Three Keys to Gaining Clarity (Instantly)

Over the past few weeks I’ve had the privilege and honour to deliver training workshops and coach individuals from over 18 countries. Some in person when I travelled to Australia, Russia and Germany; some over Skype to America and Spain.

While everyone has their own challenges and ambitions, what continues to strike me is the absolutely critical importance of CLARITY.

Clarity is at the heart of progress and achievement. When you have clarity, you (for the most part) can confidently march forward towards the result you’re after. It doesn’t mean it’s easy or effortless but it does mean that there is a certain force of energy, focus, conviction or commitment directing your every step.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, it can be painfully obvious when you lack clarity or feel like you have no clue on what you should do. You stop, get stuck and barely make any progress.

But the tougher, more challenging and more dangerous place is somewhere in the middle. You THINK you are clear, you ARE putting in the effort but the results are underwhelming-to-non-existent. It’s kind of like counterfeit money – it looks real, it feels real but using it too much can get you in serious trouble.

“Counterfeit” clarity applies equally to the small things – for example, prioritising your daily to-do list – as well as the big things such as the direction of your life, relationships and career.

You may start out ok but before long your momentum slows and more and more problems, hurdles, delays or distractions get in the way.

Can you relate to any of these?

  • Poor time management, easily distracted, continually chasing new ideas and ‘dabbling’ in a lot of different things
  • Not finishing what you’ve started
  • Waiting for the perfect moment to begin…or continue
  • Telling yourself “Tomorrow will be better to get started on that”
  • Getting caught in circular thinking, continually debating the pros and cons of certain actions
  • Repeatedly set goals and never achieve them
  • Overwhelmed at what needs to get done
  • Indecisive with little things and avoiding the ‘big’ things

A lack of clarity isn’t the result of these behaviours, it’s the CAUSE.

And as it happens to all of us at times, the cure isn’t to just make sure you get clear first, but rather to learn to spot the signals quickly and make a swift change of course.

What do you tend to do when you’re unclear?

For me, the signals I’ve come to know quite well are:

  • Checking emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) way to frequently, especially when I’m not expecting anything of importance or urgency.
  • Starting my day by reviewing emails (…or Facebook or the News or my phone…) before I’ve even exercised or showered or had some food.
  • Telling myself I need to switch to more important things or resolve a bigger problem yet continue to carry on dabbling in minor things.

When I eventually snap out of that trance and back to the things that matter most to me, I am reminded of three keys to getting clear:

1. As soon as you recognise you’re off track and not making the right progress, stop.

2. Immediately ask yourself four questions:
What is my real outcome in this situation? (or in the next ____ minutes/hours/days?)
Therefore, what must I stop doing right now?
What is the first action I can take to build momentum towards my outcome?
How good will I feel when I start to make progress?

3. Take that next step no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Don’t waste time debating whether it’s the right or wrong step. You just need to take action and move forward. You might learn it wasn’t the ‘right’ step but at least now you know and can adjust your approach even further.

Time and time again those three prove to be uber helpful and quickly shift focus, energy and momentum towards getting clear, and ultimately getting what you want.

And if you’re really stuck on HOW to get clear, you owe it to yourself to make ‘getting clear(er)’ your top priority. Ask a coach or mentor, search for a relevant blog or article online, speak to a friend or family member or ask us at ActionPodcast.

So start to recognise your signals more quickly and follow those exact steps.

You’ll be glad you did.

Let us know what your tricks for getting clear are and what you need to get clear on now by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

5 Simple Steps for a Personal Year in Review

If your year didn’t turn out as well as you hoped it would, it’s time for honest reflection and make time for your personal “year in review”.

At this time of year many people end up disappointed and perhaps disillusioned as to where it went wrong.

But rather than looking back with regret you owe it to yourself to look back with curiousity to actively seek the lessons that you can take into your next 12 months.

In this podcast, Paul and Chris give practical steps to make sure you review with the right attitude, mindset and desire to learn, and outline these 5 perspectives to investigate from.

Clarity

Whether you set specific goals at the start of the year or not, the quality of your actions are constantly influenced by the amount of clarity you current have on how to achieve what you want. On reflection, we often discover that we weren’t nearly as clear as we thought we were – or needed to be – in order to get what we hoped for.

Confidence

To what extent did you have the certainty and confidence to take the steps that were needed to achieve your outcomes, or to overcome the barriers in your way? Listen to Paul and Chris discuss the factors that shape your confidence as it relates to Continue reading

Have You Ever Tried a NOT To Do List?

Sometimes getting more done needs a good ol’ fashioned To Do List. A clear list of priorities to give us focus, purpose and clarity on where our attention and energy should go.

What’s more rare – yet equally as powerful – is getting clear, acknowledging and facing up to the things you know you shouldn’t do.

We all do it: defaulting to checking and continuously refreshing our emails, going to Facebook, or putting our energy in smaller, easier tasks than the more important items that will really give us the results we want.

In this podcast, Sam and Chris discuss the simple power of creating a daily “NOT To Do” list to accompany your regular action items. A clear reminder to yourself of the things you shouldn’t do since they take away your success, happiness or productivity.

Have you tried using a Not To Do List before? If so, let us know how it’s worked for you. If not, join Sam and Chris in this week’s ActionChallenge and share on our Facebook page what you’re NOT going to do each day this week.

5 Things That Will Make You Achieve Your 2012 Goals…or Not

Success beyond the obstacles

It may be arbitrary but the turn of a new year is a perfect opportunity to set a plan for what you want to experience, create, have and do over the next 12 months.

Part of what spurns us on to thinking about our future is the middle of December to early January, for most, is a time where we have time less time at work and spend more time with friends and family. This end of year cycle is a perfect catalyst for reconnecting with what matters most.

But knowing what matters (or what you want to achieve) and making it so are wildly different things.

Having spent a huge portion of my adult life investigating what makes the difference between ‘those who achieve what they want’ and ‘those who try but don’t, or don’t really try at all’, I’ve learnt that 99% of the time it comes down to five factors.Continue reading

Getting to the point

Frequently at the mercy of information overload, I find myself placing greater value on “bite-sized” pieces of information. Not only are they more accessible – I’m far more likely to read, watch or listen to them in the first place – but they are also likely to be more effective at the same time.

Condensing an idea or thought into its key essence without losing meaning is an important skill, yet we can become complacent in our communication.

Have you sent or received an ambiguous “txt msg” lately that could be misunderstood? Continue reading

Journal your way to success!

Special *extended* edition: don’t let the word “journal” put you off! Regardless of whether you’ve not put pen to paper for decades, and the idea of writing without a computer keyboard seems a crime – it is still possible to make journaling work for you. So why should you bother? What are the benefits?

This is a longer podcast than normal because whilst Gina & Sam are very passionate about their own daily journals, they realise that not everyone will be as excited or comfortable with the idea

… so they start by exploring some tips for people who might experience strong resistance to the idea of writing down their thoughts every day. The process of writing in this way can skyrocket your success and happiness: and alongside discussing the many benefits of journaling, they also explore some of the ways to make it work best for you.

[Gina & Sam both use a form of journaling from The Artist’s Way called Morning Pages – for more info have a look here.]

(Un)Great Expectations

Ever been accused of having high expectations?

Whilst expectations themselves seem part of human nature, those of us who hold high expectations for ourselves – complete with perfectionist foibles – tend to have reasonably high expectations of those around us too. Particularly if they are close to us!

But the greater the expectation, the more power it has to hurt us. All hurt and disappointment can be traced back to an expectation we’ve held. Continue reading

The Emotional Impact of Falling Behind

A major area of stress in our lives in trying to cope with ‘all the things that need to get done’. The challenges of trying to keep up with it all can be compounded when you start to feel guilty or overworked by constantly trying to catch up.

In this podcast, Sam and Chris explore the emotional impact of falling behind and simple shifts you can make to minimise the impact and quickly get back on track.

Continue reading

Do You Take Your Own Advice?

As coaches, we are skilled in helping other people gain clarity, build self-belief, take action and generally find ways to consistently and constantly make progress towards their desired life. Of course, you don’t have to be a certified coach to be able to help other people do the same. We all, at times, offer our sound judgement, advice, support or guidance to friends, colleagues and family members.

Yet, how often do you follow your own advice to others?

Do you find yourself telling colleagues they should leave the office on time and get home to more important things while you stick around just a bit longer to write ‘just one more email’?

Have you told a particularly stressed friend that they really ought to take a break and treat themselves to an afternoon at a spa or R&R in the local park, while your common stress-busting strategy is to just keep fighting through it?

Do you and your partner often discuss how great it would be to take in more of the cultural treats and opportunities that your area of the country offers, only to see another six months pass without Continue reading

Why worry? How to break the cycle and take action

At times we all find ourselves in a state of worry. It can be a very debilitating state and really impact our well-being and prevent us from getting the results we want. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In this podcast, Chris and Paul discuss how to simply break the cycle of worry in any situation and find a better approach.

After listening to the podcast and trying the suggestions, please leave a comment and let us know how it worked for you. We’d love to hear from you!