Clarity and the 4 Keys to Living Successfully

What does it really take to be successful in our lives, to have the careers and lives we dreamed of?

From what I’ve seen, I believe success requires four fundamental things:

  1. Clarity
  2. Intention
  3. Attention
  4. Focus

That’s the formula. If that sounds too simple, don’t worry; when you start to look at each factor, it gets complex. We get complex. We make things more complicated than they need be.

So let’s look at each factor and try to keep it simple. My co-authors and I have tried to make each of these principles come alive with personal stories of real people in our new book, “Do Eagles Just Wing It?


Clarity is about defining, in no uncertain terms, what you really want to create in your life. It’s about vision, about knowing what kind of future you want for yourself. It’s about having dreams. Some people are better at this than others

There was a young woman named Susan who had come to a management training class. The first assignment, which was really more of an ice-breaker, was called “My Dream Is … ” And the idea was, you were supposed to go around the room, introducing yourself to everyone and sharing one of your dreams.

Now, this sounds like a pretty straightforward exercise, but pretty quickly Susan started to freak out because she realized she couldn’t come up with anything. She could see someone approaching from across the room, she knew that any second she was going to have to share a dream, but she literally couldn’t think of a single thing to share.

Isn’t that something? And the truth is, a lot of us are in the same boat. A lot of people don’t have an answer to that question – “What’s your dream? What do you really want in your life?”

Now, it worked out fine for Susan, because there were other people nearby who had already started their introductions —and she could hear what there were saying. So by the time her first introduction arrived, she could say, “Hi, I’m Susan. My dream is to … to go up in a hot air balloon!”

And that’s what she did. She spent the whole rest of the exercise borrowing the dreams of the people around her. So it worked out for her right then. But it’s not a good strategy for the rest of us. We need to have dreams of our own. We need to be clear about where we’re going.

And here’s why: Without clarity we’re just spinning our wheels.

There’s a saying, “Don’t mistake activity for accomplishment.” Without clarity, our actions are just actions. We’re moving, we’re moving, but we’re not really getting anywhere. It literally doesn’t matter how hard we work, because we’re not working toward anything.

Think about the last time you were busy, busy, busy… we’re you taking steps to get where you want to be? Or, just checking off a to-do list crammed with tasks? Without clarity, we get distracted from our dreams. What do you think about this?

One of the best ways I know of gaining clarity is talking with a mentor or coach. Let me know if you’d like to explore this, either with me, my co-authors, or another professional.

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