Want Clarity In Life? Start With These Three Questions

Career News

by Contributor,

Many people make dozens of important life and business decisions without first considering what they want most.  It’s easy to waste time running in the wrong direction when you do not take time to evaluate where you want to go.

I realized this when I attended a conference session called, “Getting Clarity,” led by world-renowned coach Philip McKernan.

Our group discussion focused on a participant who had grown tired of his business and wanted to sell. When McKernan pressed the participant what he would do next if he sold his business, he replied, “I don’t know,” to which McKernan responded, “But if you did know, what would that be?”.

When pressed, the participant revealed that he wanted to start a new career in a different industry.  By the end of the session, he had a concrete plan to sell his business and start a new venture.  That conversation, and others I saw McKernan lead, showed that we’re often closer to realizing what we want, but we aren’t always ready to see it.

This is especially true with career choices. Delaying following your purpose in your career may be easier, or even more lucrative, but it will often cost you happiness along the way.  Here are three things to consider when making your next career move.

What would you do if you had less time?

Many people put off pursuing their purpose and simply resolve to do it later.  While many people end up finding clarity about what they want until their 50s, 60s or older, it can be a mistake to assume that you’ll be able to accomplish what you want most years down the line.

An exercise my wife and I did with a financial adviser illustrates this concept. We were asked to write down our goals and most important relationships if we had decades, years or just days to live. Each list was different, and it was clear that we emphasized our most important goals and relationships in the scenario where he had just days to live.

It’s quite easy and comfortable to keep pushing our true desires back because we think we’ll have the time to eventually realize them.  Nobody wants to think about the possibility that they have less time than they think.

As this “goals and relationships” exercise demonstrates, we may be assuming we have decades when we only have years. That’s all the more reason to really think about if your career makes you happy and if it fulfills your purpose.

Are you ready to learn the truth about yourself?

While it seems like everybody should want clarity on what they want most, that realization often evades us.  In many cases, people don’t evaluate what they want until there is a galvanizing event. McKernan only realized he wanted to be a coach after his business collapsed. It wasn’t until that failure that McKernan realized what he actually wanted out of life.

Gaining clarity is a life-changing experience, but it can be daunting. Realizing what you want to do in professionally may force you to walk away from your career path and start from scratch. McKernan says people often go to enormous lengths to avoid clarity, in part because it raises the stake of failing.

But while avoiding clarity out of fear may make you more comfortable, it won’t make you happier, or better in your personal or professional life.  It’s important to reckon with your professional purpose and pursue that in your daily work.

What truth are you holding inside?

Even when people know the truth about themselves, many of them choose to keep it locked inside.  This fact led McKernan to start an initiative called One Last Talk,” a program where regular people are coached to give a 10-15 speech as if it was the last thing they would say in their lives.

While most people’s first version of the talk are about universal themes, McKernan pushes speakers to  focus on intensely personal subjects and share their deepest truth.  Speaking this truth is vital to finding your purpose, and mapping your life to it.

This concept forces speakers to ask difficult, vital questions.  What would be your final statement on your life?  What has given you the most fulfillment?  Why were you put on this earth?  Answering these questions is not easy, but it is an important step to finding the right path, personally and professionally.

I was extremely fortunate to get the opportunity to sit down and interview McKernan on the Elevate podcast. His insight shows that he is living his truth, and will inspire you to think about how you can do the same, and find the career that helps you do it.

Robert is the founder and CEO of Acceleration Partners. Join 100,000+ global leaders who follow his inspirational weekly Friday Forward at www.fridayfwd.com or invite him to speak.

Forbes

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