The most important word in life

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[Written by Steve Van Remortel on July 2, 2020]


Every January I go to the talent conference in Arizona and I always look forward to it.

Not just because of the warm weather but because it is my individual time to look back, and most importantly, look ahead. Usually, I come out of the conference with clarity on the vision and come back ready to get to work with the Stop The Vanilla Team in taking another step toward that vision. But this year was different.

I came back from the conference with more questions than answers.

The questions weren’t about ‘how can we survive,’ but ‘how can we take the business to the next level not only financially but positively impacting more lives?’

When I lack clarity in an area in my life, the one word that best describes it is unsettled. No one wants to feel that way.

To be candid with you, I hate that feeling.

So, we did the one thing all high performing leaders and teams do to move from unsettled to a state of peace: Seek clarity.

What is clarity?

Clarity is having awareness and understanding about a specific area of your life. Your level of clarity varies by each phase of life. Whether it is in your business, career, or life.

Do you feel unsettled about certain aspects of your career and life right now? The pandemic alone has created a lack of clarity for millions of people.

That is why clarity has become the number one word in my life. When I’m struggling to get through a challenge or make a good decision, I know it’s because I lack clarity in that area.

Why is clarity important?

Having clarity gives you peace. When you can think clearly about a challenge you’re facing, you will be less stressed and in a better place emotionally.

Here are two examples:

  1. If you have clarity in your roles at work and home, you will enjoy doing them and find more joy in them
  2. If you have clarity of self, you will like yourself more and feel more at peace with who you are

Gaining clarity does not always provide you the answers you want. Instead, it gives you the relief of getting to a clearer understanding of the problem and what needs to be done to resolve it.

In the hundreds of leadership development processes I have completed with leaders, gaining clarity in a specific area is usually a development priority.

Two steps to gaining clarity in your life

After helping many leaders overcome their lack of clarity, myself included, I found two steps to be effective in going from unsettled to clarity:

Step One: Identify where you lack clarity

Awareness is the first step to gaining clarity. Before you can think clearly about a problem, you need to know the areas you lack clarity in.

  • If you have lower role clarity, is it in your professional or personal roles?
  • If you have lower clarity of self, why is that? What makes you think less of self?

Here are a few ways you can achieve this awareness:

  1. Rate your levels of clarity on a scale from one to ten (ten = high clarity) in each aspect of your career, life, and work to determine which area of your life you have the lowest clarity
  2. Take a behavioral science assessment. Clarity can now be measured through behavioral science to accurately measure the level of clarity you have in different areas of your life. (Clarity of others, self, and roles for example)

Click here to learn more about the behavioral science assessment that measures your clarity of the world and self

Step Two: Seek clarity

Remember that clarity is not behind you or beside you, but in front of you. What specific steps do you need to take to gain clarity in a specific area of your life?

Think about the one or two things you could do right now to think more clearly about the situation. This may involve research, reaching out to a mentor/coach, or reflecting on the newfound awareness you have.

With action plans and due dates in place, you will drastically increase your ability to gain clarity.

When I have lower clarity, I have learned that the best way to increase it is through a thoughtful process. Sometimes I complete the process myself, with an advisor or I go through the process with our team.

How did we seek clarity?

After I got back from the conference in late January, we completed a strategy and talent planning process to gain clarity on the vision for our business. I also sought counsel from my advisors.

We landed on a strategy for taking the business to the next level. The three main pieces of that strategy are:

  • Consolidating our brands and focusing on building one global brand in Stop The Vanilla
  • Publish Stop The Vanilla In Your Career and Life book. The book will have an accompanying career and life planning software
  • Improve and update our strategy and talent planning process so our customers can complete the process on their own year after year

Gaining clarity is not always easy, but it did give our team the peace of mind knowing what our next steps are.

We all lack clarity at some point in our lives. So, when you feel unsettled, be proactive in seeking and gaining clarity.

Because clarity precedes success.