The more I live, the more I think about the different experiences, challenges, losses, and personal wins I’ve had. Not in an emotional sense, but as an opportunity to learn new lessons that will hopefully help me make decisions in the future. If you know much about my history and background, you know that I faced plenty of adversity as a young kid growing up that ultimately led to me getting kicked out of school 6 times before high school, kicked off campus my freshman year, all results I earned with plenty of regrets when I look back on that time of my life.
Being put on the basketball team my sophomore year as a project essentially saved my life. I was a gangly 6’5” kid with plenty of home problems and enough potential to make something of myself, provided I worked hard, which is what I did once I was granted that opportunity.
When I was growing up, there used to be cheat codes that you could type in on the gaming controller that gave you special powers to dominate the game. I never knew how to work those codes, so I always lost against those who knew the codes.
Life can feel this way sometimes too. I have had my share of feeling that way. At times in my life, I have worked so hard only to have nothing to show for it. At least it felt that way at the time. I’d encounter others that weren’t working nearly as hard as I was, but you’d think they had a cheat code to the game of life. It’s a hard realization when you realize that it isn’t just hard work that matters and yet that’s what you’ve been doing for decades. I knew my ‘why’ for over a decade, but it only provided motivation, not direction.
After meeting thousands of successful people, many of whom are high-performing entrepreneurs, executives, athletes, and managers, it is evident, through my observation, that the ultimate cheat code to life is clarity. Yes, clarity. Let’s look at the definition:
Definition of clarity
: the quality or state of being clear
After 5 years of college, and 17 jobs over the course of a decade, no one would have accused me of having clarity. I can tell you right now, I didn’t. I knew that I eventually wanted to work for myself sooner than later, but I wasn’t clear about my values, purpose, strengths, or weaknesses. Not understanding who I was and what direction I should move forward in life caused a tremendous amount of pain, frustration, sadness, and failure in every aspect of my life. I paid full price for the lack of clarity and have the emotional wounds to show it. Getting evicted my first year out of college, quitting my first job as a mortgage broker because I had deals blowing up in my face because I didn’t trust my manager, quitting my job at 24-Hour Fitness because I was a terrible salesperson and couldn’t live on minimum wage so I hid in my friends’ attic for 3 months, going through a painful divorce and getting fired from my job because I was too hurt to focus on doing a good job at work. Have I made my point yet? I have at least a dozen more examples of how lack of clarity will cost you decades of pain emotionally, financially, mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Let’s look at how we at Catalyst Training + Development define a person with clarity:
Definition of a person with clarity
: someone who knows who they are, what they want, and how to get it
In my life, I have met and observed hundreds of these individuals, athletes, and entrepreneurs, and work with many of them until this day. They know exactly who they are, what they want, and how to get it. More importantly, they know what it is going to cost to get it and they have no problem paying whatever price is necessary.
The Two Paths to Clarity
I believe there are multiple paths to clarity and success, but not unlimited paths. Today, I’ll share two of the most common paths. The first one is taking the path I took, which is probably the hardest path for any human being to take. That path is doing zero planning, letting financial concerns, what other people think, and fear, dictate every decision you make while hoping you stumble upon something you want to do. I think with this approach you may find something suitable that you enjoy, but it may still miss the mark in terms of what your real dreams are. I’m being transparent with you, I stumbled into the payment processing industry and found it suitable for my skillset, interest, and many desires professionally, but it only serves a small fraction of my purpose. I enjoy the work that I do for entrepreneurs through my company PaySuite and will continue to do it while growing in ways to serve others in ways that will allow me to realize my true purpose for living, which is to add value to others. The way I found my path, purpose, and profession was expensive, hard, disheartening on many days, and arduous. I don’t want that for you. There’s a better way.
In sports, goals are extremely finite and easy to measure. You either won or you lost. As an individual player, you either played well or you didn’t. As a team, you either beat your record from last season, won the championship, or you didn’t. Life and operating in your purpose aren’t sports, and neither is business. As individuals, we don’t have the luxury of being graded on one aspect of our performance. As individuals building careers, businesses, and ultimately lives for us and our families, we are graded on health, career, relationships, finances, and recreation. Within these different domains of our lives are long lists of aspirations, wins, losses, almosts, fears, and a host of other emotions.
I believe that the only way to come close to success in life is to do what is probably the most difficult thing to do, even though it’s easier than 17 jobs in 11 years and massive amounts of failure and frustration like I experienced in life after college. It’s taking the time to get clear about who you are, what you want, and how to get it. This isn’t something you can do in a weekend, and you can’t do it by mediation only. It will take committing to a process of action, asking questions of yourself and others, and taking the time to evaluate what your values are.
The Path to Clarity
At Catalyst, I work with individuals, athletes, and entrepreneurs to gain clarity on how to build the life they want. I believe it’s impossible to truly build the life you want if you are unclear about who you are at the core, so I invest a considerable amount of time talking with our clients about their motivations, purpose, values, outcomes, profession, and strategies so we can get to the point of building a life + business plan that aligns with their values. Speaking of values, that is exactly where we start. Why? Well, as I reflected on my failures and others’ successes over the past 20 years, I observed that my failures were a result of me not being clear about my core values, or principles and that those that had found true success in life, were obsessed about their core values and principles. Not only were they obsessed, but they were clear about what they were and how they would make decisions because of those core values and principles. They took the time to define what their core values were in life and then documented what they meant to them, why they were important, and how they would use them daily in their life. I didn’t do this early in my career, which is why I would be excited about a job for 6 months, the excitement would wear off, my productivity would drop, and then I would get fired.
The path to clarity entails you taking the time to write down what it is you want in every area of your life, determining the values you will protect and live by in pursuit of your goals, and building a detailed plan that addresses how you can achieve it while honoring your values.
Having a ‘Why’ is important. Use the motivation it provides to do the work you need to find clarity. I believe it’s the only way to operate daily with the focus and intensity you need to achieve your dream + purpose.
If there’s anything I can do to support your success, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment to talk.