The summer holidays are quickly drawing to a close and for many it is a time to make choices about subjects, courses, and/or employment. Many are totting up scores while others are wondering should they stay or should they go! No matter what our choices are in life our decision can determine how happy we are with our choice in the first place.

Many moons ago when working as a counsellor in a further education college I ran a motivational workshop for students entitled ‘What brought you here?’ It turned out that many enrolled in courses for reasons that verged on the edge of ridiculous…‘because their friend had chosen it,’ or they ‘wanted to leave a more disciplined school system.’ Some thought the name of the course ‘sounded exotic!’ A few had picked the course because they ‘got Fridays off!’

In the short term these decisions may appease but what about the long term? Did their reasons for choosing their course have anything to do with their flagging motivation? Of course it did. They were not following their interests. Furthermore, many students confessed that they ‘knew’ they were making a poor decision before they made it.

How many times have you heard folk say, “I knew I was making the wrong choice.” This knowing is intuition which by and large, many of us ignore yet it is the key to making good choices because it comes from within. Call it “gut feelings”, call it a set of “hunches” or “eureka” insights, call it “stomach art” as the Japanese do, call it what you will, intuition can be a powerful tool for making career choices and every decision in life for that matter.

If you’re not prone to thinking of yourself as intuitive, you may be inclined to ignore your gut. Instead, give your intuition a chance to guide you:

  • Know yourself. The more you are in touch with who you are the more intuitive you may become.
  • Write down your gut feelings. Over the long term, you can develop a sense of which hunches have panned out and which haven’t. You can also keep track of your intuitive insights so you don’t forget them.
  • Seek a calm, quiet place to ruminate on your intuitive thoughts. Spend time reflecting on your gut instincts. Don’t rush. It’s OK to wait and take your time before rushing into anything.
  • Take baby steps. Your decision may require a small step, not a huge leap. More information will become available to you. And if it is an intuitive choice you will find events begin flow easily and effortlessly. Doors to opportunity open. Synchronicity and ‘coincidence’ begins to occur.”
  • Be positive and assume you have the resources to make a good choice.
  • Ask the right “What” questions instead of “Why” questions. For example, instead of asking yourself, “Why do I keep making bad career decisions?” ask “What can I learn from my previous decisions?” Instead of asking “What should I do?” ask “What do I want?”

In my former work, I found that many of the students who had made poor choices did not have a clear idea of what they actually wanted. They thought they did until they came to discover that much of what drove their decision was fear, unmet needs and/or the expectations of others. In a world of overwhelming choices it’s comforting to know that one of the best tools, intuition, is within us. Have a go at sharpening your intuition from the tips above and learn how to listen and trust yourself to make good choices.