Remember that childhood game, warmer/colder? You'd search for a hidden object while your friend who'd hidden the object told you if you were getting "warmer" or "colder" with each step. "Warmer" meant you were getting closer, and "colder" meant you were edging farther away. To succeed at the game, you had to follow the "warmer" prompts until you were right where you were supposed to be. My friend and I were discussing a career decision I had to make, and he asked me if either choice felt "warmer" or "colder" in relation to where I ultimately wanted to be. When I thought about it, one option clearly felt "warmer" -- that was where I needed to focus my attention. The other felt "colder" -- not the direction I wanted to be headed. That's when it clicked for me: warmer/colder is a great everyday gut-check for alignment with purpose.
I began to test out the warmer/colder question in little and big ways. Staying up late reading blogs? Colder, zapping my energy to focus on things that are really important to me. Reading a book on brain science? Warmer, exploring a new area of interest. Taking a consulting gig to do work unrelated to my studies? Colder, dragging me back into a way of working that doesn't work for me. Seeking out connections with new people and organizations? Warmer, though it feels risky and unknown.
This can be especially helpful in times of career transition and personal growth. You may feel like you have no clue of where you are going, but doing a warmer/colder check can provide you with some quick gut-level data as you move forward.