Over the last month or so I have been in a very reflective mood; both personally and professionally. I’ve been questioning and searching for clarity on several matters. Not sure if you have ever experienced this kind of period in your life? Often only lasting a few days for me, this particular learning phrase (as I call it) has lasted a bit longer than I wanted it to.
Now being the ever-practical, action orientated girl that I am, this weekend I decided to work my way through it. I’ve been reading, listening, putting pen to paper and talking things through with my coaches/ confidants. I’ve engaged in a process of thinking.
Here is the process I went through and some of the tools I used. I thought this might be useful to some of you out there.
The #NRG Clarity Process
Remove Complexity – Firstly separate out the issues you are thinking about. Often multiple issues go round and round in our heads, getting all mixed together. Understand the individual issues down to fine detail. Get to the ‘route cause’ by asking yourself why 5 times.
Understand Deeply – Second, go through each of the issues 1 by 1 and understand them. Measure them against your why, purpose and passion. Focus on which area of your life they affect. Are they related to a skill, your attitude, your character? Or are they more psychological like love, safety and belonging. Write down what you know to be true, a fact. Be clear about your assumptions and little white lies you are telling yourself. Make a list of the things you don’t know. Write these down as questions to be answered later.
Discover the Future – Next, we move forward. Taking each issue individually start thinking about how the issue might resolve itself. What must happen for you to have clarity? What does the ideal future look like? What is the perfect day? What is the perfect end state? WARNING. Make sure the vision of the future you want is your vision. Sometimes we want to have something because of others. A status symbol, for example, might be something we think we want but it doesn’t make us happy.
Barriers Down – Last but one step review what is holding you back. What’s getting in your way. Fear, Time (Boundaries), Motivation, Knowledge? Why haven’t you been able to be clear on the issue thus far. Be honest with yourself.
Act - Finally agree on the action you are going to take to remove the barrier and push your activities forward.
Here are some of the tools/ideas I use in the process above when I need some clarity in my thought process.
Use mental models…a framework, concept etc. Something that gives you step by step instructions to move your thinking forward.
Be inspired by books, podcasts, radio interviews. Research around the subject.
Talk to others. Debate. Get the perspective of others.
Audit how you feel about the issue.
Write it down – Journal, draw, create something. Figure out how it feels when you write down the words. Try saying it out loud – how does it sound to you?
Move. Move to a new location/environment. Move your body.
Experiment. Try something new. A new activity, hobby, a new experience, a new food.
Do something monotonous and unrelated and see what pops into your mind.
Clarity does take time, but that time doesn’t have a speed. It could take a while, it could be super quick. The speed in which you work things out is down to the amount of engagement in the process you have. If you just let things go round and round in your mind, that will take longer. So next time you feel a lack of clarity, engagement more in a practical process.
Hope this helps.
Don’t forget I’m always on the email/phone if you ever need some help finding your clarity.