Why You Can Trust the Nudges

Photo by Stephanie Harvey on Unsplash

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.”
~ M. Scott Peck

In this article, I’ll meander through the initial stage of redefining success. In early days the journey can feel unsettling, so by knowing where we are, we can grab our map and get oriented. The benefit of knowing where you “are” on the journey, is you can more readily access the gifts and wisdom available in this stage.

A special thank you to the women who have shared their experience in this stage.

The first stage of redefining success

What is it like in this first stage?

The women who have shared their experience here are in their full lives, carrying on with their demanding careers, still busy being moms, and doing all the things you and I both do day to day (laundry, errands, netflixing, reading….). On the whole their lives are good, with rough patches here and there (bosses who aren’t providing meaningful guidance, kids in the mess of their teen years, to take or not to take a new role, feeling the edges of burnout etc.) — you know “life stuff”.

Their rough stuff isn’t fun. It’s hard, yet as we explored the rough stuff in our conversations, below the surface there was something more going on.

One woman said: “I just have this feeling that there is something else I could be up to in my work.” In the same breath, she started to give voice to the global issues of climate and food insecurity that she thinks and feels deeply about.

Another said: “I know I’m doing good work, but I’m yearning for a more meaningful challenge to sink my teeth into.” It’s as this juncture that the other rough stuff moves to the side and she gives voice to the risks of what it might mean to explore this nudge.

Our lives will always have it’s challenges, which makes these other feelings a little bit more tricky to notice. We write them off, put our heads down or remind ourselves to be grateful…

In this first stage we might feel things like what these women do, and our only “work” is to courageously acknowledge our experience so we can notice what is going on below the surface.

“I’ve just got this feeling that…”

Do you ever come across a feeling that’s begging for attention? Sort of like the ones these women have?

Then you know stage one.

This feeling is odd to articulate. In some moments it arrives full of energy and hope and like you’re touching on a part of yourself ready to be unleashed. The energy is so juicy you’d love to bottle it and dispense it at will. Oh to be fueled by this kind of energy on the regular…. but it too, like all the energy and feels we have comes and goes.

Sometimes this energy is uncomfortable. You sense something has to shift, but you’re not quite sure what. This energy is cloaked in the uncertainty, it nags, it gnaws, it begs like a toddler requiring all of your attention. It distracts and often leaves you doubting if you’re up to the right thing.

This energy is confusing — it’s both delicious and annoying.

I call this energy — The Nudge, and by design it pulls you off your center. It leaves you wobbly. And wobbly is a tricky thing to feel in the body.

This I believe to be true

What I have discovered from working with women willing to pursue a new agenda (whether it’s to have more joy in their lives or to bring their new landscaping business to life) is this energy that is knocking them off their center is a sign of something deeper going on.

I believe these nudges must be heeded.

I believe women must trust this energy and this feeling in them, even if it’s uncomfortable, it’s a call to explore, to be curious about how things are in their lives.

And I believe these nudges are an evolutionary call that is being awoken in women today to redefine success.

And I also believe that these nudges arrive to validate you, and to affirm you. They whisper — go after that thing you want. Or, yes, yes you’re to be up to something more… These nudges aren’t discriminatory, they’re here for all, including you.

The uncomfortable truth

I love supporting the awakening and expression of this juicy and uncomfortable energy, as awkward and messy as it is.

But the truth is it can feel awkward and messy.

One woman said it perfectly: “Please Susan, just tell me what to do — give me the next steps to take.” Together we were acknowledging just how comfortable this energy can be. And for this woman who has her own list of accomplishments her and I both know that give her the plan and she’ll make it happen in a flash.

Yet this chaotic inner wrestling does not come with a clear direction or mandate. In fact it resists a prescriptive approach. It’s jealous for your attention and wants you to get intimate and cozy with it. So, I’m sorry, the truth is it won’t come with a 10 step plan (which is one of the reasons I’ve offered the stages so that you can find yourself along a path).

Will the 10 step plan really satisfy?

For the woman who wants to the clear directive, because it might offer the balm of clarity and certainty to be where she is, what the 10 step plan won’t (likely) offer is the meaning and challenge she craves to express from that deeper part of her.

There comes a point where check boxes offer a hit, but it doesn’t last.

And there comes a point where no podcast, or book, or how-to video will really be able to unlock what’s hers to discover.

Because all the guidance she really needs is within her, yearning to take her by the hand, one step at a time.

What happens if you ignore the nudges?

The nudges won’t stop. They don’t wash off in the shower.

And yes, you can ignore them, shove them down, or dismiss them, but they will not stop bugging you. Sometimes they will shift to a whisper, other days bowl you over.

Here’s what I know however, about ignoring this energy; it has a counter energy to it as well. An energy that might start to express itself as frustration or resentment with how things are in other parts of your life.

The “gift” of this is that it can helps to lessen the grip on today’s version of success. It has a different kind of uncomfortable.

A way forward

In the early days of redefining success, the biggest “work” is to hang out in the discomfort for a while, not because we want to remain uncomfortable, rather to listen to what’s stirring and start to be more okay with these new sensations.

If we’ve not been accustomed to listening to our internal nudges we may want to rush into some kind of activity to distract ourselves.

Instead, see if you have do some active listening by writing in a journal, or going for a slower walk. Meditate, talked to a trusted friend who will listen (versus dispense advice).

And, know that nothing is wrong with you because you’re here, it’s not a sign of an earlier error on your part. There is nothing to fix. If anything this nudge is something you’ve allowed room for, and here you are now, listening to it. (woohoo)

The first stage is called Acknowledging, and it makes way for stage two: Awakening. You’re waking up to you. This is a grand thing.

So take heart, Brave One, all is well.

On behalf of the new agenda that is emerging in you!

If this article resonated with you, consider signing up to receive The Tuesday Letter. This e-missive will come to you weekly, full of perspective and practices to redefine success so that you feel alive in the midst of your success — not in spite of it. www.womenredefiningsuccess.com/the-tuesday-letter

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Susan Doerksen Castro

Susan Doerksen Castro

Entrepreneur & Integral Master Coach™ helping accomplished women redefine success so they can realize a new, more fulfilling agenda for their lives.