The Intangible Cost of Clarity
You know that feeling. It’s not that you are afraid to do the right thing. You just don’t know what it is. If you could only get some clarity and see what needs to happen next, you would do it. We are in a world of unprecedented change and seemingly unending options, and clarity is a necessity for moving forward. How do we ever see our way clear to a solid next step?Fortunately, there are some simple actions and mental adjustments you can make that will help you bring some clarity and certainty into your situation. They will give you direction, and help you lead your team.Take charge of your own clarity. Sitting around, waiting for someone else to make it clear to you will never get the job done. Not deciding is a decision, a decision to stay stuck and unclear. It’s good to have an open spirit toward ideas and options, but if you remain endlessly open to different options, all you will have is confusion. Decide that you have to get clarity and quit endlessly pondering. “Call for the question” on yourself.Quit the clarity killing habits that sabotage your efforts. We have mindless habits that keep us fuzzy and confused.
Spending too much time with aimless people, people whose values do not mesh with your own
Complaining that you just don’t what to do
Distracting yourself and wasting time with TV, video-games, endless social media, and internet surfing
Overstimulating from caffeine
Numbing and dumbing your mind with excess food, junk food, alcohol, and addictions
Boost your clarity by introducing new habits and patterns into your life. Seek out clear, focused, forward-moving people who share your values. Stimulate your mind with inspirational, motivational books and podcasts. Only put good things in your body in appropriate quantities. Avoid stimulants that cause mood swings and interfere with mind focus and alertness. Think regularly about your goals and possible next steps.Review the times you have had clarity and learn from them. You don’t always lack clarity. That’s why you are where you are. Sometimes you have known what to do, and you have done it. When you were clear and sure of yourself, what did you do that helped you? Did you write out pros and cons? Did you talk to a trusted advisor? It seems too simple to be helpful, but this is a key to getting it right more often. Think about your times of great clarity, and when you remember what were the attitudes and actions you took that helped you, repeat them. When you remember, who decreased your confusion and who increased it, use that information in your new situation.Ask for help. Ask someone who is clear about their personal direction and future to help you. Remember that wisdom is only as wise and good as it’s source. Careful selection is wise. An enthusiastic but inexperienced friend may make you feel good and pump you up, but once the short high wears off, leave you more confused than clear. It is generally better to consult with an unbiased outsider to your situation than someone who stands to benefit from a decision you make.Just remember, though, regardless of what advice you receive you are still 100% responsible for your own clarity and decisions. Good counselors can help you gather information and validate good choices, but they cannot create your direction or clarity.Put your decisions and goals on paper and review them daily. Charles Schwab, president of Bethlehem Steel, wanted to increase his own efficiency, and of the management team at the steel company. Ivy Lee, a well-known efficiency expert of the time, approached Mr. Schwab, and made a proposition Charles Schwab could not refuse: Ivy Lee: “I can increase your people’s efficiency – and your sales – if you will allow me to spend fifteen minutes with each of your executives.” Charles Schwab: “How much will it cost me?” Ivy Lee: “Nothing, unless it works. After three months, you can send me a check for whatever you feel it’s worth to you.” Charles Schwab: “It’s a deal.”The idea that came back was simple. Every day, review your written goals and compile a to-do list from it, and then work that list. After 90-days Charles Schwab sent Ivy Lee a check for $ 25,000. Sounds so simple, but it was worth more than $25,000 and it will be to you as well.