\ How Will I Know? | Christina Brandt

How Will I Know?

Right Left BrainMy client (we’ll call her Nancy) was paralyzed by a question that so many of us get stuck on when we’re trying to incorporate our passions into our lives:  How will I know when this is happening?
We want so badly to quantify and measure the progress of creating our right lives and careers, naming milestones and benchmarks to help us stay on the path.

Nancy was stuck for the same reasons we all get stuck:  she was trying to solve the problem in the same way she always had.  In her case, she felt that she needed to fill in the blanks in a self help book, even though it felt waaaaay too much like school for her liking and went against her creative, artistic inclinations.

So I decided to make a chart. It went like this:  5 columns, one column header called “my passion” and four called “How will I know this is happening?”  As she spoke about her passions in response to my repeating the question “How will I know when this is happening,” I typed her responses into my little chart.

And then a funny thing happened. Every column’s responses got more and more spiritual, as if they were written by someone else.  In fact, one of her responses was “Answers come through me, not from me.”  Goose bump stuff.

The bigger picture emerged.  It was all about her body, her senses, about cosmic help, about inner knowing, love, the assurance of feeling a definite sense of purpose, and an energy of wanting to burst forth.  Nothing looked like the traditional, quantifiable SMART goal setting stuff we usually generate; you know, the “by June 4 I’ll have a resume written” or “I’ll have six new clients,” or “I’ll have lost 10 lbs” kind of measurements.

Despite my asking the same questions as in her book, Nancy was able to respond to them in a new way because she wasn’t filling in the blanks. Freed of the structure that made her “go left” and asking for someone to help her, Nancy’s right brain could engage and really feel the responses.  They were remarkable.

If you find yourself stuck in left brain model, attempting to apply a linear, rational, and logical approach to your problem, stop. Get someone else to handle the left-brained stuff for a while and just focus on the feelings – the emotions and bodily sensations – of what it’d be like to have the things you desire.   Make a vision board.  Imagine your future, successful self being interviewed by a magazine you read and enjoy – and let someone ask you questions as if you were that future self.   Ask your 80 year old future self to give you some advice.  Finger paint. Watch this video. Just don’t do what you’ve always done and expect different results.

Surprise yourself.


  1. Dale says:

    Chris–I really liked this article! Great timing for me, as I feel my way along in my post-layoff Chapter 2. Thank you!

    • chris says:

      Glad you liked it, Dale. Sometimes it’s hard for us to imagine how the heck we’re going to ever get moving “forward,” but sometimes “forward” simply doesn’t look or feel like anything we’ve experienced before. Stay with it; Chapter 2 is going to be great!

  2. Glad says:

    I love your advice about getting out of our left-brain, linear heads and FEELING, instead.

    There’s so much wisdom in the right-brain. We are conditioned to ignore that stuff because it’s woo-woo or it can be measured.

    But, so much insight resides there.

  3. Christina says:

    You’re right, Glad. It’s when we don’t integrate the two sides of our brain enough that we miss out on some valuable clues for our right lives. I love Jill Bolte Taylor’s book, “My Stroke of Insight” for more info on the right brain.

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