Five years ago, my recipe for success was willpower, determination, and commitment. I would push through obstacles, work myself to the bone, and then pride myself on never giving up.
Have you ever made muffins and had them turn out less than satisfying? After taking a bite, you look at the recipe and you’re certain you followed it precisely. So you toss the recipe out. You know it’s not worth your time and energy to try it again. The ingredients and the process simply didn’t give you the results you desired. I wish I could say my success journey has been that simple.
The reality: I kept carrying out the same recipe, over and over again, even though the results kept turning out less than stellar. I was certain it was because I was doing something wrong, not because the recipe was innately flawed. Then I began to wonder: Is willpower even on the same wavelength as success? If you’re truly satisfied, enjoying the process of your journey as well as the results, do you have to muster up willpower or determination? Wouldn’t enthusiasm be a more logical match to sustainable success and satisfaction?
I realized that commitment is vital. However, what must come first is the awareness of what you’re committed to and why. That’s true clarity, the kind of clarity that moves mountains, inspires millions, serves up solutions, opens doors, and opens your heart to a whole new joyful way of living.
This form of clarity is potent and powerful. It allows you to move through life with a sense of commitment and flexibility, precision and peace, confidence and compassion. It saves you time. It saves you money. It saves you heartache. So how do you tap into the powerful currency of clarity?
First, You Must Acknowledge Where You Won’t Find It.
“Root-level clarity never comes from experience.” This is a myth perpetuated in our society by ideas like taking general education classes in college will help you decide on a satisfying life path, or traveling the world will help you find yourself. If more experiences always resulted in more clarity, then everyone who has lived long and experienced much would be rocking life. Look around. That’s simply not the case.
This myth has put the proverbial cart before the horse. Experience does not consistently result in clarity. But experience aligned with clarity equals magic! So where does true clarity come from?
You Are the Source of Your Clarity.
The fastest way to tap into clarity is to ask questions that will help you focus on the essence of what you want. Most people go right into specifics without ever contemplating the essence. In fact, our society seems to believe that having specifics sorted out means a person is clear about their path. That’s why we typically ask high school graduates what they’re planning on doing, but we rarely ask them why the path excites them. This three-question series is one of the quickest ways to access root-level clarity:
1. What about your life right now is bothering you?
2. What do you think would have to change to resolve these issues?
3. How would you feel if those changes occurred?
The first question gives you permission to vent. It helps you get clear on what’s unwanted. The second question helps you shift your focus from what you don’t want to what you do want. While that’s a powerful shift, don’t stop there. Answering the third question is where your root-level clarity and untapped power lies. Getting clear on how you want to feel is the fastest way to get clear on what it is you really want—and it’s the best way to increase your chances of actually attaining it. So how do you move forward from here?
When Making Decisions, Always Think: Essence First, Specifics Second.
I asked a young person who had just turned 16 how she felt about starting her junior year of high school. Our conversation naturally led to her plans after graduating. “What do you want your life to be about?” I asked her. She answered with specifics, explaining that she planned to become a nurse. I asked her why.
“I don’t know,” she answered, shrugging her shoulders. “I could probably work with kids. I like kids.”
I kept probing. Eventually, she told me she loved the idea that as a nurse, she’d make enough money to support herself and that she could travel anywhere and find a job. Bingo!
“So it sounds like nursing is calling your name right now because you love the idea of freedom and independence?” I reflected back to her.
That’s when our conversation got juicy. We started brainstorming all the other career paths that also align with freedom and independence. There were a lot! She began to realize that certain aspects of becoming a nurse didn’t align well with freedom and independence; others aligned better.
She could have spent four years in college and an untold number of years on the job only to eventually realize that this career path wasn’t for her. Now she didn’t have to because she got clear on the essence of what she wanted and aligned the specifics accordingly.
That’s the power of clarity. It saves time. It saves money. It saves heartache. It allows you to let go of willpower and determination as ingredients in your recipe for success, and instead to add enthusiasm and satisfaction. It ensures your endeavors are worthy of your time and energy. It honors the sacredness of commitment.