Feeling a bit blah? Gain clarity!

Are you feeling a bit blah, but don’t feel like you’ve got anything to complain about? You have a successful career, a successful business. You have a nice group of friends. Maybe a strong relationship and a couple of kids. Or a dog, like me. A lot of things are keeping you busy, yet you feel unfulfilled. Every day feels as if you are just going through the motions. You are starting to feel lost. Is this what you signed up for?

I hear you!

A couple of years ago I was in the same position.

Great job, successful career, great friends, lots of fun. Nothing to complain about. But I felt unfulfilled. There had to be much more to life than this. I was grateful for the life I was living, but I wanted to make it even better.

After talking to a coach, friends and family, doing a lot of research and experimenting, I now knew what was missing. I lacked clarity. I had no clear vision for myself in the future.

Just going through the motions for too long. Changing it up, again with no vision. It drained me. At work I noticed I wasn’t connected to the outcome of my daily work. And in my personal life, I had no clear vision on what I expected from myself, relationships and friendships. I was climbing a lot of mountains (literally and figuratively), but they weren’t all worth the climb.

Most curious high-achievers have busy lives and their tendency is to just go on. They are pretty tough on themselves. They keep their head up and take on their to-do’s. Don’t complain, just do it. Deep down the struggle starts and they feel more and more dissatisfied. They know that the life they are living is not what they are aiming for. The good news is: things can be changed for the better. Even if the world around you thinks you’ve got nothing to complain about. You don’t need to explain yourself to them. Think of the alternative, not changing. What would happen?

To seek clarity and create your vision, I recommend following three steps:

1. Look inside

Start with creating a picture of who you are. We have to look inside to find clarity. Ask yourself questions. What do I value? What gives me energy? What makes me happy? Become curious about yourself!

To discover the real obstacles that block our way to fulfilling our dreams. Or just simply blocking us to fulfilling the tasks we wanted to do today but did not manage to get done.

Deepak Chopra mentions three ingredients you’ll find when you look inside:

• Confusion: not setting clear priorities because the path ahead doesn’t look clear and decisive.
• Distraction: a hundred small things that pull your attention.
• Disorganization: a lack of orderly thinking that leads to productive results.

Hello! These three ingredients were consistently on my daily menu!

When we lose track of who we are, our mind gets unsettled. That leads to the three ingredients, confusion, distraction and disorganization. When you find who you really are, you can choose at any time and any place to live your life in line with your vision. Time to create a new daily menu with different ingredients.

To create that vision beyond your current circumstances, in his book ‘High Performance Habits’ Brendon Burchard advises to start by looking at various situations of your life over the past few weeks. At work, with your colleagues, with your partner, your kids, with strangers. Describe how you’ve perceived yourself in these situations.
Then ask yourself, “Is that how I want to see myself?”. How would I prefer to have acted? What if I had acted in line with who I truly am and my values? Describe those situations.

2. Become intentional

Once you have established who you are, become intentional about gaining clarity every day. Getting clarity about what you want in life, your goals and dreams takes time. Change doesn’t happen overnight. It starts with you.

“Grand visions aren’t hard to think up; carrying them out is the problem.”
Deepak Chopra

Make it a daily habit to look inside, to reflect on situations and how you handled them. Did you act in line with your intentions? The goal is to bring your vision and daily practicalities closer together.

To avoid confusion, distractions and disorganization, I start my work day by going over my priorities for that day. I plan my days to avoid getting distracted by things that shouldn’t get my attention and are only there to make me less productive. Without focus on what I’d like to accomplish that day, I mostly end up responding to email (aka other people’s agendas, getting distracted by my phone and basically anything that draws my intention. Maybe that’s the downside of being so curious.

I learned to create the habit of starting my day with full focus on what I need to get done. I became intentional with getting clarity. And please, don’t think this habit stuck after one day. No, not at all. I am human. It took me some time. Creating habits is not easy. But if the reward is big enough, it will stick after a while. Just push through. If day two you forget, restart on day three, or day forty. You get the picture.

3. Define what’s meaningful

After becoming intentional with gaining clarity and bringing more focus into your life, you created the space to take the next step. You have been working towards your daily goals, finished your tasks. Now the question is: are you climbing the right mountains? To answer that question, you need to define what is meaningful to you and if those mountains fit into that definition.
Are the activities in your daily planner meaningful to you? I would recommend going through your weekly planner and decide which items mean anything to you and which don’t. If 75% of the items don’t mean anything to you, you are probably not on the right track. Next, ask yourself what the first activities would you’d like to add to your calendar. Which activities would bring you more fulfillment and would bring you closer to your vision of the future?
Become intentional about eliminating activities that don’t serve you and, add activities that do. Again, not all at once, but step by step.

Gaining clarity is not easy. It requires you to actively engage in working towards your future. The future you intentionally envision and create. Every day. Every week. Every year.
It helped me to get my energy back, become more productive than ever, set up my own business, keep learning every day, and create room for curiosity. You might want to try it!

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