People often overcomplicate the concept of intuition. Listen to this interview with Catherine Andrews for practices to help you get back in touch with your intuition. And after you listen to the episode, be sure to read Catherine’s newsletter, How to live a surrendered, intuitive life.
Catherine Andrews is a life coach and spiritual mentor who helps highly sensitive women to stop overthinking, conquer fear and increase their confidence, so they can unapologetically set and achieve goals in career, love, and life. She lives in a 250-year-old nature witch cottage, as she calls it, in Western Virginia with her partner.
We recorded this episode in May 2023.
[Birds] don’t sit down with clipboards and weather analysis and polls. They just know when it’s time to go and they follow that lead. And that’s how intuition works for us, too. It’s, you just know. – Catherine AndrewsTweet
Timeline of the Chat
[03:44] What does intuition mean
[06:19] Why you should follow your intuition
[10:55] Data-based decision making
[14:17] The Magic of Intuition
[18:52] Practices for tuning into your intuition
[20:11] Connect with Catherine
Enjoyed this episode? Please click this link to rate the podcast.
Sometimes your intuition is leading you to a growth moment or a challenge that’s gonna help you for your highest evolution. And sometimes your intuition is gonna tell you to do something really scary. – Catherine AndrewsTweet
- The Sunday Soother
- Take the 30-days intuition challenge (linked below)
- Subscribe to The Sunday Soother on Substack
- How to live a surrendered, intuitive life
Intuition is an invitation to follow a thread that’s leading you through experiences that are gonna help you grow – Catherine AndrewsTweet
Transcript of the Episode
[01:45] Damianne President: Have you always had a good relationship with intuition?
[01:49] Catherine Andrews: You know, that’s a great question. I have often been described as people who know me or work with me as pretty intuitive, and it’s not something that I necessarily have been able to see in myself. Because it’s like if you have one of those talents that comes easily to you and you’re like, well, doesn’t everybody know how to do this stuff?
And then you’re like, oh, no, they don’t. But I think I was definitely an intuitive child, but what happens to most of my clients that I work with, most of my audience is that I, you know, kids are, humans are naturally intuitive. So if anybody out there is listening and you’re like, well, I’m not an intuitive person, you definitely are.
Every living creature on this earth has an intuitive compass like birds know when to migrate. They don’t make a pro-cons list. They just know what time to go and come. And if a bird with their tiny pea brain has intuition about something as big as that, you certainly have intuition too. But what often happens is that, you know, it kind of gets squashed out of us in childhood. Our emotions often get denied. Our experiences can be denied, and so we may become less and less intuitive and more and more analytical over time. And I think that happened to me too. I became a very high achiever in academics. Everything for me was about data and practicality and pros and cons and trying to make the best decision.
But I’d say I’ve reclaimed my intuition over the last five or six years as I’ve stepped more into my authentic self. So I do think I was always an intuitive person. I think there was a period in my life where I did lose. You never lose intuition. It never goes away, but it just gets a little quieter. You’re not as tuned into it. But now I do consider myself a pretty intuitive person just like everybody else.
[03:27] Damianne President: If somebody’s listening and they’re thinking, okay, Catherine, I am not an intuitive person, regardless of what you say, what’s an invitation for them, if they’re even open to the idea? Okay, I don’t really think so, but maybe I’m an intuitive person. How do they reclaim that? How do they get back in touch with that side of themselves?
[03:44] What does intuition mean
[03:44] Catherine Andrews: Yeah. Well, I think maybe it’s even important to just be like, what does intuition mean? And it’s simply just that gut sense of knowing something is right for you, for the way you wanna move forward. Or also knowing that something’s wrong; this feels bad. I shouldn’t be here. I need to remove myself from the situation. And so it’s simply just your inner knowing and it’s your gut, right, is another more commonly way to describe that. It’s sometimes a physical sensation or a clear knowing in your mind of if a situation is for you or not for you. And so people, I think, can get confused about intuition. They think it means maybe you’re a psychic medium or you are super spiritual, and it’s simply your inner compass. You know, there is not a human on this world that was built without intuition. So first off, just kind of redefining intuition for yourself.
But I find one of the best ways to start to reclaim your intuition is just do like an intuitive review of your past few years or even longer. And just be like, when were times when I knew I should have or shouldn’t have done something, but I went in the opposite direction, and how did that pan out?
Or maybe my intuition, my gut knowing told me I should do something. And how did that work out, right? And you’ll probably be surprised if you can even just find three to five examples of either when you did listen to your gut knowing or intuition or didn’t and trace it forwards. What were the outcomes of those situations?
You might look back and be like, oh my gosh, my intuition was right all along. Either it did help me make the choice that was most aligned for me. Or I suppressed it and the situation didn’t work out. And it doesn’t have to be anything huge.
I look back at a time when I was recommended a service provider by somebody, and I really trusted this person. And the service provider, the first time I met with them, I was like, oh, no, no, no. This is not somebody I should be working with. Maybe they’re great for other people, but they’re not right for me. But I trusted this other person. I had some ego wrapped up in the decision, but the whole thing was a mess working with them. And I look back and I’m like, my intuition was coming through really strong in that one, but I didn’t listen to it. And now I know the outcome when I don’t listen to my intuition is that, you know, things are not generally aligned. So doing an intuitive review like that can be really helpful to build your belief in your own intuition, if that makes sense.
[06:19] Why you should follow your intuition
[06:19] Damianne President: Oh, the question that comes to mind is, is it possible that you followed your intuition and that was the right thing for you to do, but the outcome maybe isn’t something that you’re so happy with?
[06:31] Catherine Andrews: I think that’s totally possible because I think we also have preconceived notions with how things should go or should look, and I think sometimes people make a mistake in thinking that if we follow our intuition, then everything is easy and always works out. And sometimes your intuition is leading you to a growth moment or a challenge that’s gonna help you for your highest evolution. And sometimes your intuition is gonna tell you to do something really scary.
I mean, my intuition told me to leave my job and start a business as a life coach and an online teacher. And that was not an easy process. So it wasn’t like, I was like, oh, my intuition tells me to quit my job. I start this business and everything is amazing. It was like, no, it like, you know, led me into a lot of facing my own fears and all the things that come along with starting a business. And so I think, when you’re listening to your intuition, it’s worth it to take the long game. You know, intuition is not like a tit for tat relationship. If you listen to your intuition this time, then you’re a good girl, a tat on the head. You get rewarded, you get the right outcome. But it’s more intuition is an invitation to follow a thread that’s leading you through experiences that are gonna help you grow, if that makes sense.
[07:43] Damianne President: Yeah, I like that way of seeing it because I think you’re right that sometimes we wanna see we have the A to Z all mapped out, and sometimes if you’ve just taken one step, it’s not really clear, like you don’t have the full picture yet, like you said. So I like that idea, yeah.
The other thing that I was wondering, I made a note, is about fear versus intuition. Because sometimes people will be like, well, my gut says I shouldn’t do this. But really that might be fear and maybe fear is also an okay intuitive response, but could there be multiple kind of feelings that come up from your intuition and how do you know where to go then?
[08:25] Catherine Andrews: Yes, that is, I think one of the biggest things I see people blocking access to their intuition is the fear that comes up in the mind or the ego about taking a step towards something. You know, for example, I started my business a few years ago. I’m an online life coach and teacher and writer, and I had been in the corporate world for almost 20 years, and so when my intuition was like, it’s time to leave and start your own thing, I was like, ready to puke every day.
Like, this was not something I was excited to do, and I could think of a million reasons why I shouldn’t do it. I was worried about instability with finances. I was worried about being judged. I was worried about if I would be successful, if I could actually help people, if I could actually do this. I didn’t know how to market, I didn’t know how to sell. I didn’t have any entrepreneurial skills at the time.
And yet the intuition was still so strong. Like, this is what it’s time for you to do. This is, this is time. The intuition was there and the fear was strong too. And so it takes practice to discern, you know, because a lot of us, the thing is with intuitive people, people extra naturally intuitive, I think we tend to struggle a lot with anxiety. That’s been my experience and experience of a lot of people I work with. Because when we have our intuition kind of squashed in childhood, we’re not able to continue to grow and develop self trust. And so we’re doubting our own experiences. We’re wondering if we’re wrong.
We’re looking to external people to validate our decisions. We want people to make the decisions for us. And so we’re gonna struggle with that anxiety when we’re making decisions from a very intuitive place because the intuition to do something may not always make sense. But you have to kind of just get facts down on paper. So for me, when I was like considering starting my business and quitting my corporate job, the intuition was to do that. It was all I thought about.
It felt like what was aligned for me, what I knew I wanted to do. But the fear was so strong. And I had to regulate myself through that fear. And so a lot of what I teach and coach on is learning how to work with your body overall when it comes to intuition. And it’s important to work with regulating your nervous system, do practices like conscious breathing or movement that help remove fear and anxiety because then you do tap in more and more to your intuition and you learn to work with the fear and it falls a little bit to the side. But yeah, it’s totally natural.
I mean, I still experience fear all the time and I’m like, is this real or is it ego? And I’m always navigating between the two.
[10:55] Other ways of decision making
[10:55] Damianne President: Do you use more scientific approaches to decision making in addition to intuition?
[11:02] Catherine Andrews: I would say that I’m a relatively impulsive and intuitive decision maker, so there’s a lot in me that my intuition feels strong enough these days that I often will just make the decision based off intuition. But I absolutely think there’s a place for analytical decision making and informative decision making. If you’re looking at a situation where there’s lots of been scientific studies or research, it’s always worth looking at data outcomes. It’s worth, you know, talking to people experienced in the decision that you’ve made. So you’re doing your research, you’re doing your due diligence.
It’s worth journaling. I think, you know, why not? Pro-con lists are great. It just sometimes helps get your brain clear, like, what are you actually thinking about too? And then there’s a time, I think, when we over rely on that and that’s when it’s like we’ve had to make a decision and we’ve spent like four months polling not only our family member, not only our friends, but like the barista at the coffee shop and like random strangers on the internet. And we’ve read every study and we’ve researched everything that point we’re a little too far in that direction. But I think a healthy balance between the two is always useful.
[12:10] Damianne President: Yeah, and I think for people who might be listening who are less comfortable with trusting their intuition, who don’t have a lot of practice in trusting their intuition, then it can feel like having more than one approach to decision making. So that what does my gut say? How do I feel about it? What emotions come up for me? And then there’s also my pros and cons list. And do those two things work together?
I know for me, when I left teaching after 14 years, 15 years, I knew that it was time. I knew that this was the right decision for me and I spent time making a pros cons list and making a matrix and all of these things. And then when the matrix said something else, I was like, this is absolutely the wrong decision, like the matrix might say that, but this is not the right decision for me.
And I think if you’re just focused on the analytical side of it, then you could make a decision that feels completely wrong, that is not aligned with where you need to, want to go next, but you just kind of give the responsibility to something else and not yourself.
[13:15] Catherine Andrews: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s where like, it’s good to review the logic and everything behind it, but some of my best decisions were the most illogical decisions I could’ve made, like people would advise me against making some of the decisions I made, you know, random stuff. Like I moved to Italy for a year after college and the logic should have told you no, get a job, immediately start your career. And I was like, bye ciao I’m going Italy for a year. It was one of the best years of my life. Even 20 years later, I look back on that year and I’m amazed by all that unfolded there.
You know, starting a coaching business online after 20 years in corporate, like there was a lot of reasons, a lot of logical reasons not to do that. And those are kind of like, that’s when logic can turn into fear when you are trying to find all the reasons you shouldn’t do something or people around you are telling you all the reasons you shouldn’t do something. But you know, we just know our soul is calling us to something higher.
When we start following our intuition sometimes, I would say almost always, it’s gonna lead us to some decisions that are gonna go against people who are very invested in logic and security and safety. And that’s part of the challenge for sure.
[14:17] The Magic of Intuition
[14:17] Damianne President: How does it feel for you when you know something is yes, no, or maybe something in the middle.
[14:23] Catherine Andrews: Oftentimes, for me, I’ll admit that it’s something in the middle. I give myself a metric of like 70%. If I’m like a 75, 70% yes., For me that’s as good as like a full body yes. But there have been times when I just like, I don’t know, it’s hard to describe. There’s almost just like a little clarity and a little sparkle. Like for intuition, it could be as simple as I am, this is an example I use for myself all the time. I do a lot of research as a life coach. I write a lot, I write a newsletter. I have a podcast just like you. And so sometimes you’re researching ideas or people to interview or whatever. And sometimes I will be on the Google or on the Instagram and I’m looking at a list of results or people. And one of those results will pop a little brighter to me.
It’s almost visual, but it’s almost like there’s a little bit of a magnet in that one. And I’ll click, and usually that will lead me to a path of the next right step for the article I’m writing or the podcast I’m recording or the person I wanna interview. And so when I know something is right for me, there’s a little bit of that magnet.
There’s a little bit like, ooh, that. And so. It’s, it’s almost just like, I kind of just think of it as like the sparkly sensation. So it’s really hard to put into words, right? So these experiences of intuition and being tapped into our intuitive abilities, almost escape language, which is why it can be hard to teach intuition. Because it’s an experiential thing. But, you can do it in low stakes ways.
Sometimes it could be like looking at a menu. And you’re like, uh, that pizza, that pizza, you know, versus the other 17 choices on the menu. How did you know it was that pizza? Like what was the situation? Did it pop a little brighter on the menu? Did it just catch your eye right away? Did you get a tingle behind your eyes or in your stomach when you looked at it? And so for me, when I’m feeling that my intuition is telling me something’s right, I look for that little like spark. It’s like just this little, like, ooh.
Does that make sense? Do you ever have experiences like that?
[16:24] Damianne President: I wouldn’t say quite in that way. I think it’s usually more like, this looks good, but I don’t necessarily know why. I think often if I’m looking for something, the one that I click on seems to work. I guess there’s a bit of magic in that too.
[16:39] Catherine Andrews: Yeah. And you don’t need to know why. I mean, that’s where we get caught up in our intuition. So I may look at the pizza. This is such a silly example that I came up with, but I’m just gonna keep running with it. And I’ll be like, that pizza, the pizza with the pepperoni and the ricotta cheese, but then your logical mind catches up and it’s like, oh, well you should make sure to look at every other option on the menu.
And like, what about the fish? And like, maybe you should have a salad, cuz patriarchal bullshit diet culture stuff happens. And you’re already second guessing your first gut intuition. You don’t have to have logic. I mean, intuition is not based on logic, right? But we’ve been so conditioned in our logic brain. So if you’re like, I just wanna click on that link because that is what feels right or I just wanna eat that, you need to validate it and then you’re wanting to second guess yourself. Cause we’re afraid of making mistakes and everything.
And so, my offering to people is really just order the first thing your gut tells you on a menu. Click on the first link that looks right. Notice your logic brain come in and try to say, it should be like this or shouldn’t be like this. See if you can just choose in those small ways the first instinct response that you got. And know that logic has nothing to do with it. Like intuition, again, I’ll return to the example of like birds migrating. They don’t sit down with clipboards and weather analysis and polls. They just know when it’s time to go and they follow that lead. And that’s how intuition works for us, too. It’s, you just know.
[18:09] Damianne President: I’m also thinking that, especially when you use the food example, right? You’ll look at a menu and you’ll be like, I want that, the first thing. And so often, I know it’s happened to me and maybe listeners can also relate, you’re like, oh, but uh, I have pizza all the time. This place is known for the fish. Maybe I should have the fish and then I have the fish. But I’m still thinking about that pizza cause that’s really what I wanted. And so, I mean, there are probably other mitigating concerns or worries that also come into play than just whether it’s intuition or what we need to have. But I think definitely often we talk ourselves out of our intuitive response.
[18:52] Practices for tuning into your intuition
[18:52] Catherine Andrews: Yes. And we can all simply start just by noticing when that happens. We don’t have to change it. You don’t have to berate yourself for it. It’s very common, it’s human nature to have that logic brain come in and try to convince us to do otherwise. But my invitation would just be to start noticing, again, using the small example of a menu or something bigger.
Sometimes another thing I’ll offer as an intuitive practice is like notice where you’re driving and like sometimes, you know, if you’re ever on Google Maps, there’s like two equal route that could get you to the same destination in about the same amount of time. And it’s like, oh my God, which do I choose? But like pick one that feels right for no reason. That’s another good way of just being like, why did my intuition tell me to go left when I could have gone left or right? Or sometimes even like, one will be longer, but your intuition will want to tell you to go that way. So much of this is just self-observation and getting to know yourself and your conditioned reactions too. And making it instead of a very high stakes game. You know, if we’re out of touch with our intuition and we’re talking about intuitive decision making today, you don’t have to purely use intuition in buying your next house. You don’t have to make it that big of a decision, but you can use these smaller things to help you navigate and get to know your own responses and become more familiar with your intuitive responses.
[20:11] Connect with Catherine
[20:11] Damianne President: Catherine, where can people learn more about you and about your work with intuition? I will share one of the posts on Instagram that people can use to learn more about the 30 days. But is there anywhere else you would like to direct people?
[20:27] Catherine Andrews: Yes. Well, thank you for sharing that. That is a thing exactly like you said at the start, I ran a 30 days of intuition challenge on Instagram and I’m on Instagram at Catherine Andrews and my primary way of reading more about my work is my newsletter and podcast, and both of those are called the Sunday Soother. You can find those at thesundaysoother.com.
And then I offer coaching and courses at my coaching website. And that is Catherine d as in david andrews.com.
[20:54] Damianne President: I subscribe to both of those and so I’m a fan and I do recommend it.
[20:59] Damianne President: Do you have an invitation for listeners besides what we’ve already shared of a practice where they could get in touch with their intuition?
[21:09] Catherine Andrews: Yes, I think getting in touch with your intuition, when we have been out of touch with it for many, many years, as most of us have been, if not decades, it’s about removing distraction. And so if you can go on and you might have to do it in smaller chunks, so I’m not saying just start right away by going to a 10 day silent meditation retreat.
But could you take a 10 minute walk without your phone and just see what you notice? Observe the sensations in your body. Notice what your eye is drawn to. Do you happen to catch outta the corner of your eye a bird flying above, or a type of flower you’ve never seen on that walk before?
So removing distractions and stimulation is one of the first, and, I think, core tenants of getting more in touch with your intuition, because it helps just remove that static that’s in our heads and in our ears all day long. And intuition thrives in silence and alone time. So even just little chunks, those three to five to 10 minutes a day that you can give yourself, that’s a great place to start to develop your intuition for sure.
[22:10] Damianne President: I know for me, I dunno what brought this to my attention, but I was like, yeah, even when I shower, like I have a what a waterproof speaker in the shower. And so I keep listening to a podcast and I was like, when did it become that I can’t have a five minute shower and not be learning something or listening to something?
And so for listeners, if you find that’s you too, that could be an easy one. Just shower without listening to anything. There are five minutes where you could do this.
[22:39] Catherine Andrews: Absolutely. That’s a beautiful idea. And then the other thing that just came to mind is I think people overcomplicate intuition, but for me, intuition is simply your curiosity. And so if you’re like, Ooh, a book catches your eye at a bookstore or an Instagram post, flashes by, or you’re listening to this conversation and you’re like, Ooh, that challenge sounds so sparkly, like, I’m gonna go check out Katherine’s Instagram. Or something that happens to me all the time is I’ll hear like a book title about a topic, like this is completely random and has nothing to do with what we’re talking about, except it’s this random example.
There’s this workout called Rucking, which is like you just walk around with a heavy backpack on, and I have like, literally never heard of it. And in the past three days, it has come to my awareness four times. I overheard somebody talk about it at the gym today. I saw an Instagram post with it the other day, and it was mentioned in a different podcast, like the day before, maybe somewhere else.
And that’s intuition to me. I’m paying attention and I’m like, maybe it’s time for me to check out Rucking. That seems cool. It seems like a great workout. I don’t know. Will I go rucking? I don’t
[23:49] Damianne President: Maybe,
[23:49] Catherine Andrews: but maybe I will. Maybe it’ll be like the best thing for my health that I could do right now, you know? So noticing those little sparks where you’re like, rucking, rucking, oh my God. Or a book title will come into your awareness like three times. So just noticing where your body is almost pulled like a magnet, and it’s like the ooh. That’s intuition. That’s just your intuition leading you towards something that’s right for you.
[24:10] Damianne President: Yeah, and this is making me think that this is why having space or making space is so important. Because it’s so easy to be like, oh, there’s that spark and there left because you are so busy.
[24:26] Catherine Andrews: yeah, if I brought up rucking to say, I love, again the random example I’m using, but say I’d heard about Rucking four times in the last three days. But then I didn’t trust myself, or I surrounded myself with other people’s opinions, and I’m like, should I start rucking?
And they’re like, should you walk around with like 30 pounds in a backpack? No, that sounds horrible. And then I’d be like, you’re right. But I’m discounting my intuition and I’m discounting the synchronicities of hearing that phrase all the time. So what I’ll do now, because it happened again at the gym this morning, right before our podcast interview, is like, I’m gonna just Google rucking.
I’m not committing to like, you know, buying rucking equipment or becoming a rucker or whatever, people who ruck called themselves. But I’m gonna, get curious about it, right? I’m not gonna ask anybody else’s opinion if I should research rucking, if it’s right for me. But I’m just gonna follow that little red thread. And that to me is intuition.
[25:18] Damianne President: I like that idea. Thank you Catherine. I so enjoyed chatting with you today.
[25:22] Catherine Andrews: Me too. Thank you so much for the invitation. It’s been a joy to be here.
[25:25] Damianne President: Katherine and I went on to record a bit more about reparenting yourself. And that will be released as a bonus episode next week. Subscribe or followed the podcast to be notified automatically when there’s a new episode.
It’s important to work with regulating your nervous system, do practices like conscious breathing or movement that help remove fear and anxiety because then you do tap in more and more to your intuition and you learn to work with the fear, and it falls a little bit to the side. – Catherine AndrewsTweet
[Intuition] is sometimes a physical sensation or a clear knowing in your mind of if a situation is for you or not for you. – Catherine AndrewsTweet