In our weekly series, we offer a little inspiration to kick off your week.
Some simple wisdom, elegant and accessible. From one soul to another.
We hope it helps you ease into your Monday.
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The Discernment Muscle
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
I had a big talk with my man a few weeks ago. It wasn’t anything scary or bad, just big. It was about life, career, projects I wasn’t moving forward with, confusion and discernment. You know, just your everyday dinner table conversation.
What I realized in the midst of us riffing back ‘n forth was that my discernment muscles have grown incredibly strong in the last year. But even though they’re strong, I still have to be hyper vigilent about flexing them.
Before I go any further I want to clarify. What is discernment?
By definition: it’s the ability to “judge well”.
Think: a music manager who has a discerning ear when it comes to the next “big hit”. Or a chef who has an impressively discerning palate when it comes to flavours and food. In relationships, it could be your ability to sense when someone is genuine or a flake. And in business or work, it’s how you know what to write in that uncomfortable email you’ve been meaning to send to your co-worker or business partner.
Please note: discernment and judgement are NOT the same thing.
Discernment is your ability to make the best choice based on the information presented to you. Judgement, on the other hand, goes beyond discernment and into evaluating someone or something’s worthiness. Obviously, we know that being judgy isn’t a good thing. However it takes a bit of work, even for the most enlightened among us, to not be overly judgemental. Right now, let’s focus on our ability to discern (we’ll leave the conversation about judgement to another Soul to Soul post). 😉
In the last year especially, I’ve gotten much more discerning with who I hang out with, what I read, what I listen to, what words I use, what projects I take on and who I partner up with creatively.
And it’s been painful.
Super duper painful.
Because it’s meant that I’ve parted ways with people, ideas, projects, etc.
But, being more discerning has also been the thing that has catapulted me into tremendous clarity and a deep feeling of knowing that I’m in the right place, doing the right work, at the right time. A feeling that has alluded me for years.
How does one go about developing the discernment muscle?
I’ve found two ways that seem to work for me, and maybe they’ll work for you too.
#1 — Develop a relationship with and listen to your intuition
#2 — Say no. A Lot.
There are countless practices that will help you develop your intuitive muscle. Some of my favorites are short visualizations and meditations, sitting outside in nature and living with my senses on full blast. Ultimately, for me it’s about listening to that inner voice, that gut feeling I have — and trusting it enough to sometimes make some really not-so-fun decisions in the moment.
I also say no — to a lot of things. I say no to collaborations more often than not. I say no to requests for my time (still a hard one but getting better at it). I say no to doing it all myself (hooray for VA’s). I say no to friendships that are feeling one-sided. I say no to people who are energy vampires. I say no to the “should’s” and doing what I’m “supposed to do”. N.O.
As the super wise Marie Forleo says, you gotta get on the NO train! She also has a great episode of Marie TV devoted to the whole idea of tapping into your intuition. A must watch!
When you combine listening to your gut with saying no, you’re developing the muscle of discernment. You begin to be a more seasoned pro at evaluating the things that are present in your life. You get better at knowing what is a fit and what isn’t. You begin to see almost immediately whether someone or something is meant to be part of your life. You’re able to discern between the golden wisdom out there and the utter bullshit. You become someone who is confident, trusts herself and doesn’t need anyone else to affirm what she already knows to be true in her heart.
It doesn’t happen overnight. But it happens.
So start developing that relationship with your intuitive sense and say no — a lot!
I’m curious how this goes for you. Leave me a note below and let me know how you’ve become more discerning in your life and business. Have any tips or thoughts to share?
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