One of the things I crave, lust after, and wish I had more of in my life is a feeling of clarity. I’m jealous of people who flippantly say things like, “oh, I’m a doctor and it’s what I wanted to do since I was five years old trying to wrap my brother’s arm in a cast.”
Or I see someone who starts a business and it’s Luxury Reptile Grooming and they know exactly what they’re doing because everything about their work is so incredibly specific. They clean iguanas, snakes, and geckos and absolutely everyone who owns a reptile knows who they are.
And then there’s me, with this unshakeable creative urge partnered with an easily distracted squirrel brain that has me scheming to cram as many different topics as possible into one workshop, one career, one lifetime.
Because clarity feels like such a STRUGGLE for me, it’s why I’ve read up on this topic endlessly, in my attempts to help myself figure the way out of what often feels like a maze with an entrance, but no exit.
As I’ve been searching for the exit to this maze for what feels like my entire life, I’ve come across three keys that seem to hold the promise of experiencing a much greater sense of clarity and purpose in my life.
1 - Modern life breeds confusion
We’re living in a time of intense distraction coupled with almost limitless possibility. We’re afraid to miss out, we’re afraid to make a choice in case we mess it up, fail, or get things wrong. There’s a feeling that so much is at stake with every given choice that we become paralyzed and often end up simply checking out, doing nothing, or drain all our energy from over-thinking.
The reason this keeps us from connecting with a feeling of clarity is that we’re simply overwhelmed by the options that face us. I have personally found that having been brought up right in between Gen X and the Millennials, I especially feel like I’m floating in no man’s land. I was sort of taught to work hard but I was also infused with the whole “you’re a snowflake and can do anything!” mantra.
Because I grew up thinking I can do anything I can imagine, it’s made me feel totally stressed out about focusing in to become a master on one or two key topics.
On the one hand, it’s up to me to make a choice already, but on the other hand, it’s helpful to better understand the ways in which our culture makes that type of decision-making quite challenging.
It’s ultimately up to me to fight the current of the culture that tells me my choices are endless so I can do the hard work of narrowing that field down and actually make some forward progress.
When you feel yourself gripped by the overwhelm of trying to make big decisions, you might take a pause and ask yourself a few key questions:
Who am I comparing myself to?
What am I afraid of losing or missing out on?
How can I narrow this choice down to just two or three options?
2 - Fear blocks clarity
One of the great enemies of clarity is good old-fashioned fear. This seems to take a number of different forms and shapes, and having a better sense of this can help to unravel this energy so we can have more ease and freedom to connect with clarity.
Anytime I’ve connected with a sense of clarity or written down a plan or vision that feels really exciting, I notice that I start to sabotage it within a matter of weeks.
Life starts to happen, I get distracted, and without a feeling of momentum, I start to think it was the decision that was the problem, rather than my ability to slowly and surely chip away at making my vision into a reality.
Behind this lack of follow-through is what I see as an upper limit problem. Having such a powerful, clear, and expansive vision scared the bejeezus out of me so I quickly found a way to avoid it all together and retreat to the comfy, cozy status quo.
I’m terrified of the consequences for pursuing my dream and actually getting what I want. What if I succeed but I feel worse than ever? What if everyone I leave abandons me while I’m making my dreams come true? What if I try really hard and I still suck at this and end up a complete failure?
Having clarity calls us to play at a whole new level and frankly it’s scary up there. All of a sudden you’re going after something you actually care about and the stakes feel much higher. The prospect of falling from even greater heights means the crash landing will be painful and excruciating.
The only solution from that perspective is to stop trying before you even start.
Dreary, right? Well here’s how to flip this around and hopefully find a way to move forward anyway. This is the time to lean into the resistance, embrace these fears, and know that they’re coming from a place of self-protection. The voice that’s trying to keep you stuck by scaring the boogers right out of you is concerned with your survival. It’s your lizard brain, your inner critic, the fear-based ego that wants everything to stay the same.
Whenever it starts chattering about what a dumb idea you have, you can talk to it like a scared little hamster. “There there Peanut, I know you’re freaking out and trying to keep me safe. Thanks little dude, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be awesome if we chase this dream and finally catch it.”
3 - Clarity is a choice
After you’ve unraveled the cultural and fearful nature of our resistance to experiencing clarity, it seems that what you’re left with is a choice. You can keep flailing around in our culture of decision-overwhelm and spend your time chasing shiny objects all around social media and never get where you want to go.
You can also stay curled up in a ball, endlessly avoiding your dreams because you’re simply too freaked out to leave the couch and go for it.
You’re free to make the choice between Clarity and Confusion in any moment. And mind you, perpetual confusion that’s really avoidance is different than not knowing what the specific outcome is going to be of going after a specific dream or desire. You can have clarity about how you want to feel or what you value most and boldly decide how to go after it.
This doesn’t mean you’re going to have every single step of the whole game plan mapped out at once. In fact, that’s not usually how it works at all. But if you keep choosing over and over again to focus on whatever brings you a feeling of clarity, joy, and purpose, you’re eventually going to build that muscle until it becomes easy, natural, and empowering.
If you need a reminder of this, I highly recommend scrawling a clarity mantra all over your notebooks, day planners, and even writing it on sticky notes throughout your house. Maybe a little something simple (and clear) like this:
Today I choose Clarity
So Now what?
The powerful nature of clarity is why we crave it so deeply. According to the dictionary, to experience clarity is to experience freedom from darkness. In this state we see everything, nothing is hidden, we’re fully transparent and fully alive.
Everyday I practice choosing clarity, and some days it’s easier than others.
But I know that I won’t be helping myself or anyone else if I just give into the patterns of confusion that keep me spinning my wheels, endlessly considering options without making the choice that will put me into action.
I’d love to see a massive revolution where more and more people step into the power of their own clarity. Every time we move towards clarity, we’re moving towards the light. So light up the world with your brilliance, one choice at a time.
Which one of these three keys feels most helpful and inspiring to you? Which idea will you start working with today to help unlock your connection to greater power and clarity? Share your voice and be part of this conversation by leaving a comment below.