed to point people to the source of human potential. That potential resides within and is experienced via our minds. Barb is also the host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. You can follow Barb on Linkedin and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at barbarapatterson.com 



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