When I was a kid in the ‘70’s, I vividly remember my father telling me that one day cars will guide us to our destinations by telling us where to turn. You know, real science fiction stuff.
BMW claims that they introduced the first automotive navigation in 1994. And now, I won’t drive anywhere without some kind of GPS—even to places I know like the back of my hand—because I always want the latest on traffic and the most current alternate routes. We went from fantasy to necessity in a matter of decades.
What if you and I had a similar, internal, navigation system that guided us on the quickest, likeliest path to our life destination—like goals, decisions, business deals and relationships? Is that science fiction stuff, too?
My friend and serial entrepreneur, Zen Cryar DeBrucke, believes we already have that very “technology” installed within us as human beings. Zen is a former VP of International Sales and Marketing, founder of an internet strategy and marketing firm, and business radio personality whose book, Your Inner GPS, purports to teach us how to locate and use our own personal navigation guide.
“We’re all born with it,” she assured me in a recent conversation. “We just haven’t been aware enough to take advantage of it. Every interaction or decision can be filtered through our internal GPS as a reliable source of guidance that is ours and ours alone.”
Just as a car’s or phone’s GPS tells us how to get to a new destination, says Zen, you can access an internal compass that helps you navigate issues or challenges in your life, such as how to get from where you are today to a future expanded business, new product line, or successful project.
First, we just need to acknowledge that we actually have an internal guidance system, she says, and then we can retrain our minds to consistently consult it.
You know those gut feelings you have that tell you to “stop” or “go”? Start by using those with conscious deliberation. Relax, become very aware of those impulses, and tell yourself: “I do have an internal guidance system.” And then believe that you can visualize the direction you should go. Zen calls this process “opening.” Others may call it serenity, positive thinking, or affirmation.
That allows you to plug in to your internal map, so to speak. Now, let yourself see several possible routes to your destination. See the landscape as objectively as if you’re looking at a map: “I see that I am not going to finish this project on schedule. I’ll remain calm and call some people to help me.” Versus the alternative that might be: “Oh my God, I can’t let anyone see how incompetent I am, I am going to eat a bag of chips and practice deflecting and denial.”
It’s as Simple as This: Listen to Your Own Body
DeBrucke outines several steps you can follow to get there. You can find them in her writing, but the most important is this: Feel the way your body reacts when you need guidance.
She describes your inner GPS as being “in the area between your throat and solar plexus (abdomen).” It’s the proverbial gut feeling. When you’re facing a decision point, turn your attention inward and pay attention to your gut-level, physical reaction. Look for a little internal nudge that wells up inside you. That, says Zen, will show you what you should or should not do. If you get a feeling of expansion, fullness, or lightness, that’s a signal that you’re moving in the right direction; if you feel your gut contracting or tightening, it’s time to put on the brakes.
Attached to this thought is the corollary: respond to things as they develop, rather than stressing out after the fact. Focus on what you want to happen going forward—and look for internal signals that you’re on the right track—not on old scripts about what you are “supposed to” do or wish you had done differently.
Retraining your brain to tune in to your gut in a conscious and intentional way doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly have the magic key to open every door. And in the same way that you’d slam on the brakes when your car’s GPS is telling you to drive over that cliff, you may also choose to override your internal signal when it’s obvious you should do so.
And, of course, you still have your rational decision-making skills, which have served you well—and will continue to do so most of the time. But you can at least start by considering your internal GPS to be a new gizmo in your toolbox, an enhancement to your capabilities, and one that will likely sharpen your ability to navigate the make-or-break crossroads that entrepreneurs face virtually every day . All you have to do is plug in and listen to it. Try it. I’m going to.
Repeat after Zen: “I do have an internal guidance system.”