044: Discovering your Purpose as an HSP with Willow McIntosh

Willow McIntosh

As HSPs we have an advantage when it comes to discovering our purpose. Our ability to process the world at a deeper level allows us particular abilities. These abilities are intended and why the trait naturally occurs in 20% of the population.

The way in which we each process the world from a sensory point of view is unique to each of us, yet it is happening for a reason. A reason that is linked to areas of life we each care deeply about.

By exploring what matters to us most and considering how we have had particular callings since we were children, helps us to see how our sensory perception is actually designed to serves them. It is through this inquiry that we can begin to reveal innate areas of competence and how we can serve the world in a way that is deeply fulfilling. This in turn is how we can each find our area of interest and how this begins to reveal our purpose.

In this episode with Willow McIntosh, we discuss all of this and more.

Willow McIntosh is the founder of Inluminance and creator of the High Sensory Coaching Program. Unique circumstances during Willow’s childhood lead to the burying of his authentic self and complete misalignment to the work he was destined for. He began to carve his own path into understanding how people with sensory processing sensitivity can learn to use their genetic traits to their advantage. As an adult this lead to a lifelong enquiry and practise into learning powerful energetic alignment techniques to re-engage with the authentic self.

Willow believes that all people with the trait have the ability to tap into a unique skill that draws on a deeper sensory perception. Founded in their own life experience and self development they have the capacity to facilitate great transformation and development in others. Willow is on a mission to awaken us to the responsibility we have to utilise the abilities it affords in business, governments and leadership.

Having successfully facilitated the development of seven figure businesses Willow’s practise has taken him all over the world. Speaking internationally, training in a broad range of fields and facilitating others for more than twenty years. Willow now specialises in facilitating people with the trait to activate them into service in alignment with their gifts and purpose as highly skilled coaches, facilitators, consultants and healers.

💝 Key Takeaways

  • How being an HSP give us an advantage when it comes to discovering our purpose.
  • Examples of the unique abilities that we as HSPs possess, that can help us in this process.
  • As HSPs we often have callings from childhood that are linked to our purpose. Willow shares how someone might identify these callings in their own life.
  • If you are still searching for your purpose, discover how you can begin to take steps towards finding it.
  • Challenges that HSPs in particular can face when it comes to discovering our purpose, and how can we overcome them.
  • How HSPs can use our unique perspective to make a positive impact in the world.

🔗 Where You Can Find Willow

Click here to find out more about Training to become a High Sensory Coach.
If you scroll to the bottom of the page you can book an obligation free, discovery call with Willow

🌹 Rose’s Resources

📖 (Imperfect) Transcript

We use Descript to provide this transcript which isn’t always perfect but wonderful all the same. (affiliate link 😃)

Rose: Hey, it’s Rose and welcome to another episode of the Sensitive CEO Show.

And in this week’s episode, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to my good friend Willow McIntosh. Willow is the founder of Illuminance and creator of the High Sensory Coaching Program. Welcome Willow. It’s wonderful to talk with you again.

Willow: Hi Rose, so good to be here. Thank you very much for having me on your wonderful podcast.

Rose: Oh, thank you. And before we hit record, we were just catching up because it had been a while since we’ve spoken. In fact, the last time was when you very kindly interviewed me for my summit that I held, last, last year.

Yeah, last year it was 2022. And yeah, you were very generous in interviewing me, but that’s the last time we’ve even spoken.

Willow: I know, I know. Time flies by. It really does. And yeah, it was wonderful to speak with you about that. Because, you know, you have such experience in these things. So, I really enjoyed that conversation.

But, yeah, it’s been a while. So great to catch up.

Rose: Yeah, you too. And I love the topic that we’re talking about today, which is all around discovering your purpose as an HSP. So I guess the first question I’d love to ask you, Willow, is how does being an HSP give us an advantage when it comes to discovering our purpose?

Willow: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a, it’s a great question, for us as, as high sensory people we’re, because we’re processing the world more deeply, which is obviously, you know the main part of the trait that, that we’re all very used to enjoying and sometimes being challenged by. Our purpose is actually, is actually tied to how we’re doing that.

And whilst all people are very, you know, passionate and very keen to find out what their purpose is, As high sensory people. This actually gives us an advantage in discovering that because there’s going to be an area of life that has always fascinated us and interested us, and actually the way that we are processing the world more deeply, it works in alignment with that.

So once we start to explore and inquire into what’s always fascinated us, what really matters to us about a particular area of life. We come to discover that the way we are processing more information is actually in partnership and relationship with that. So we get, we have these pieces that we can put together to reveal the picture of our purpose.

Rose: Wow. Brilliant. And I, I know that you talk about as HSPs, we often have callings from our childhood that are linked to a purpose. Can you give an example of how someone might identify these callings in their own life?

Willow: Yes, absolutely. So, when we’re children, we’re actually. We are actually experiencing the world in it through the lens of our purpose.

And, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t necessarily feel like that when we are younger and sometimes it’s quite difficult to remember that. But when we’re children, we tend to be. Very aware of a particular area of life that really interests us. So, for instance, if someone is, if someone’s purpose is around wellbeing and being in good health.

What we start, what, what will happening as a child is we will be noticing the balance and the imbalance of wellbeing. We may not have the language for it as a child, but we will be interested in how our own bodies are feeling. We might notice if someone feels, if someone seems particularly lethargic in front of us or they seem to be filled with vitality.

There’s gonna be an interest in whether someone is in good health or not in good health. And what tends to happen is we follow a path sometimes unconsciously that is actually training us and leading us along this. along this path of wellbeing or, or along an inquiry of wellbeing. And that doesn’t go away.

As we get older, we’re often challenged in the area that interests us, but it’s an experience in our childhood that is very important to us. And, and we can recollect this with the right facilitation or the right inquiry, and that then begins to give us these pieces.

Rose: I love that. And when, when you say childhood, what, what sort of age up to like, could this sort of go into late teens, even early twenties?

Willow: Yes, I think when we are younger, we, you know, when we’re kind of almost five to 12 in that period, we are really quite immersed in it. And again, we don’t really realize that’s what’s happening. Especially as high sensory people, because we’re, we are processing a much bigger picture of the world around us in that.

Five year, seven year period. Sorry. we are, we are really immersed in it. And then as it, as it comes to 12, when we come into the teenage years, because life really starts to take over. We’re obviously, you know, going to puberty. We’re developing, we’re figuring out our identity and all these things, that’s when everything starts to get clouded and we start to be affected much more by our conditioning.

And then, and then as we come into our twenties, it’s, it’s, it’s usual that we’ve kind of lost contact with it. And, and the reason I say that is, For most of us as high sensory people, we typically don’t get the training that we need. Really in our early development, where someone says to us, listen, you are processing the world more deeply.

You are seeing things in a different way. There’s great value in that. It’s important that you pursue that and inquire more into the area of life that interests you, because that doesn’t really happen for us. As I said, I think it’s probably happening more now. What happens is we tend to repress and forget these higher sensory experiences, and then they tend to sit in remission.

Rose: And what about if someone is still searching for their purpose? Which I’m sure is quite common actually. I think that one of life’s purposes is to find our purpose. I dunno if you agree on that, but, oh yeah. But for someone who’s still searching, how could they begin to take steps towards finding it?

Willow: Yes. I agree. I think it is one of the greatest endeavors that all of us are trying to figure out and, and as high sensory people. What’s interesting is, in all the work that I’ve done over the years facilitating high sensory people in, in this area. Is that we tend to be hugely passionate about a particular cause in the world.

Now you could, you, you can absolutely say that about all people, but as high sensory people, we tend to care deeply. It tends to be a part of our nature and that is often linked with an area of life that has always mattered to us. So for anyone listening, if you’re thinking, wow, you know, I, I really feel like I don’t know what my purpose is and I, I, you know, I’d love to, to explore that.

The place to start is to, is to ask yourself what fascinates you? What is this? Cause that always seems to have been with you as high sensory people. We care a lot about the ecology, equality. we care a lot about the balance and the healing of the planet. It doesn’t necessarily mean that all of us, all of our purpose lies in that area, but it, it’s, it’s an opportunity or an invitation, should I say, to think about what is the area of life that I always want to talk about, the area of life that has always, you know, been nagging at me that I want to explore more or I want to do something about, and that often occurs to us as an imbalance. We have a sense that there is something in the world that needs help and it kind of needs our help. It doesn’t mean necessarily that we are here to fix the world, as in the whole thing. That obviously feels hugely overwhelming, but we are here to play a role in. In recreating balance in a particular area, and that starts to reveal our purpose.

So, you know, is it career? Is it personal relationships? Is it personal development? Is it ecology? What is that conversation you love to have with your friends? The conversation that you are always having with yourself, and that will begin to piece these things together.

Rose: I love that. And how can HSPs or high sensory people use the unique perspective to make a positive impact in the world?

I know we can’t change the world as much as we’d love to, but what are some ways we could make a positive impact from our perspective?

Willow: Yeah, absolutely. And our perspective, our sensory awareness as I like to call it, this is so important for us to take ownership of this. What I mean by that is how we are experiencing the world, is directly linked with our purpose and it’s really where our value is.

So for many of us, because we are quite young, really as as a race in figuring out what this purpose is. Much of the time we can feel like it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a challenge. You know, we seem to get overwhelmed easily. We need much more self-care. We seem to be, you know, overly reactive emotionally, and sometimes it feels like we’ve just, we’re just carrying a burden.

But the truth of the matter is, this trait has been in the human race. They think all the way from the beginning in the, in the, even in the, in the, the early man times, it was used as a warning system to help raise awareness of, of threats in the, in the vicinity. . So now, now that it’s been in, you know, they say it’s now 30% of the population, what’s really important to recognize is, is this, this trait is intended.

And, and the way our sensory awareness is working, the way our perspective is working, that is intended, it’s supposed to be operating. So when it comes to our purpose and linking this sensory awareness piece, what’s really important is to recognize that the way that we are processing more deeply, the way that we’re getting a bigger picture, that’s happening in, in a particular theme. It’s happening in a particular flavor if you like it. It’s focused on a particular area of life. So by getting really interested about that, you know, what do I tend to think more deeply about? What do I tend to notice more? When I’m sitting in a room full of people, where does my focus go?

When people come to me for advice and help, where does my attention go? What’s the information that I intuitively know how to gather? . That’s how we can then start to see, ah, okay, it’s designed to work in this area.

Rose: And I guess it starts to make us feel really good as well because we feel that we are making that positive impact and really helping people.

Willow: Absolutely, absolutely. That, that changes everything for us. It reframes everything, you know, where we sometimes feel that we’re, we are different and we’re not sure how we fit in. We are aware that we have different needs and, you know, different interests than other people. And sometimes that can make us feel like an outcast.

But actually what’s really important is to recognize that we’re supposed to be seeing things differently. We’re supposed to be feeling differently and, and. And once we own that and realize the value of that, then we realize just how, how well we fit in and just how important our belonging and sense of meaning is.

Rose: I’d love to talk a little bit about the challenges. Are there any particular challenges as HSPs that we might face when it comes to discovering our purpose? And if so, have you got any tips on how to overcome them Willow?

Willow: That’s a great question. Yes. What I tend to find is as we are figuring these pieces out, we suddenly realize that if we start talking about it or we start being that in the world, it means that we are gonna be seen at.

A deeper level we’re, we’re actually gonna be seen for who we really are. And that can be very challenging for us. We are not used to that. We tend to spend much of our energy hiding our sensitivity, which is a lot of, As I, as, as I understand it, it one of the reasons that we tend to be perfectionists as high sensory people is it’s less likely that people are going to dig too deep into what we’re up to because we have this sense of order around us.

In other words, we’ve got everything straight, so it’s less likely we’re gonna figure out that we’re, we’re actually, we’re seeing the world very differently. So, this can be one of the challenges, you know, if, if we go back to the example of wellbeing, it, it, we, when we get further into that inquiry, we suddenly figure out how much this matters to us.

That we really care about wellbeing and people being on track from a, from a health point of view, but also in terms of their own purpose, their own career. And what happens is we start to realize that we’re actually really good at that because of our high sensitivity, we’re able to read people very deeply.

We’re able to connect things really down to an energetic level, and once we get this information, sometimes what can happen is like, well, how on earth do I talk about this? you know, how do I articulate this in a way that people are gonna understand? So, my recommendation here is to go baby steps.

To not feel like you have to announce it to everyone in the supermarket. Now you’ve figured out your purpose or, you know, to start talking it around the, you know, the dinner table with, with family or friends at home. My recommendation is to be very gentle with yourself and just imagine that you’ve planted a sapling that’s new, and that little sapling needs sunlight.

It needs love, it needs water, it needs nutrition. And just let that grow a little bit. Talk about your purpose and your findings with other high sensory people who are on the same path. Who understand the needs and the challenges that you are going through. And what will happen is that little seedling will take root and it’ll get a bit stronger and it’ll grow.

And, as you get used to experiencing yourself in action with your purpose, eventually you’ll be much stronger within it, and it will, you won’t be so thrown, you know, if people start asking questions or challenging you a little bit.

Rose: I love the analogy of the sapling and baby steps. It just makes so much sense and it feels more easeful.

Willow: Absolutely. Yes, absolutely. And, it really does get easier. It really does. It’s, it’s, it’s almost like discovering a hidden ability. And, the thing is, our minds are designed to keep us safe. So if we. If we discover something new about ourselves, even though it’s been with us all of our lives, or we suddenly realize that now it’s time to do something about that our minds will do their best to keep us safe, and that often means not taking action, not making any changes.

And that becomes very painful for us because we feel stuck. But, the way through that is through these little baby steps. What you are doing is you are very gradually giving yourself the right circumstances to witness yourself in action. So for instance, if you are passionate about coaching. Let’s say in wellbeing, you want to coach people in, in wellbeing.

As you start to have conversations with people about wellbeing and you start to do practice sessions, what happens is you suddenly realize, wow, actually I, I know what I’m doing. Intuitively I can sense where the blocks are. I know, you know, How, you know, how wellbeing operates in people. Once you start to witness that, that is what breaks down the false beliefs.

That’s when the mind stops pestering us so much because we show ourselves that we’re actually very good at it, and that really helps to overcome these, sort of mental challenges.

Rose: So looking into the future now, Willow, imagine you’ve got a Crystal ball. Where do you see the conversation around discovering purpose and the role of high sensory people in this process heading in the next, say, five or 10 years?

Willow: Yes. Do you mean, do you mean our relationship with purpose as high century people? How that might evolve?

Rose: Yes exactly. Yeah.

Willow: Yes. I think what’s coming is because there’s so much focus on the trait at the moment. So many people are coming forward. There’s, you know, there’s so many people such as yourself running amazing podcasts and services for high sensory people.

I think what’s happening is the trait is getting a lot more attention and we’re starting to. Realize the importance of it. And I think what’s gonna happen in the next decade or so is that the partnership between high sensory people and non-high sensory people in the world is going to become stronger, which is exactly what the trait is intended to do.

In other words, we are supposed to be in a symbiotic relationship with non-high sensory people to achieve common vision and common goals. . This is really gonna help us because we are gonna understand our value much more and the non-high sensory world is gonna realize that there is this very important asset that they have that can work in conjunction with each other.

So I think as we, as this begins to happen, we are going to be more focused, I think, on, on training and supporting our own high sensory children, the generations to come about recognizing the trait early and helping our children to recognize the strengths, the abilities, and their purpose and, and start to take that more seriously and develop that.

And I think. We are going to awaken more to the purpose of the high sensory trait in the genome.

Rose: Oh, I love the exciting times ahead. I can really feel that too.

Willow: Yeah. Wonderful. You can, yeah. You’re noticing that too?

Rose:. Yeah. When you’re explaining that it just sounded, yes. That just sounds definitely the way the world’s going.

It’s very exciting for us.

Willow: I think it really is. I think it really is, especially in leadership. You know, we’re, we’re, we’re very good at, you know, when it comes to empathic leadership and seeing the bigger picture of things, understanding how people are feeling, whether people are feeling honored and, you know, encouraged and aligned.

We’re, we’re very good at,you know, in, in those leadership roles and training in leadership. So I think that’s gonna make a big difference too. Is exciting.

Rose: Yeah, very. Well before I let you go today, Willow, I ask all of my podcast guests this question. When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Willow: That’s a great question. When I feel, feel overwhelmed or unfocused, I tend to stop what I’m doing. And I have a few things that I want to. So first of all, I check to see if I’m hungry. That’s one main thing for me, I have to keep my protein levels high and I tend to eat little and often. So if my blood sugar gets low, that.

Definitely affects my overwhelm and my focus. So that’s my first go-to. So I try to eat very healthily and I try and I eat, as I say regularly. The other thing that I do is I, I, I know that I need to shift my state. So I will take time to go for a walk if I need to. I love to get in the sea.

Getting in the ocean for me completely resets me. I love to free dive and that really, really helps me. Or I jump on my bike and I’ll go for a little adventure somewhere. And what I find happens is really within the first few minutes, I can go for a walk for 10 minutes if I’m very rushed or busy. If I do one of these things, I don’t need to do it for very long and it can, it can entirely change my state and it, and it tends to re energize me being in nature does that, or sometimes I may need to power now, so I might lay down and again, if I just.

Switch off for 10 minutes, and even if I can’t go to sleep, what I do is I center all of my awareness into my core, and I just allow my, my awareness to, to sink almost like a, a, a bath emptying where my awareness is just draining very, very gradually down through my body. And I do that in bed under the duvet in complete blackness sometimes, you know, if it’s.

I can’t get it dark. I’ll put something over my eyes.  And I just completely sink all the way into my core and, and that works miracles for me. It completely resets my overwhelm.

Rose: Oh, I love, I love all of those things and I can, I can actually, I just feel really nurtured when you’re talking about being under the duvet and picturing your eye mask on and just sinking in.

That’s just beautiful.

Willow: Yeah. Somehow, it really seems to work. As I’m highly creative, you know, like me, my mind is racing so much of the. Yeah, so I just switch that off, you know, no matter what I’m focusing on or doing, no matter how urgent it is, I just literally reboot that way and it works wonders.

Rose: Wonderful. Well, it’s been lovely to talk with you again today, Willow, and as always, I could chat to you forever, but where can people find you if they want to find out more about your program?

Willow: Yeah. Thank you. The best way to find us is if you type in high sensory intelligence.com and that will take you to our website.

We have a program that we run a three month program, which is actually called the Coaching Program, but it is very much designed to reveal your natural methodology, which is your purpose. So people come onto the program sometimes wanting to become a coach, but then realize they’re actually here to do something very different.

And the program’s designed to do that. It’s designed to reveal the truth of who you are. So that’s, you know, very much, an invitation. If that sounds of interest, you can go onto the website and select, book a call. You can book a discovery call with me and I can just talk with you, see if it may be of any benefit and obligation of course.

And, and I’d love to hear from you.

Rose: Wonderful, and I will pop the link in the show notes. So if anyone’s interested, I highly recommend it. I went through this program about two years ago now. Is that right, Willow? It’s a while ago. Yes. Yeah. But yeah, I highly, highly recommend it. So I’ll pop all of that in the show notes.

And thank you again, Willow, wonderful to talk with you.

Willow: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

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  1. Thank you for the transcript! It helps me so much as I follow the text while listening and that is great for my learning style. Thank you! Great info from Willow as always.

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