I spend a lot of time coaching others. I tend to start the conversation with some basic questions. Where do you want to be in a few years? Where are you now? What are the obstacles in your way from getting to where you want to be? What is the major obstacle? After doing this for years, I can conclusively say that most of us have no idea what we want, where we are going, or how we are going to get there. We lack clarity.
clarity breaks through the clutter…(Courtesy of flickr.com/creativecommons | Robert Meeks)
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Clarity is an odd thing. Most of the people I coach are paid for clarity. They help to make plans and implement them for their employers. Yet, most have no personal clarity or plan.
Five Ways to Get Clarity and Get Moving
1. Take Responsibility for Your Own Clarity.
It is not anyone else’s fault that you do not have clarity, it is yours. Clarity is a decision. If you do not have it, then I suggest you get it, else you are working toward the wrong goal.
Recently I was talking to a client who was working hard to move up in his company. He was working toward certifications and education that would help him move up. But, when I asked what he wanted to do and who he wanted to serve, it had nothing to do with his current job or industry. It was as if he was working to build a house in the wrong city.
2. Do it Now. Waiting is not an Option.
I often hear, “I am working to fund that business I want to start.” When I hear this, I always ask “What do you need to start?” The answer is always fuzzy. Often it is money, but when I ask how much, they have no idea. When I ask who they have talked to who is already in the business they want to pursue, most people tell me they have not talked to anyone with expertise in the business.
Get clarity and get on with it.
3. Forget about Your Past and Present.
When I ask others what they want to do, most tell me they want to move up in the company. After I dig a little, I can tell they have a little buyers remorse. They got a degree in a field which led them to a job in the field. Now with experience and a degree, the only option is to move up. But the digging often reveals they do not really want to be in this industry anymore – much less this job. You can hear it in their voice. It is dead and hollow with no energy or excitement about what they do, or their prospects for the future. When I finally get them to their true goal, it is as if the clouds have moved away. I can hear that excitement they lacked in their original plan. Your past does not define your future.
4. Think Five Years into the Future.
What does it look like. What do you want to be doing? Who do you want to be serving? How do you want to be impacting the world? Create a visual environment. Jack Canfield suggests making goals, and writing each goal on a notecard. Then daily read over the notecards visualizing what it will look like when you have accomplished the goal. Make the visual and vidid. This is similar to the strategy used by sports psychologists when they tell athletes to visualize themselves playing the game and perfectly performing their sport. If it works in sports, it will work for you.
5. Define the Obstacle to Success.
Obstacles are weird things. Usually I hear one of 3 obstacles – time, experience, or money. So, that leads me to ask “How much time, money, or experience? How do you know when you are there?” It is rare that they know.
Once you know the obstacle, you now know what to do. Deal with the obstacle. Go over it, around it, do whatever it takes. Once that obstacle is conquered, identify the next and move forward!
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