Tapping Into Your Intuition And Discovering Your Life Purpose With Sarah Albritton
Tapping into intuition is the first step in aligning with the soul. Do that and your real-life purpose will be revealed in its fullness. Tony Martignetti is joined by author and truth-teller Sarah Albritton to talk about her own intuitive journey that brought her into the professional coaching and speaking scene. She explains how intuition can guide you in the right way to pivot, embrace opportunities, and discover the next right thing to do at all times. Sarah also emphasizes the individual power that lies in each person, making every life journey unique and not up for any kind of pressure or comparison.
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Tapping Into Your Intuition And Discovering Your Life Purpose With Sarah Albritton
It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Sarah Albritton. She is the intuitive truth-teller to senior leaders and their teams. She's worked with Fortune 300 companies, startups and family businesses around the world. She's the author of I'm Not Crazy, I'm Just Not You. It's a top-selling book on the Myers-Briggs type indicator that's been on the market since 1996. Sarah has expanded her intuitive channeling to the magic mix of fearless candor, humor and compassion that she's brought to her clients for many years. “I'm here to be a living invitation to the magic in the mundane,” according to Sarah. “The everyday aspect of living in alignment with your soul,” that's beautiful. “The understanding will change the world for all of us, not just a select few.” I think that's a great way for us to start, Sarah. She lives in North Carolina with her husband Andy and her rescued Great Pyrenees, Topa. I want to welcome you to the show, Sarah.
Thanks, Tony. It's good to be here. I've got my candle here. The flames are crackling. Let's get to it.
I do have sometimes put a candle out so I can have a little bit of an ambiance of a flame and fire because I think it's apropos for the show. I'm so honored to have you here because I know that the work you've done in this space with your clients has been powerful. I've witnessed so much of what you've done through just getting to know you. You're a powerful being. The show is for people who have shown up powerfully in the world. I want to reveal how you got there through your story. That's what we're going to do here. The way we're going to do that is we're going to tell your story through what we call flashpoints. These are points in your story that have revealed your gifts into the world. There may be one or there may be many. Along the way, we're going to pause and see what shows up and see the themes and things that we want to connect with. Sarah, with that, I'm going to pass it over to you. Feel free to share what you're called to share.
We are always a part of the source from which our intuition comes.
Thank you. I'm excited to be here. Flashpoints, depending on which part of my career we're focusing on because it does feel a bit chapter-ish. I'm feeling called to talk about the flashpoints around intuition. Intuition is where I'm spending more time now and in learning more about my own channel as an adult. This is the next phase for me. What I'm realizing looking back is that I've had access to my intuition all along. Unlike some people who are natured for whom that is more present sooner, it didn't scare me. My mom in particular was like, "That's just how Sarah is."
The first example of a flashpoint that I didn't fully appreciate until an adult with children doing college tours is we were looking at different colleges and at the time, I thought I wanted to be an engineer. We were going to all these different colleges. My godmother lived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. We had toured Duke, NC State and Chapel Hill. We'd gone to UVA and all the places that had engineering programs. Wake Forest University is in Winston-Salem. Our neighbor was an alumnus of Wake Forest. More as a courtesy than anything else, we decided to take a tour of Wake Forest. It’s Liberal Arts College with no engineering program. It’s none of the things that I had said at the wise old age of seventeen that I wanted. All the tours leading up to that had been like, "This is okay. It's all right."
We get to Wake. We're touring around. I appreciate my parents. I'm the youngest of five. This was not fresh and new for them. They had gone this route once or twice before. They were good sports. It was the end of the day and they'd been dragged on all these tours to all these different places. It was one of those flashpoint moments. We walked on campus. I looked around and I said, "This is it." No engineering program, no nothing. It wasn't maybe instantaneous but we walked around a little bit. I don't think we even had a formal tour. We were wandering around. I'll never forget. They were walking together. My mom turns to my dad and whacks him on the arm. She said, "Jim, we can go home. She's got the vibe." That's what she called it. She called it the vibe.
It's funny now looking back that many people who have been in touch with their intuition in various ways through their life had it poo-pooed by their family, denigrated or disregarded. I can't say that my mom was encouraging it but it was a fact to her. It was like, "This is how Sarah rolls." Thank heavens for being the youngest of five. There was not a lot I could do to shock her at that point probably. I have three older brothers and an older sister. That in hindsight is a precious memory of owning my power to make a decision, even when it looks completely antithetical to the checklists that I had going into the situation.
It was a great decision. I had a great four years. I majored in economics, as far from engineering as you can get and it was the right thing. Pull that thread through in my coaching, I never bill myself as a business coach per se, but I get business and I understand business. My eyes don't glaze over when my clients are talking about whatever it is, the nuances of a marketing plan or what the global market share is versus fill in the blank. I am genuinely interested when they are talking about that stuff. At different points in my career early on, especially as a woman and coaching, we didn't call it coaching then. We called it leadership development and other kinds of things. There were a lot of psychologists who were in that space. For me to show up as business-oriented, practical and pragmatic, I like to win. I like to get stuff done. I had a real simpatico with most of my business clients and still do.
There's something about the way that this came together, which is to say that even at a young age, that intuition, that vibe, which at that point, you didn't necessarily know what it was, but it's something that was a clue to something in the future you connect to. You built this foundation of pragmatism, this foundation of understanding how business and things get done. With the intuition piece, which is something I've talked to a lot of people about, do you find that it's something that grows, builds or gets sophisticated over time and not just, it's there and it's always there? That's the question for you.
It's both, and. It is always there. We are always a part of the source from which our intuition comes. We each have our distinct flavor of it. Your brand of intuition is unique to my brand of intuition and so forth. All living things have access and are part of that river, that source of information. Skip forward for several years when I woke up to this, I did a goal-setting exercise with our mutual coach, Rich Litvin. This whole notion of intuition, I had a word for it that I don't like so much. The word was witch. It kept coming up. "I want to be a witch."
That's a silly thing but it was one of these streams of consciousness. He keeps bombarding you with questions and you're writing as fast as you can. You go scratch out what doesn't meet different criteria. To my astonishment, which made it through all the cuts like, "Yes, I'm interested in it. I'm willing to learn about it over the next few months. I can say that even if I dive into it and it doesn't work out like I think it will, would I still be glad I made the decision?" It's like, "Where did that come from?" That's the word that kicked it off but it wasn't long before other notions that the container of which felt too small. With all respect to practicing witches, it felt a little more old paradigm than a new paradigm.
By that, I mean binary, if this, then that. We are here to prove that we can do something. We will cast a spell. We will make a potion. There is a recipe. It is in order to accomplish something. At least in my understanding of it, there's more of a doing energy to it. Certainly, practicing witches would say, "The being aspect is connecting to nature and connecting to source through that." I totally respect that. For me, it wasn't inclusive enough. It wasn't big enough. The world I live in, as you read in my intro is more about the magic and the mundane. It's not special spells. It's not all these other things. It's not special people. We all have access all the time. It is a privilege for me when I get to show people that and have them experience that.
I do want to get back to your story because there are still elements to it that I want to hear more about like what brought you down this path. What is the quick foundational piece of advice that you would give someone if they want to tap into that intuition? What would you do if there is anything like that you could share?
At every moment, there is an opportunity for us to turn our face towards limitless possibility.
The question I get most often is how do I tell the difference between intuition, source, God, spirit, instinct or whatever your word for that piece that feels separate but you hear it in your body and soul. How do you tell the difference between that? What I would call brain chemistry, the fight, flight and freeze, "This is what's expected of me. I can scan the environment and know what the social mores are here. I need to use this napkin,” if you're at a fancy business dinner. How do I tell the difference between that information and source information? It takes practice.
To your earlier question, it's always there. There's no way to not have access to it and practicing it, especially practicing on the most mundane things like coffee or tea, water or a glass of wine. Understanding that in the source world, there aren't any goods or bads on things. That's a human construct to judge and determine this is good or bad for you, good or bad for the environment. Practicing gives you a lot more access to understanding, "There's that voice? That's the one." If it's brain chemistry, there are a couple of telltale signs for me. These are ones that my teacher, Monica Carota passed on to me and her teacher passed onto her. There's a lineage. It will make perfect sense to you when you hear it.
If there is prey or predator energy on a thought, either, "If I don't get this right, my career is over. They're going to hate me. I'll lose this opportunity. I'll never lose the weight I want to lose or fill in the blank." Anything that scares you, anything that puts you in the victim mode is brain chemistry. Anything that puts you on the other side of the equation, predator, "I'm going to crush it. When I get this contract, it's going to be the best thing. It's going to make my business. I'm going to grab market share. I'm going to do all these things." It's great to be excited about things and there is joy in intuition and in those messages. When you're at decision-making mode and you're feeling amped up like a lot's riding on this, that's brain chemistry. That's not source information.
When you feel either of those things, it's not bad. Your brain is doing exactly what it's supposed to do to keep you safe, keep you in a place where you will survive and maintain your membership in the tribe from primal days. Source information tends to be much quieter, very neutral, very little charge on it. By charge means there's a feeling on it. There's an electric charge on it. That's a quick way. Another quick way is with a few exceptions. What if is a brain chemistry question. What if this goes wrong? What if they don't do this? What if I did that? The big exception to the what if rule is what you were talking about coming up with a book that has been seminal for me. Winnie-The-Pooh is one.
Piglet and Pooh are walking through the forest. Piglet is like, "Pooh, the wind is up. What if a branch falls down on us? What if the tree falls down? What if our houses aren't there when we get home?” Pooh walks along, turns to Piglet and quietly says, "What if it doesn't?" That what if. What if it were easy? What if it were fun? It's so hard. I don't know. I have clients all the time. This is hard. This is complex. There's so much riding on this. I get that. What if it were fun?
The way that it lands, creates this shift of the energy of what you put on something. It gives you the possibility of what is possible. It comes back to what you said. It's only good or bad if you make it so.
In this world, you can't screw it up. Sometimes when I get messages from my intuition, from source, they come as pictures. Sometimes it's words or messages and things. Not long ago, they dropped a picture in. The person I was with, we were talking about, "What if this, what if that. I don't want to mess this thing up." They showed me this giant pair of hands with a deck of cards. It was this perpetual shuffle, never-ending. You can take a card out anywhere and put it back in anywhere and it keeps shuffling. That's what I recognize to be true. Instantaneously at every moment, there is an opportunity for us to turn our face towards limitless possibility.
Talking about visuals, this is why we should be having this as a video. People can visualize that in their heads. Putting a card in, taking it out, and seeing how that determines what you're able to have happened at that moment. It's not just about what happens in your life or what happens in your personal. This is about work too. This is about professional endeavors too. We're going to make the connection back to the leaders that you're working with. You have so many possibilities that you can unlock in your company. It's about connecting to the what-ifs that you can create and not be so locked in.
Let me give you a concrete example of that. At the beginning of all the COVID stuff, back in April 2020, I was working with a team that is adjacent to the pharmaceutical space. They have a product that could be important in the process of what we are dealing with globally. Like everyone else, I met with their senior team, a year-long client of mine. Like everyone else back in April 2020, they were scared and tired, "What are we going to do? How do we get people into the manufacturing plants to produce the thing that could be useful? How do we keep them safe,” and all these other things? “Do we shut down and all the money we'd lose if we shut down." There are many more complexities than that but dealing with a lot of stuff. I tapped into my intuition and an image came.
We spend so much time parsing and dissecting every decision we make.
It's an image from a tarot card that shows two beggars in the snow facing you. If you're looking at the card, the two characters are facing you. They're clearly barefoot in the snow, tired, bent over and so forth. Behind them, out of their sightline, is a bright, warm cathedral. The message of the card if it comes up in a reading somewhere is to help us turn around. It's right there. Everything you need is right there. I didn't come right out and blurt it out. I had this intuitive hit, but I worked it into the conversation. In my meeting notes, in summary, I was like, "It looks dark." Look around. Look for possibilities, so forth and so on. Telling you how it turned out would reveal the client but it turned out well for them. Within six weeks, they had a multimillion-dollar contract and had figured out a lot of the different stuff by partnering with people, collaborating and getting their own heads up out of the fear space to look around to the next possibility. It was very cool.
It drives home the fact that sometimes people have to give in to the magic of what can show up if you step away and listen.
It's a direct application to leadership and to business kinds of things. That's one. I got a million of them.
I want to get back to the story for a moment. You got into being a leadership development person with a time where it wasn't a coach. What happened along your journey? Were there any other turning points that you decided to make some different things happen? The big turning point has been to connect with intuition as being a big part of the work. Tell me more about the story. Were there any things that became big challenges or things that you had to pivot through?
The next pivot came right out of college. For ten years after college, I got a Master's Degree in Educational Leadership. I worked in colleges and universities for ten years designing leadership programs for faculty and students. This is a story about the pivots and survival based on relationships, prosperous coach kind of stuff. Over the course of those ten years, I was in Chicago for a while and I was in Tallahassee, Florida for a while. I then came here to Winston-Salem. I always made a point to meet people in my professional network to do things. I show up and things happen. I don't know how else to say it. I'm starting to own that for years. It's like, "Why does that always happen to me?" It does. I'll own it.
Over the course of time, I became the President of the North Carolina Chapter for the American College Personnel Association, volunteer professional development thing. Through that, I got involved with the American College Personnel Association. At the national level, I became the membership co-chair for the National American College Personnel Association. Over the course of two years, I don't know. I don't think we doubled it, but I think we had a significant growth impact on that network, on that association. As a result of that work, I met a lot of people. I traveled to give pitches to different state organizations and things like that. I didn't get paid for any of it. I just did it because I was passionate about the field and passionate about the organization. It was fun to get out and meet people.
When I meet people, I try to serve them powerfully. That's been naturally how I have done things. I don't try to stay connected with people, but I do. It works out that way. It's a natural expression of who I am to stay to some degree of connection with people. If I read an article that serves them in some way, I'll remember who it was that I was talking about it with and send it on. I don't try to network, but that's how I go about my life. When I decided to leave college and university stuff, people were calling me. They said, "Sarah, would you come and be a keynote speaker for our student leadership conference for the state of Maine? Would you come, do a shadow consult, take a look at our design for our four-year leadership development program, tell us where you think the gaps are and how we could do it better? Sarah, would you come to do a workshop with our faculty to explain to faculty why student leadership is important and why student personnel people are not just handing out balls, bats and whistles and that we have an academic?"
Be in the presence of what's the next right thing to do.
I started doing that. My son, who lives in Jamaica Plain, had just turned one and I was like, "I'll do that." I'm a path of least resistance gal sometimes. That seemed like the aligned thing to do. People kept calling. I don't say this as a brag, I say it as a fact. I have never had to advertise. I've never cold-called. I've never done a lot of the other stuff. In the various groups that you and I run in, people were like, "What's your pipeline? What's this? What's that?" I'm like, "I don't know. I'm nice to people and they are nice to me back."
There's a thing that's coming up for me as you explained this. It's amazing. You often hear that success is when preparation meets opportunity. For you, it's like success is when preparation meets intuition and connection that's when this all comes together be. You've been driven by this but you also put a lot of effort into the preparation of becoming who you are. You make it seem so seamless, but there's a lot of effort that goes under all of this. You had to take the journey that got you here, the schooling, the work in the universities and knowing that this is not an easy road being in this industry as long as you have.
That launched that piece. Probably the next flashpoint is I had been doing things along and along, various degrees of part-time, three-quarter time. I have three kids as they're coming along. I decided to homeschool my kids, which was a purely intuitive matter. It felt like life or death at some level because my son was not having a good school experience and he's incredibly bright. The book had come out. All reasonable worldly indicators would be like, "This is the time you go on a book tour. This is the time that you get speaking engagements. This is the time that you do all these things." I said, "No, my kids need me." That felt like the aligned thing to do. I would not trade that journey for anything on the planet at all.
That takes a lot of guts. I'm encouraged to make that decision, when you write a book, especially the one that you wrote, which speaks a lot of research that you've had to do on your part. To go out and do that and then decide not to go out, speak about it and capitalize on that, you knew at that point what was important. You prioritized. It's hard for people.
That's been part of wonder of mine for years. In my assumption, that's the water you swim in. With my connection to source and intuition, decisions like that seem clear to me all my life. Think about high school. Who's dating who, what's what and all that stuff. My friends would say, "He's been mean to me. I know I shouldn't date him anymore." I'm like, "Next decision." They would waffle and go back. I'm looking at that going, "Why would you do that? You have very clear information that this is not good. Why are you doing that?" In hindsight, I can imagine being a peer of mine, looking at me saying, "Get lost." Going, "Where'd that come from?" I didn't know that everybody wasn't hearing and listening to things the way I was.
When you have that gift, it's hard to know that not everyone has it. It's not that they don't have it but they're not as in tune with it as you are. That's the interesting part of this. Something that I also start to see in the work that I do or the work that I see other people do is that you start to believe that everyone has the same thing. You're like, "If I say this, they already know that or do they know about the things that I know or the things that I can share with them?" Sometimes we hold ourselves back from sharing the things that we deeply know in fear of it being common knowledge. The reality is that it's not as common knowledge as you think.
I was having a conversation with a client who I experienced is very worldly and very tuned in. I said to her what I said to you. There are all these things but you can't screw this up. It is tied to a conversation about money and money being energy. She looked at me and she's like, "Where do you get this stuff?" I'm like, "You know that?" You're spot on. It is an invitation when I use that word purposefully. We are, you are, I am a living invitation to step in, to own your vibration and own what you know.
We're coming close to the end here and I wanted to give you a chance to share. I want to ask, what is one thing that you've learned about your journey that you want to share or that you feel is an important insight that you've had and you want to share with people on the show?
I do feel like the "you can't screw this up" message is deeply important. We spend as humans so much time parsing and dissecting every decision we make. Worrying about, "Is this the right thing? Is that the right thing?" There are so many messages from the culture we live in, the air we breathe, decide, you need white teeth, whatever it is. We all have access to this, but all of that is like a wet blanket on your campfire. We can smell the smoke. We know something's there, but it's hard to see the flame with that wet blanket over the top of it all.
Having grown up on a farm as I look back, my parents were both a little bit rebel-ish. They were not counter-culture in the way we typically think of them. Their message to all of us was you follow your lights. This whole peer pressure thing, it's not in this family. You do your own thing. That helped a lot. As I look at my kids who were homeschooled, the girls, in particular, went to traditional school in eighth grade. They would come home and say, "Mom, how come nobody likes Shakespeare? Why do I love Shakespeare and nobody else does?" I'm like, "You learned it naturally. We went to plays. We had it on tape. You didn't come into it with those human constructs of what's cool and what's not cool."
Follow your lights. Don't let yourself be pressured by others. You do your own thing.
They have become leaders in their rights, in their areas among their friends. They're like, "This is how I'm doing this. I don't know why you're not doing it this way." That's been powerful. You can't mess it up. At the times when you're riding high, it's good to know that even if you do something and stump your toe there will be another next thing. If you're low, you know I am being held by the source. I am funded by a source. Our job is not to make money. It's to receive money and be in the presence of what's the next right thing to do.
The source never speaks in the five-year plan. The cards shuffling continually mean that at any given moment, the information is constantly updating. Continuing to check-in and releasing the human, "I've already decided, so I better see it through." The source knows whether it's something to persevere about or whether it's something to shift and allowing that information to filter through and to discern to make space for it. By that, I mean anything from taking walks, morning pages, meditation and hot baths. There's no one right way. What feels good one morning doesn't have to feel good the next morning and you don't have to power through it.
There's something about what you're sharing that is waking up something in me around getting the why we're not as awake as we could be. The world is constantly trying to shape us in a certain direction. Because of the constant pressure for us to be a certain way, to act in a certain way, to conform in a certain way, the invitation for us to follow our intuition to dare greatly, to borrow from Brene Brown, is where it came from. To think that it's always being held back because people are afraid of going against that grain or going against what the norm is and what societal norms are. Intuition doesn't care or even respect what norms are.
Sometimes people think, "If you listen to intuition, you'll turn into a freak." Intuition knows what will keep you safe. It knows the scoop. It knows the deal. It's listening for that quiet voice. I even said to my teacher early on, it's like, "Have I wasted all these years not being tuned in?" She's like, "No. With how you lived your life, A, there's no way you could have messed it up and B, you are a trusted advisor to people who need this information. If you’d been wearing black eyeliner and purple silk since you were eighteen years old, they wouldn't trust you now. You are in a trusted position and they know that if you say something, you've given it thought. You've researched it. You've never led them down a primrose path. Why would you start because your source material is a little different?"
Sarah, this has been so powerful. I have one last question for you. I could talk to you for hours. What is one book or books that has had an impact on you and why?
There've been so many. I mentioned Winnie-the-Pooh. For me and my journey with my kids, that's been a gentle and powerful kind of reminder. Nobody kicks Eeyore out because he's sad. Nobody kicks Piglet out because he's anxious. It's a beautiful microcosm of loving, understanding, compassion and collaboration that I have loved. I'm going to trust my intuition on this. Another book popped to mind. I have looked for it as an adult and haven't been able to find it again. It was a book called War for the Lot.
It could have been one of those Reader's Digest send a book a month kind of thing. I don't know where it came from. The main character was a boy who could understand animal's thoughts and their communication. They realized that he could. They came to him to get help for some rats that were taking over a lot. It touched me so deeply that there was this possibility of other consciousness even as a kid. I don't know that I would have used the word consciousness, but there is this possibility, this potentiality. "If I get quiet enough, if I pay attention if I'm tuned in, what could I hear? What could happen?"
I don't know that I can fully understand what animals say or think. I know that my dog who passed away, I had a profound connection with her, a deep connection with her and what she wanted, especially at the end when she wanted it. I'm learning that with Topa, my new pup. Even so, my old dog from the spirit realm guided me to Topa. There was a choice between him and another dog. She was like, "That's the dog for you. Pick the easy one this time. I was the hard one. You deserve an easy one this time." It came flooding into me. The messaging was, "This is the dog you always saw inside of me. He lives it on the outside. He's gentle and friendly. You always knew I had that when nobody else saw it. Take this one." I tie that to that book. I hadn't thought of that book in a while until you asked me that question.
I'm grateful to do that for you. That's a beautiful sentiment. For the dog lovers out there or any pet lovers that had an experience like that before, you're not crazy.
Trust what you hear. Take small experiments if you want and test them out. You will find intuition is 100% reliable and 90% unpredictable. That makes it fun. Thank you for this time.
This has been fantastic, Sarah. This has been an honor to have you on. We've touched on so many beautiful things. Your story is amazing. I want to give people an opportunity to know where they can find out more about you. Where's the best place to reach out and learn more about you?
At this moment, it would be Leadership-Innovations.com. You can Google me. If you get information about a comedian in Chicago, that's not me. If you get information about an elderly artist in Louisiana, that's not me. Sarah C. Albritton and you'll find me.
Thank you again for coming to the show. Thank you audience for coming on the journey with us. I know you're leaving with some great insights and a better understanding of what intuition is all about. Thank you for the journey.
It's my pleasure. Thanks for having me. It's been fun.
About Sarah Albritton
I collaborate with leaders and their teams to engineer transformative leaps in their effectiveness; solving problems, removing obstacles, and accelerating performance. I'm a 20+ year veteran of the leadership consulting, team building, and executive coaching business. I've had the privilege of doing this work through my own company, Leadership Innovations Inc, as well as with the Center for Creative Leadership and Kaplan DeVries Inc in Greensboro, NC.
My clients tend to be mid to upper-level leaders and they come from around the world. With an undergraduate degree in Economics from Wake Forest University and a graduate degree in Educational Leadership from Florida State, I have spent my career blending pragmatic business sense with psychological insights.
I am the co-author of "I’m Not Crazy, I’m Just Not You!" an international top-selling book on MBTI/psychological type. It was first published in 1997, then revised and updated for a second edition published in 2010. It is currently available in English, Japanese and Arabic.
In 2014 I began a wonderful journey that is gratifying to this day. The work of Dr. Brené Brown intrigued and touched me deeply from the first TED talk and the "Gifts of Imperfection." I became certified in her Daring Way™ program in 2014, the Rising Strong™ curriculum in 2015, was invited to be a Master Facilitator for her Brave Leaders Inc in 2017, and most recently have become a Certified Dare To Lead Facilitator. What a trip, and my life is so much richer for it, personally and professionally.