Being in the (joyful) throes of building a business, I have been giving a good deal of thought to how clarity extends beyond speech and writing, and how it applies to goals in a larger sense. Without a clear sense of direction, you might as well be wandering around in the dark with a pair of oven mitts on: if you don’t set yourself up to know where you’re going, you won’t know it when you come across it (either seeing it or feeling it). Daily, I am tweaking what I want to do with my life, where I want my practice to go, and what the big-picture to-do’s on my life list are… this constant process of refining and deciding and directing my decisions with a lot of intention are all in the name of clarity: a roadmap to making them happen, if you will.
And it’s not always easy! There are always those little monsters of self-doubt that jump out and try to talk you in another direction because their way would be easier or less stressful or less challenging. But with clarity of purpose comes the added bonus of understanding – at the most basic level – why the direction you’re heading in is the right one. Clarity and concision are the way to defeat those little monsters of self-doubt: they aren’t strong enough to stand up to a really purposeful set of intentions when you know what you’re striving for and why.
Coincidentally, Michael and I were at an info session for Columbia University’s MBA program today and I read, in one of their admissions guidebooks, that they set their students up to “…identify, capture, and create opportunity”.
Well isn’t that proactive! I love it! Identifying the opportunities that fit with your goals requires clarity of purpose; capturing them requires a clear sense of why you want that particular thing (and why it’s worth the effort to chase it down); and creating opportunities requires identifying which doors to open for yourself and to get where you want to be.
Simple, no? Identify. Capture. Create.
Goals require clarity just like communicating does: if you start a sentence without knowing where it’s going, you’ll trail off… or become confused… or forget what you were saying. If you set goals for yourself or begin a project without clarity, it’s just as easy to forget where you’re going, and even easier to just stop trying to get there.
For me, these goals feel just like speaking and it’s all about efficient communication with myself. Instead of always having to go back to the beginning of my sentences, I need to remember to line up my subjects, verbs, and objects exactly where I want them before I even begin to speak.
*photo credit: marcandangel.com -- they have a great post up about exploiting bursts of clarity! check it out! http://www.marcandangel.com/2008/04/13/9-effective-ways-to-exploit-a-sudden-burst-of-clarity/