Keeping In Touch With Your Intuition: Jill Charton On How To Get In Touch With Your Intuition And When To Trust Your Intuition When Making Decisions
An Interview With Maria Angelova
Build self-trust. This can be done by trying something new, committing to a new goal or daily habit (start small and build up), or creating a mantra to make sure your actions throughout the day align with the kind of person you’d like to be.
Intuition is defined as the ability to understand something immediately without the need for conscious reasoning. Where does intuition come from? Can it be trusted? How can someone tune in to their intuition? To address these questions, we are talking to business leaders, coaches, mental health experts, authors, and anyone who is an authority on “How to Get In Touch With Your Intuition And When To Trust Your Intuition When Making Decisions.” As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Charton.
Jill Charton is an Atlanta-based health and wellness professional on a mission to address mental and physical barriers to becoming the best version of yourself. As a celebrity trainer connected with brands such as Marvel and DC, Jill makes her expertise widely accessible as a personal trainer, keynote speaker, and corporate wellness consultant, as well as on social media and through her business, iFour.Life — a fitness brand focused on taking just four percent of your day and using it to become more efficient, happier, healthier, and confident. What sets Jill apart is not only her focus on giving hands-on, personalized and empowering training fit to specific needs, but her background in physical therapy allows her to work with all levels of physical ability to reach various fitness goals safely.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
I’m based in Atlanta, originally from northwest Indiana alongside my two older siblings. By the time I started fourth grade, I was already a multi-sport athlete, determined to meet challenges and motivate my teammates.
Through my numerous years in athletics, I developed a deep love for the process of training, attending camps, and especially the team-building aspect that comes with organized sports. Though I remained committed to health and fitness, in my post-collegiate years I pursued different avenues of employment. I started working in corporate America and married my college sweetheart. It wasn’t until my husband suffered a shoulder injury that I was introduced to the world of physical therapy, which was ultimately the catalyst for the career I have today. After falling in love with the process of helping people recover physically and mentally, I began soaking in as much as I could from the field.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Be curious, not judgmental” — Walt Whitman.
I love this quote because everyone has a story. When we ask the appropriate questions to tap into someone’s life, we begin to understand the behaviors and reasonings behind them. When we’re accepting and open-minded, it fuels compassion, understanding, and connectivity. While this is important in many aspects of life, in my work in particular this quote serves as a reminder that allows me to better engage with and support each of my clients — no matter where they’re at in their health, wellness, and fitness journeys.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Jay Shetty’s podcast “On Purpose” helps train your mind to make everyday peace, balance, and purpose more achievable. This podcast has had a substantial impact on me as a businesswoman and mother with a lot on my plate.
At one point, while my husband was working 10–11 hour days, six days a week as an air traffic controller, I was balancing overseeing a home renovation project from start to finish, managing my business, giving the absolute best to my clients, all while new mother with a one-and-a-half-year-old daughter and pregnant with another one on the way. During that chaotic time, I used this podcast to keep me calm and grounded.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s begin with a definition of terms so that each of us and our readers are on the same page. What exactly does intuition mean? Can you explain
“Go with your gut.”
We’ve all heard the phrase before and it perfectly encapsulates the definition of intuition. When you’re in tune with yourself, your “whys”, and your needs, life becomes much more simple to navigate and you’ll find it easier to make decisions that serve your best interest. Good intuition doesn’t come from drawn-out thought processes, it comes from trusting yourself and following your instinctive feelings.
How would you define common sense? Are intuition and common sense related?
Common sense is, by definition, “a good sense and sound judgment in practical matters.” On a superficial level, this includes the information our brain registers and doesn’t have to waste energy thinking about.
For example, it’s common sense that your parents are older than you. On a deeper level, people have come to know it as following evidence and practical reasoning above all else. Common sense and intuition are both factors that often play into big decisions.
An oversimplified way of thinking about it is that when you’re faced with a choice, your common sense is what your brain tells you and your intuition is what your heart tells you.
How are they different from each other?
Common sense and intuition differ in their meaning and practical application.
Common sense is inherently in our nature–it doesn’t require practice or skill. Intuition on the other hand, is both a feeling and a skill that requires honing and some degree of learned wisdom.
Common sense is rooted in logic and facts while intuition is rooted in emotion and feeling. Common sense may tell you that you should hire the James-Beard nominated chef to cater your private party, but your intuition may tell you to instead give a chance to the local student who’s only an aspiring chef if you had a really good feeling about their drive, passion, and capabilities. On paper, it would never make sense to hire a student over an acclaimed professional, but your intuition digs deeper into that equation.
What are the positive aspects of being in touch with your intuition? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
Being in touch with your intuition is a superpower! When we are in tune with ourselves, we’re able to stay on track and adjust our course as needed.
About six years ago, I was approached to be a part of a fitness brand and was pressured to sign the contract right away without my lawyer reading through it first. Logically, this should’ve been a red flag, common sense would have told me to head for the hills. However, I felt in my gut that I could trust these people and that the opportunity being presented was something I needed to be a part of. I trusted my intuition and I’m so glad I did because without that stepping stone, I wouldn’t be where I am today!
Are there negative aspects to being guided by intuition? Can you give a story or example to explain what you mean?
While there may be small sacrifices, following your intuition will always lead to more sound decisions, fulfillment, and joy. There are negative consequences for those attempting to follow their intuition without giving their mind and body what it needs truly hear their intuition.
Without taking time to slow down, check in with yourself, and fuel your needs daily, it can be incredibly easy to get confused between all of the different voices in your head. Ego, feelings, materialistic desires, pressures from outside forces such as others’ desires or societal expectations, anxieties, fears, unresolved traumas, unrelated unfulfilled needs, brain fog, and common sense can get jumbled and make it hard to decipher which voice is truly your intuition.
Can you give some guidance about when one should make a decision based on their intuition and when one should use other methods to come to a decision?
Your intuition should NOT be the only power at play when following it could harm yourself or others, directly go against your values, or other feelings could be interfering with the message. For example, you may intuitively feel like someone at work has bad intentions, but without any tangible reason or evidence intuition alone isn’t enough reason to take any actions that could soil your relationship with them or their standing in the company.
When this happens, it’s important not to dismiss your intuition with invalidating thoughts like, “I’m just being crazy, I’m sure it’s nothing. There’s no reason not to trust them.” This is how you lose confidence in yourself and lose touch with your intuition.
Take some time and space to sit with yourself and see where this voice is coming from. Are there any feelings of jealousy or resentment? Did that person do anything that makes you uncomfortable? Are there any cultural or personality differences that could be perceived differently?
If you find that it’s plausible that your feelings could be communicating something else to you, what is it saying your needs are and how can you repair your view of or relationship with this person? If you still feel as though this person has ill intent, what steps can you take to protect yourself and your mental space while remaining true to your values?
From your experience or perspective, what are some of the common barriers that hold someone back from trusting their intuition?
‘Analysis paralysis’ is something that often holds people back from trusting their intuition and something I’ve personally struggled to overcome.
Intuition shouldn’t require much back-and-forth thinking or elicit the analysis of every single factor and scenario. When we don’t trust ourselves to make the right decision or struggle with indecision, inviting too many competing thoughts into our minds makes it hard to navigate or rely on intuition. This often results in putting off decisions or putting off what your intuition is truly calling you towards.
This stems from fear. Life is full of uncertainty, but only focusing on “what if” worrisome thoughts is what disconnects us from our intuitive driving force. Luckily there are ways to overcome this way of thinking!
Here is the central question of our discussion. What are five methods that someone can use to become more in touch with their intuition?
Our brain is the most intriguing and complex organ. It is intertwined through our central nervous system, which is why our intuitive feelings are connected with our physical reactions (hair standing up in the back of your neck or the pit in your stomach can be your intuition communicating with you!).
If you think about how much information our brain is processing every second of the day, we can feel numb because we’re constantly in a state of processing, especially if we don’t take a moment to slow down, take care of ourselves, and regain focus. We might not even notice that our jaw is clenched because we’re too busy with tasks in front of us.
Here’s my take on how to get in touch with your intuition:
1 . Start by giving your body what it needs to maintain mental clarity. This means daily movement, proper amounts of sleep, restorative rest, hydration, and proper nutrition.
If you think about it, when have you ever said you made the best decision of your life while you were sleep deprived? Probably never. That may be an obvious example, but many people don’t realize the vast effect that health and wellness have on our ability to process thoughts clearly and efficiently.
A healthy body means a calm central nervous system, which means both optimized brain function and fewer disorienting thoughts competing for attention.
2 . Slow down. Set aside time to be still and check in with yourself through daily walks, meditation, journaling, breath work, or yoga. When we’re in a constant state of “Go, go, go, go”, we’re often too consumed with focusing on work, responsibilities, consuming media; we’re everywhere at once and this makes it difficult to know ourselves well enough to form a relationship with our needs and intuition.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t be in touch with your intuition if you’re not a slow-living yogi with tons of free time to ponder. The important thing isn’t the type of activity or duration of time, but to carve out space to be able to sit with yourself with intention.
3 . Build self-trust. This can be done by trying something new, committing to a new goal or daily habit (start small and build up), or creating a mantra to make sure your actions throughout the day align with the kind of person you’d like to be.
By proving that you’re capable of successfully guiding yourself through uncharted territory, you build an unbreakable foundation of confidence and trust that allows you to listen to your intuition without question. You do this by keeping promises, meeting your needs, and ensure your self-image aligns with your actions.
4 . Identify the personal triggers, anxieties, and traumas. These make it difficult to navigate your thoughts and feelings, therefore blocking. Your ability to hear or listen to your intuition. You’ll hear industry leaders ask that you learn to separate yourself from your ego and from your thoughts through neutral self-observance.
In practice, this could be just acknowledging your body’s reactions to something or addressing a thought that pops up with curiosity, rather than immediately claiming it as fact or your own. It might be in your head, but that’s just part of the human condition, and separating these things from your identity will make it easier to be able to label them.
Sometimes this part requires help from a professional, while other times this can become clear simply by taking the first three steps. It will take consistent work and practice, but it gets easier and easier as you go along.
An example of this would be identifying that you had a parent give you the cold shoulder and became emotionally absent whenever they were upset with you growing up.
If you end up with a partner who requires alone time to recharge, you may take their momentary retreat as a sign that they’re mad at you and mistake that feeling for truth. Once you identify this childhood wound that manifests as a trigger, you can identify and place the feeling and know it’s not necessarily true.
5 . Empower yourself to dismiss thoughts and ideas that don’t resonate with you, and only choose to claim or identify with ones that do, then take conscious steps that align with your new irrevocable self-image.
You may think, “I shouldn’t go over to the free weights section in the gym because I’ll embarrass myself. I’m too weak,” but you want to start lifting weights and feel unfulfilled using the machines. Just because you had the thought doesn’t mean it’s yours to hold onto.
You’re free to dismiss that thought and replace it with something positive. “I’m strong, getting stronger every day, and empowering myself to strength train in ways I enjoy will only make me even stronger.”
You are a person of significant influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
My goal with iFour is to encourage everyone to imagine what they could accomplish by setting aside 4% of their day (that’s only one hour!) to focus on their personal well-being.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
I’d love to have lunch with Kirsty Godso (@kirstygodso), or maybe join her for a workout consisting of pyro and hot sauce burpees!
Kirtsy is someone I’d like to connect with because not only is she an incredible athlete, trainer, and fellow smoothie lover, but she dabbles in mental health and wellness by sharing podcasts and books she’s personally interested in so we’d have a lot of great things to talk about. She’s also a self-proclaimed energy dealer, which is the PERFECT word for what it is I do and seek to accomplish!
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Instagram & Facebook: @jillcharton
iFour Core App: http://ifourlife.com/app
Email: [email protected]
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.
Keeping In Touch With Your Intuition: Jill Charton On How To Get In Touch With Your Intuition And… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.