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.

Why Your Problem Isn’t Going Away

Do you have a problem or challenge that seems to continually behave like an uninvited guest in your life?

Those extra 10lbs around your waist line?

That annoying boss that is always micro-managing your every move?

That credit card debt that is quietly growing, not shrinking?

We all have “problems” that can be a constant thorn in our side and cause of frustration, disappointment or even depression.

But if it’s sticking around in your life longer than you want or need it to, you’ve got to ask WHY?

WHY does it continue to persist?

WHY have you allowed it to persist?

Despite all the resasons you might give, and what you say when you vent to your partner or best friend, they may not be the “right” reasons.

Changing something can be hard and when we face change we fight against our natural tendencies for maintaining our internal status quo.

We are hardwired for self-preservation. Some say that’s evolutionary, some say it’s passed down from generations. Either way, what research shows is that we are designed to conserve as much as possible…calories, physical energy, mental energy, emotional energy, etc.

In other words, we like the path of least resistance and this directly affects the decisions we make and the action we take.

And because we like the path of least resistance we generally respond to change in one of four ways:

a. Procrastinate – we intellectually know – and emotionally, are acutely aware – that something is off in our lives but we decide we can delay taking action until some later time (and be no worse off). It may not feel like a decision, but our behaviour shows that we have decided to not take the action necessary to resolve it.

b. Rationalize – we acknowledge the conflict but downplay it in our mind. We justify the problem for the time being even if it still stings but are convincing enough to allow it to persist. “It’s only 5lbs but I’m not as heavy as I was in 2008 and I don’t have any big social obligations coming up so I’ll just wear my bagging clothes until I need to change…”

c. Suppress – we try to completely ignore it or push it out of our minds. We turn our attention to more pressing matters, or convenient distractions that we can find in the moment. Chocolate or the office sweets jar are a common reprieve from the discomfort.

d. Accept – we acknowledge it yet tell ourselves that this is the way things are and there’s no point trying to change it. We adopt learned helplessness and play victim to the situation rendering us incapable of making it better. It may feel like that is true but this approach can erode our self-esteem, self-worth and resourcefulness to find a way…because there’s always a way if we want it badly enough.

When we engage in any of these behaviours we are effectively resolving our conflict in the moment but the reality is we’re not solving anything. It feels like we are because the tension goes away but we’re only delaying the eventual solution.

And when your action is only aimed at resolving your inner conflict (e.g. your feelings of stress, worrying, frustration, disappointment, etc) in the moment but don’t actually move closer to eliminating the real issue, you are directly and undeniably encouraging your problem to stick around.

So when you ask WHY the challenge continues to be present in your life, start measuring yourself against these four common responses.

  • Are you exhibiting one or more of these behaviours more than you should?
  • Are you doing it consciously and actively avoiding having to face the issue head on?
  • Or were you doing it unconsciously but now you can see how you are contributing to the lingering nature of the problem?

It’s time to take back control of yourself and be more mindful of how you respond to problems.

Just as you trained yourself to take the path of least resistance, you can train yourself to take the path of most effectiveness. You can make your default reaction more conscious, more honest, more courageous, more resourceful and cut off the chance of it sticking around longer than it needs to.

Which in turn, means you will have more energy and optimism for the things that really matter to you and to work on becoming the person you want to be.

If this post resonated with you, tell us why? How do you tend to respond and what do you think you could do differently in the future. Leave us a comment below or post on our facebook page.

 

The Greatest Regret You May Ever Have

A little while ago I came across a piece of research on octogenarians – people who have reached their 80’s.

The one question that stood out for me provided a simple but profound insight into how I should approach my life now, to prevent me from having the same regret after experiencing more than 80% of my life.

The question was this: When you look back on the life that you’ve lived, what is your greatest regret?

What do YOU think was the #1 answer across the large survey?Continue reading

Getting Feedback Without Fear

There’s nothing better than getting great feedback.

There’s nothing worse than getting bad feedback.

There’s nothing more helpful than getting constructive feedback.

So how on earth do you make sure you get the right feedback? Paul and Sam love getting feedback just as much as anyone and during this podcast they discuss some great suggestions on how to ask for feedback so that you get the right information at the right time to help you improve instead of sending you off in the wrong and often depressing spiral caused by poorly given feedback.

 

4 Questions for Navigating Change

Drawing on our own personal experience and those of our clients, Gina and Chris suggest four questions that can help you navigate through a significant period of change. Whether it be a new job, a new home or a new relationship, we all feel uncertain – and fear – at venturing into something new.

These questions can help build your confidence that you can do it and start you on the path to feeling great about your new opportunity.

How to Tackle Complacency

Have you ever felt you’ve lost your drive at work or you’ve stopped trying in your relationships? Felt like you’ve reached a plateau and either feel afraid or just can’t be bothered to go to the next level? In this podcast Chris and Gina discuss ways you can tackle complacency head on: how to recognise it, how to move through it and how to come out the other side!

Are you resistant to change?

C.H.A.N.G.E. The final frontier…  The big C-word is an inevitable part of life, but something most of us resist on a daily basis. We like to think we’re flexible, that we can always ‘go with the flow’. But instead, many of us simply tie ourselves even tighter to our mast of familiarity.

... turn and face the strain

Find something you’re scared of, and 9 times out of 10 it involves some kind of change in your life: new job, new relationship, new hair colour, new house, new school, new teacher, new country, new car! The list is endless.

So why do we resist? And how can we overcome the fear of change? Or rather, do we really have to?

Continue reading

The Fear of Change

At times we all fear change so much that the discomfort of staying where we are seems like the better choice. Paul and Chris discuss how you can disarm those fears and can soon find that adapting to change become second nature and no where near as scary as you first thought.

The Art of Failure

SPECIAL EDITION! Previously unreleased, Paul and Sam have finally decided to share one of the earliest ActionPodcast recordings on a topic close to their hearts! Nearly a year on, it remains really relevant whilst being a ‘blast from the past’ back to our humble beginnings!

Failure almost seems to be another F-word! We’re unlikely to think happy or positive thoughts when we hear it.

A fear of failure can stop us in our tracks, no matter how much we want to do something; and if we’ve already reached a point of failure it can be easy to wish the whole thing never happened. As Paul jokes, sometimes we just want to sweep it under the rug, hoping others haven’t noticed – even trying to convince ourselves that it didn’t occur.

Yet failure can be one of the best teachers if we let it and start thinking about our mistakes as a learning opportunity rather than just a point of pain. Join us in exploring the fabulous art of failure!