Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege and honour to deliver training workshops and coach individuals from over 18 countries. Some in person when I travelled to Australia, Russia and Germany; some over Skype to America and Spain.
While everyone has their own challenges and ambitions, what continues to strike me is the absolutely critical importance of CLARITY.
Clarity is at the heart of progress and achievement. When you have clarity, you (for the most part) can confidently march forward towards the result you’re after. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless but it does mean that there is a certain force of energy, focus, conviction or commitment directing your every step.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be painfully obvious when you lack clarity or feel like you have no clue on what you should do. You stop, get stuck and barely make any progress.
But the tougher, more challenging and more dangerous place is somewhere in the middle. You THINK you are clear, you ARE putting in the effort but the results are underwhelming-to-non-existent. It’s kind of like counterfeit money – it looks real, it feels real but using it too much can get you in serious trouble.
“Counterfeit” clarity applies equally to the small things – for example, prioritising your daily to-do list – as well as the big things such as the direction of your life, relationships and career.
You may start out ok but before long your momentum slows and more and more problems, hurdles, delays or distractions get in the way.
Can you relate to any of these?
- Poor time management, easily distracted, continually chasing new ideas and ‘dabbling’ in a lot of different things
- Not finishing what you’ve started
- Waiting for the perfect moment to begin…or continue
- Telling yourself “Tomorrow will be better to get started on that”
- Getting caught in circular thinking, continually debating the pros and cons of certain actions
- Repeatedly set goals and never achieve them
- Overwhelmed at what needs to get done
- Indecisive with little things and avoiding the ‘big’ things
A lack of clarity isn’t the result of these behaviours, it’s the CAUSE.
And as it happens to all of us at times, the cure isn’t to just make sure you get clear first, but rather to learn to spot the signals quickly and make a swift change of course.
What do you tend to do when you’re unclear?
For me, the signals I’ve come to know quite well are:
- Checking emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) way to frequently, especially when I’m not expecting anything of importance or urgency.
- Starting my day by reviewing emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) before I’ve even exercised or showered or had some food.
- Telling myself I need to switch to more important things or resolve a bigger problem yet continue to carry on dabbling in minor things.
When I eventually snap out of that trance and back to the things that matter most to me, I am reminded of three keys to getting clear:
1. As soon as you recognise you’re off track and not making the right progress, stop.
2. Immediately ask yourself four questions:
What is my real outcome in this situation? (or in the next ____ minutes/hours/days?)
Therefore, what must I stop doing right now?
What is the first action I can take to build momentum towards my outcome?
How good will I feel when I start to make progress?
3. Take that next step no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Don’t waste time debating whether it’s the right or wrong step. You just need to take action and move forward. You might learn it wasn’t the ‘right’ step but at least now you know and can adjust your approach even further.
Time and time again those three prove to be uber helpful and quickly shift focus, energy and momentum towards getting clear, and ultimately getting what you want.
And if you’re really stuck on HOW to get clear, you owe it to yourself to make ‘getting clear(er)’ your top priority. Ask a coach or mentor, search for a relevant blog or article online, speak to a friend or family member or ask us at ActionPodcast.
So start to recognise your signals more quickly and follow those exact steps.
You’ll be glad you did.
Let us know what your tricks for getting clear are and what you need to get clear on now by leaving a comment below.