Photo Credit: Ian Stauffer,

Written by Mari Roberts
August 12, 2020

Many years ago, I heard about listening to the pings (your personal, internal signal) that tell us when it’s time to move on. You hear about this more in the space of relationships: “listen to the whispers to know when it’s time to move on.”  

Following the pings, you never know where they’ll take you. I was in my twenties the first time I can recall listening to and embracing the pings. After a very tragic life situation, I’d gotten a call from my cousin in Atlanta who suggested I come to visit. In that instant, the ping was not to visit, but rather, to move.

Three months later, I moved across the country without knowing anyone other than my cousin. Listening to that ping was monumental. I cultivated new friendships and lived on my own for the very first time ever. At that time in my life, I was sure that I’d never live alone–I’d have roommates forever. 

Years later, I experienced another life-changing ping. It happened during a time in my life when I was actually ready for a change. I knew I wasn’t happy in Atlanta, but I also wasn’t ready to return to the West Coast. During this time, I went on an unplanned trip to Chicago. The ping hit hard. I found my new home.

That move led to my new career in human resources and to eventually meeting my husband. Yes, there was a ping involved in meeting him, too, and I’m going to say that, while it took some time (okay, a long time), it was a good thing to follow . . .

My husband and I eventually ended up back on the West Coast. As years passed and I settled into life, I didn’t realize that I’d stopped listening to the pings. Work and life became stressful. I was overwhelmed. I lost my way. I didn’t hear the whispers anymore, and quite honestly, all aspects of my life were drowning/ falling–I was no longer present for my own life. I was unhappy and disconnected at work, with my family and friends, and with myself. 

Coaching & Shadow Work

By this time, the pings were so drowned out and so muted that I wasn’t listening to the whispers of what I was feeling, and I felt lost and disconnected.

Personal and professional setbacks finally shook me to the core. I realized I wasn’t who or where I wanted to be. Slowly and subtly, the pings started to enter my life again. The pings for me were small, little things that were affecting me–spiritually affecting me–prodding me toward a new direction of my life.

I began to notice blog posts and articles that were about “the shadow” and the benefits of “shadow work.” The shadow is based on Carl Jung, referring to the part of ourselves that we choose to repress, typically from childhood. I thought this practice might be helpful in my attempt to address and manage the deep stress of my corporate and personal life. While the concept of shadow work piqued my interest, I didn’t do anything about it. 

That was until, on a weekend getaway with my mom, I met a florist–yup, that’s right. I was drawn into the most beautiful floral shop that I’d seen in years. Here’s where the subtle pings really kicked in. I loved the florist’s work so much that I started following her on social media.

One day, when scrolling through social media, I noticed that the florist had posted about a wedding that she was missing. This led to an uncontrollable urge (ping) to discover the person she mentioned. She happened to be a shadow worker. Simultaneously, I’d gotten the ping to look into coaching and ultimately started down the path to become an iPEC certified coach.

How listening to the pings shifted my mindset

As I started to listen to the pings again, I started to see shifts in my mindset, and I began to see possibilities. The truth is that it wasn’t a big jump–it literally was one baby step at a time. (I know it doesn’t seem like it was one baby step, because I started doing shadow work and my coach training at the same time, but it truly was one step.)

It happens by noticing the shifts. The stagnant and weighed-down feelings slowly begin to feel lighter. It’s beginning to see possibility, or that there’s even a hope for possibility. Beginning to feel excited about options and opportunities. 

For me, I started exploring and getting curious, doing research and uncovering the next step I wanted to take along the journey. That led to more momentum, which then contributed to clearing blocks and shifting my feelings of lack and self-doubt. 

Forward motion began. Coach training enhanced my understanding of limiting beliefs and deepened my knowledge of how to do the work to uncover my internal blocks. I knew that before I could successfully coach others, it was vital for me to internalize the message of limitless growth and of self-actualization. So I worked to acknowledge my abilities and fully accept myself. I worked to manifest the person that could effectively be the coach that my clients needed, to step into who I am today.

The journey still continues, and I embrace the truth that it will always continue, as I learn and continue to integrate and grow. 

Start listening to the pings–you may be surprised where it takes you

In my younger years, the pings literally moved me, pushing me to move cross-country twice, taking huge leaps of faith when it came to even having a place to live. But, as I’ve grown older, the pings have changed direction, so to speak.

They’ve nudged me toward a more fulfilling career as a coach and simultaneously pushed me to do the deep work of becoming a more enlightened, integrated, and joyful person. While my journey used to be a physical one (e.g. taking me across the country) it’s now an internal one–but the momentum continues to build. Life’s become an adventure again!

How do you start to listen to the pings when you’re feeling lost and out of touch? One step at a time is the key.

Here are some tips to start listening to your unique pings and to begin to understand how they show up for you. 

  1. Feeling into your body: Become aware of how your body communicates with you. You need to be able to recognize how your intuition sends you pings. Sit quietly and close your eyes. Ask your body to show you how it speaks with you. Then notice where and how physical sensations show up. Be aware that, for some, it may not be a feeling but a knowing.
  2. Meditation: Traditional meditative practice is a powerful tool for some, but others struggle to set apart the time or to fully clear their minds. Try taking simply three minutes to sit quietly and clear your mind. Taking time in the shower to breathe deeply and clear the noise is another option. Another is to walk in nature, focusing on the sights and sounds and clearing away all other distracting thoughts. Driving while listening to music (it can be loud or calming–it’s whatever fits your needs) is yet another possible way to get this practice into your life.
  3. Practice: The most important thing in strengthening and understanding your pings is through practice. There are a number of ways that you can do this. Start by keeping a journal. This can be done by simply noting what comes up, but you can take this a step deeper. You can free write with a journal prompt: “God/Universe, what is it I am to know for my highest good?” and just free flow.
  4. Trust yourself: Experience is the best teacher, especially when it comes to growing your trust muscle. Get curious. Start asking yourself questions, and see what comes up for you. Notice how you feel. Pay attention, take action, and validate. Soon, you’ll be sensing the energy in a room as well as listening to your own heart!
Photo Credit: Ian Stauffer,