Have you had this experience? You’re traveling in a new city, using your GPS to find your destination. But the route doesn’t seem to match reality. Suddenly, you’re in a strange place with cars buzzing by and no clarity about where to turn next.
How do you get where you want to go? Maybe you’re unsure about your plan, you’re not sure what to do, and it looks like your competition is flying by, leaving you in the dust.
Every leader faces this at one time or another. In fact, one of the top three challenges we face, according to my reader survey, is not having enough clarity to accomplish our goals.
So how can we find the clarity we need? It’s simpler than you might think.
A few years ago, I went through a period when I was second-guessing my brand direction and my entire mission. Getting a renewed sense of clarity was instrumental in the new blog redesign, and it really helped me grow my business.
What did I do to find my footing? Here’s the simple, five-step process that helped me regain my clarity and move forward.
- Admit I am confused. It’s easy to deny when we’re directionless. We want to project confidence even when we don’t feel it. So it’s hard to admit we’re missing something. But that’s the first step toward clarity: admitting we don’t have it.My business had grown, and my focus was shifting along with it. It was a huge blessing, but expansion sometimes comes with confusion. When I admitted that I needed renewed clarity, I was ready—and able—to find it.
- Ask my advisors for input. I am a firm believer in what Solomon says: “Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.”When I first started sharing my problem with my closest friends and colleagues, I received invaluable insight about the direction I should go. It wasn’t all rah-rah. I received both confirmation and pushback. But what emerged from the give-and-take was a clear sense of my message and mission.
- Solicit my tribe’s feedback. I now wanted to see how that fit with my readers. As leaders, we don’t serve ourselves. If people are coming to me for help, my desire is to connect what I do as closely as I can to that need.The word they kept using to describe what I do was mentor. The great thing was that this validated what I was hearing from my advisors. I was on the right course.
- Process the feedback. Now that I had feedback from the sources that matter most I needed to process it. Part of that process was to get alone, reflect, and journal. But I also included the core members of my team and Donald Miller’s StoryBrand team.As I described in my post about redesigning the blog, we created a brand script and refined our core value statement. What was first a little tentative and fuzzy was now as clear as print on a page.
- Just start. Once we had our direction all that was left was to move toward it. The last step is practically the most important. Clarity is composed of knowing and doing.When you can’t read a sign you can: think more about what the sign might say; scrunch up your eyes to change your focus; buy high-powered glasses; or ask a friend to read it to you. But the best and easiest way to get more clarity is just move closer to the sign. Taking steps brings things into focus.
This last steps is incredibly liberating. We don’t have to see the whole thing at once. We probably can’t. And we waste a lot of time and worry trying. Using the first four steps we can all get enough clarity to identify our next action. As we make progress toward the goal, the clarity will come.
This is something I teach in 5 Days to Your Best Year Ever. Once we commit and start moving, the resources we need to complete our goals usually show up.
Once you’ve worked through the first four steps, don’t stall. People don’t want to commit, so they don’t move. But movement is the best way to find clarity.
We all find ourselves on the lost on the roadside from time to time or moving with only a vague sense of where we’re going. These five steps can give us the direction we need to find the right course and reach our goals.