Even when we’re not at a fork in the road, wondering what to do and trying to hear that inner voice, our intuition is always there, always reading the situation, always trying to steer us the right way. But can we hear it? Are we paying attention? Are we living a life that keeps the pathway to our intuition unblocked? Feeding and nurturing our intuition, and living a life in which we can make use of its wisdom, is one key way to thrive, at work and in life. – Arianna Huffington, Thrive

We all have a voice inside ourselves, a knowing of sorts, that is the equivalent of a compass always pointing toward true North. This voice is deeply wise and, when we listen to it, a powerful resource that can cut through noise and confusion to illuminate our next right steps. The problem is, we forget that this voice is inside us.

Or we don’t trust what’s being offered as true or correct and instead look outside of ourselves for the answers. Out there, in the “real” world, the power of intuition is often diminished or even dismissed outright. This is a shame, as this practice disempowers and disconnects us from our true selves.

The late Louise Hay, founder of Hay House, often spoke about the power of using intuition, referring it to it as her “inner ding” which she learned to follow without doubt or fear. When considering which way to go on a project or course of action she would meditate and allow her intuition to step in and guide her to the appropriate action. She relayed that over the years that her intuition became a superpower, one that she could rely upon to guide her unerringly. What a gift, to have that absolute belief in not only yourself but the guidance you receive!

Over the years, walking the path of an empathic intuitive, I too have found my way to intuitive guidance that I know in my bones I can trust. And this is something that all of us (yes, you!) can do. All it takes is a small leap of faith, some practice to build the muscle, and watching for all the ways your intuition serves you well.

“Once we learn how to recognize and use our intuition, it opens up a powerful source of information that contributes to our greatest potential for happiness.” – Sarah Brownlee

There are lots of ways to cultivate your intuition, but let’s start with the basics. I call this The Intuition Matrix, which consists of 6 key steps to developing and using your intuition.

Step #1: Identify the Problem or Question
The first thing you want to do is get clear on the problem or question you want an answer to. When faced with a situation we can get lost in a lot of mental chatter about it which is why it’s so important to set that aside and just become clear about what we want to know. I like to write it down and sit with it for a few minutes to be sure I am asking about the heart of the matter with total clarity.

Step #2: Tune In
Take a moment to stop everything and tune into your inner self. Notice what feelings and thoughts you may be having and then set them aside. The idea here is to deepen your awareness and go within to a quiet place with no mental chatter.

Note that if you are in a heighted emotional state (angry, anxious, overly worried, etc.) this may be hard to achieve. If that’s the case take a few minutes to do some deep cleansing breaths, walk outside to ground yourself, or even meditate. Whatever practice works the best for you to become calm. The ideal is to be in a space of neutrality, where you can observe what shows up. If you can’t reach this place, then it’s a good idea to shelve the question until you are in a better frame of mind as the information you receive will either be confusing or not helpful at all.

Step #3: Ask for Guidance
From this place of neutrality, ask your gut (aka your intuition or inner knowing), “What is the next right action to take?” Or “Is this the right decision?” If it helps, visualize what it is that you are seeking the answer to, but only if it doesn’t create more mental chatter for you.

Step #4: Open and Listen
This is the time to open up, empty your mind, and become a blank slate ready to receive. It may take a moment for something to come to you and it’s often here where people stop the process in its tracks. If the answer doesn’t immediately appear don’t worry about it, just settle in a bit deeper and be patient.

Know that people get intuitive information in different ways and it can be quite subtle. Some people will see an image. Others will just have a knowing or feeling about the direction to go in or what’s needed. Or, they’ll have a physical feeling like a lightness or heaviness in their body. Some even hear a voice in their head or lyrics to a song or encounter a specific sign. Just be open to receiving the information however it shows up. (More about receiving information intuitively in another blog post!)

All of us have a preferred way to receive intuitive information and over time you’ll get to know what that is. Also know that you might get the insight immediately while other times it will take a bit longer to show up. Just trust the process.

Step #5: Trust the Information
This is the most important step and usually the hardest for those new to using their intuition. You must trust that no matter what or how the guidance shows up, it’s exactly what you need to know in this moment. So, if you see a pink unicorn telling you to take the path to the right, don’t dismiss it just because the guidance appears to be coming from a unicorn! The method of delivery doesn’t matter as much as the guidance and course of action.

Step #6 – Track Your Results
One of the easiest ways to gain faith in your intuition is to look for confirmation that you did indeed receive information that was accurate and helpful. This may not show up immediately as sometimes intuitive hunches can take a while to unfold. But the more you keep track of what you ask, get in return, and what the outcome of the guidance is, the more trust and confidence you’ll gain. Keeping a log or journal of these three things is a great way to track your results.

In the beginning stages of using my intuition I used to question that I was getting information that was accurate and it was only after some time that I began to realize that my intuition, if I asked from a clear and neutral place, was almost always spot on. The same can be true for you.

Like anything, The Intuition Matrix does take practice to master. Think of it as needing to go to the gym every day to build strength and endurance – at first it might be a little challenging, but over time you see visible improvement. Building your intuition is literally the same.