Why we need clarity in our lives: How having clarity helps us reach our goals
Updated: Jan 28
These past years, I have cultivated the habit of forgoing arbitrary new year resolutions and instead I’ve chosen a “guiding word”. Last year, my guiding word was “perspective”, and in different years prior I’ve used others like “learning” and “joy”. My annual word of choice is one that helps me to be more thoughtful in assessing what I really need out of life, and assists me in making decisions that will lead to higher performance, goal achievement and greater contentment in life. I try to be proactive in immersing myself in my guiding word throughout the year, checking in regularly to see if I’m being honorable to it.
For the year 2020, I want to achieve 20/20 vision (pun intended) in regard to what this year and the next decade will be like for me. So, my guiding word is “clarity.” Clarity to me, is ensuring that I’m very clear and sure about what I’m doing, how I’m doing it and why I am doing it.
In the year ahead I want to be more purposeful and have clarity about why something is or is not important to me, and to have deep conviction about what matters most to me, my family and my customers. I then want to be very clear on how and where I spend my time, energy and money in accordance with that.
I also want to regularly step back and look at life and things with a short-, medium-, and long-term lens, so I have greater clarity about how the little and big picture come together for me. Understanding of course, that there will be many unforeseen opportunities and challenges ahead, that I may or may not be able to control and may or may not choose to pursue.
Why do I/we need clarity?
Seeking out and gaining greater clarity in the different (and also sometimes integrated) areas of your life and work, can deliver many important things, such as a better idea about who you are and what gives you purpose and satisfaction, as well as an ability to prioritise and better communicate your needs.
Better clarity certainly enables me to develop more tangible strategies and build the right plans to stay on course and achieve my goals. Asking clarifying questions of myself and others, also helps me to align my wants and needs, consider the application of limited resources and then focuses me more fully on the outcomes that I seek. When I have clarity, I tend to procrastinate less and have better distraction control, I make the harder bolder decisions, and I’m more energized and efficient – hence why I want more of it this year! I know better and more sustainable performance will come – for me and my team – with greater clarity. I also know that there is less frustration, confusion and stress when there is greater clarity. So I’m excited about it.
How do we gain more clarity?
Put simply, ask yourself more questions and be prepared to make decisions that align with the answers, and ultimately the outcomes you want to achieve!
We live in a world that cheers people on for going a hundred miles a minute in multiple directions…but does that sustainably deliver the right results? Well first of all you need to know what results you are after.
This year I’m keen to ensure that my time and effort is going to all the right places to deliver the right results for me, so I’ll be regularly pausing to ask myself questions such as:
What does success look like to me?
What are the 3-5 most important things to me right now? What do I think those things will be over the medium-long term horizon?
What is the one or two things I’d like to change?
If things were ideal, what would they look like?
What specifically am I trying to achieve with this work? What steps/phases might be necessary?
What value can I bring to this work, what value will this work bring to me?
What are the three most important things in this work?
Does this need to be A+ or would a B be ok?
Is this the most important thing I should be doing right now/today?
Do I need to do this myself? Do I need any extra help or resources?
Is this strategic or tactical, necessary or just desirable?
Where do I want to be by the end of the week/month?
What can I control, what can I not control?
What is the best path I can take with current uncertainty?
Is this the best way for me to spend my time and energy?
What worked for me in the past in this area, and what did not?
What do my partners and customers expect?
What and who should I communicate with about this?
Does this bring me joy?
Am I using my strengths effectively here?
Will I learn and grow through this experience?
Can I do this more simply?
How does this fit into the bigger picture?
How do I want and not want to feel?
Would I regret not doing this in 5 years’ time?
Have I been effective today or just busy being busy?
Clarity leads to better outcomes and greater life satisfaction
It’s a long and incomplete list of questions, but not all these questions need to be asked all the time. Of course, if you get your big picture ‘macro’ clarity first, then it’s much quicker and easier to get the ‘micro’ questions right. There will be times when you don’t or won’t immediately know the right answer, and only patient contemplation and further enquiry will unlock that for you.
I’ve recently taken the time to think about what I want from the year ahead and the direction I want my life to take in the coming decade, and I now feel better setup to ask myself the more focused daily/task orientated questions that I regularly should. I’m sure if I seek more clarity, I will be able to achieve significantly more and will enjoy life to the fullest in the years ahead!
Christine Kane said, “There is nothing quite as intense as the moment of clarity when you suddenly see what’s really possible for you”. Even more satisfying, is the process of achieving it!
I’d love to hear how ‘clarity’ has helped you achieve better outcomes in your life?
Alisa Camplin is an Olympic Gold Medalist, in-demand Keynote Speaker, Corporate Ambassador, and Human Performance Consultant who delivers results-driven Resilience and Human Performance Training and Development Programs. Connect with Alisa.