A few of my peers, including my close friend, got promoted before me.
This caused a confusing bundle of emotions within me. I had performed really well since joining the company and I was ready for the next step. I was surprised I hadn’t been told there were opportunities for promotion. I felt let down by my manager – wasn’t she supposed to fight for me? I felt like a failure. I withdrew into myself, afraid to share my ambitions. To be honest, over the previous few months I hadn’t enjoyed my job and I hadn’t given my best. Yet I still felt I deserved recognition.
This internal conflict continued to simmer until, years later, I found a simple framework that helped me to make sense of my experience and learn from it. Mike Lehr separates out feelings, emotions and intuition:
- feelings are the sensations that arise from a particular event
- these feelings form emotions which move us to do, say or think things (e-motion)
- intuition is the interpretation of these emotions and gives us insights about the situation, other people and ourselves
Intuition is our internal voice of truth. It guides us in the right direction and is especially helpful in situations where data isn’t available and logical reasoning doesn’t work. Intuition helps us to clarify where we stand on a particular issue. In order to connect to our intuition, we need to separate out the loud, confusing voices of our feelings and step back from our emotional reactions. From this clear space, we can ask ourselves: “What does this emotion say about me? About my relationship with this person? About this situation?” The answers can help us learn and move forward.
I wanted closure on the promotion situation, so I decided to apply the framework:
A few of my peers, my very good friend included, got promoted before me.
What sensations arose from this event?
I was really happy and proud for my friend, she was passionate and brilliant at her job and she deserved this promotion.
I was resentful and angry with my manager. Why hadn’t she rooting for me after giving me positive feedback all year? Wasn’t it her responsibility to develop and promote her team?
I was disappointed with myself for not achieving my best, for not being first. I began to doubt my capability and intelligence – my perfect track record of straight A’s and awards had been broken.
How did these feelings move me to think and behave?
I congratulated my friend and was there for her during this exciting journey (happiness, pride).
I confronted my manager and pointed out she had bypassed an opportunity that she knew was important to me (anger). I secretly blamed her for not fighting enough for me (resentment).
I withdrew into myself (doubt) and stepped away from the cheerful, overly optimistic extrovert I had always been. I vowed to stop investing all my energy into this company which clearly didn’t value me (disappointment).
What were my emotions telling me about my relationship with my friend?
I knew, deep down, that my friend wasn’t just brilliant at her job. She had also worked harder than me. Perhaps even more importantly, she had embraced a much better attitude than me – she had stayed positive and hadn’t complained as much. I knew I didn’t deserve the promotion as much as she did in this particular moment (a year before, yes, but not then). She had always supported. My intuition told me our friendship was worth it. My intuition was right – we have been close friends to this day.
What were my emotions telling me about my relationship with my manager?
Whilst I liked her very much on a personal level, there was something off about her as a manager. This event brought to mind many other small incidents where she had let me down. She had not stood up for me when others had criticized my work – even when she knew I was right. She had not given me credit for my big ideas. She had tried to keep me in a role that bored me. My intuition told me I should fight for myself and not count on her. My intuition was right – she added no value to my career for the whole time we worked together, or afterwards. I ignored this intuition for a long time and continued to rely on her. I kept getting disappointed.
What were my emotions telling me about my relationship with the company?
I was bored of doing the same kind of work. I was tired of rewriting strategy documents with ideas that would never see the light of day. For the first time in my life, I was actively trying to curb my effort instead of giving my all. I wanted to be promoted for the title, for the checkbox, for the prestige. I didn’t care about the work I would be doing once promoted – there was no job within the company that excited me. I felt indignant – I just wanted the company to recognize me for my past achievements and I was waiting for that before I make any more effort. My intuition was telling me that this wasn’t the right place for me (whether it was the company or the job, I wasn’t sure). This wasn’t the first time this message was showing up. Neither was it the last time I ignored it. My intuition was right. I continued to struggle until I left the company, the job and the industry.
Connecting to my intuition, albeit years later, gave me a sense of clarity and peace. And whilst I have not always been brave enough to follow my intuition, reflecting on it encourages me to trust it more next time.
Give it a try
It takes practice to learn how to connect with your intuition without confusing it with your emotions. Give it a try right now:
Event: What situation are you stuck in?
Feelings: What sensations are arising?
Emotions: What are these feelings making you think and do?
Intuition: What are these emotions teaching you about your relationships, the situation or yourself?
Get unstuck by connecting with your intuition. What emerges when you strip out the feelings and emotional reactions?
Not sure how to connect to your intuition (vs emotions)? Coaching helps you de-clutter your mind, strip out emotions and connect to what is true for you, deep down. Follow your intuition and book your free consultation now.