Written by: Theresa Agostinelli, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
5 ways to develop clarity. I was 19 years old, married and pregnant. I was totally unprepared for marriage, motherhood and anything else life was throwing at me. Sadly, when I was 26 years old my husband died suddenly, and I found myself a widow and a single mom. I had no job, few skills, hardly any resources and I was feeling trapped. Thoughts of suicide plagued me regularly and my mental, emotional, physical, and financial state was a mess. I felt broken inside. I had no idea how to fix what was wrong with me. I struggled every day to make decisions of any kind and I usually ended up feeling overwhelmed.
I was swirling downward into a mindset of unbelief, unworthiness, and feeling completely unmotivated. I knew I had to change. But how? I wanted my son to have a better life. I wanted him to never feel what I was feeling: broke and broken. But I was clueless on what to do about it. I had no clear direction. In other words, I had no clarity, no vision. I wanted to start a new life and I wanted to finish strong. But I did not know how.
One day, I made an intentional decision to change. I wanted to achieve success in life. I wanted to start a new way of living and I wanted to finish strong. Not only did I want to finish strong, but I also wanted to help others do the same.
The truth is that we all start out with high expectations when we want to achieve success in life, but many do not finish strong. One of the reasons many people do not finish strong is that the path is not usually clear. We tend to get confused with all the decisions we need to make in life, and we often fear making the wrong decisions. We feel the weight of the past, the uncertainty of the future and we become discouraged.
The path from clarity to reality is never easy. It takes time. It takes grit. It takes honesty. It means being vulnerable. Learning how to begin a new lifestyle of healthy patterns and habits takes time and effort and the one thing that seems to be consistent across the board in those I have worked with over the years is that most people lack clarity.
Michael S. Brady, a leading financial advisor with LPL Financial Services in the greater Philadelphia area talked with me about why clarity is so important. He states that “one of the keys to success in life is having a plan and a process that matches your goals.”
He goes on to say that “it is also very true in the financial and investment world. Having a financial plan that matches your short-term, midterm, and long-term goals will definitely increase the likelihood of success and that takes clarity”.
Let me ask you, how would you like to emerge better and stronger mentally, physically, financially, and relationally next year? Would you like to use the lessons you have learned in life as leverage to become your best self? If you are reading this article, then I would say your answer to these questions would be yes! The truth is that unless we transform our negative thought patterns and form new habits, we will not be able to have a fulfilling life and never reach our full potential. Thoughts form out behaviors and those behaviors become our habits.
The most important thing to remember is that you must know what you want and go after it.
According to some studies, most people know what they don’t want in life. We often find ourselves saying things like, “I don’t want to be single” or “I don’t want to be poor”. I had often found myself saying things like, “I don’t want to be alone”. How many of us have said “I don’t want to be unhealthy or overweight”. In other words, most people know what they don’t want but aren’t clear on what they DO want.
I have always loved studying human behavior and researching human development. I love finding out what “makes people tick”. In my work as a business development coach, as well as a licensed clinical psychotherapist, I have found that human beings are capable of so much, yet we only tap into a small amount of our power. We only use a small percentage of their brains. Our brain weighs about 3 pounds and consists of over 100 billion neurons. Yes, a billion. Those cells carry information 24 hours a day. Seven days a week. To improve the function of our brain we must take care of our brain just like we take care of any other part of our body. Scientists argue over the belief that we only use about 10 percent of our brains. Whether it is true or not, I believe that we often do not tap into the full power we have in our brain function. Which is why many people do not reach their full potential. In other words, if we were able to tap into the power of our brain, we would see enormous results. But we need clarity on what we want to achieve. Once we achieve clarity on what we want in life, then our brain can go to work! That is what this article will explore.
I want you to have all the good things you desire in life by finding clarity and reaching your goals for success.
Keep in mind the purpose of this article is to offer you some tips on finding clarity. At some point, you do have to make some concrete decisions and start moving forward consistently. It takes a complete shift in your mindset. It means changing the way you think. You can either move forward or stay stagnant and never reach your full potential. You’re going to have to dig deep and find out what you want out of your life and your career. If you find yourself feeling stuck and living in the past, then the best place to start is by getting out of the past and finding clarity for your future.
Here are 5 tips to help you achieve clarity
1. Accept responsibility for where you are now
It is not your family’s fault, your parents’ fault, your spouse, your boss, your kids, your environment, or anyone else’s fault. Life happens. You have the power to make the changes. If you keep trying to blame everything else for what has happened or if you blame other people for where you are right now, then you will find that you will be forced to live in the past and that means that you are allowing your past to dictate your future. When you are face to face with defining your future, it is important to be clear on what it is you want to accomplish. Everything else can and will fall into place. You must make a conscious decision not to allow your past to control you. Take responsibility now. Make no excuses.
2. Acknowledge that you need help and go for it
Of course, we know that you cannot change your past. However, you can have a better and brighter future. It’s important to seek the advice of someone who can help you. When you are at a low point in your life, it’s often difficult to make the decisions needed to change your habits and I believe that getting help from a professional will bring you the results needed to find clarity. If you want to increase your success and be very clear about where you want to go in life, you must find others who have experience and knowledge. There is a saying that there is wisdom in many counselors. So, look for the right coach, counselor, or mentor to guide you and give you advice. Seek out an accountability partner. You will find that the vison will become clearer, and the goal will be easier to reach. When you are clear on your goals, you’ll find that having others to guide you is so rewarding and will give you confidence and courage and enthusiasm to stay motivated.
3. Embrace your vision
You have heard it said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step.
It’s important to begin to see yourself as the person you want to become. If you can’t paint the entire picture, just start by envisioning your perfect day.
Be confident in who you want to become. Walk in the vision. Speak positively about your vision. Surround yourself with those who share your vision. You will find that your vision becomes clearer each day as you take steps to walk in your vision. Your trusted advisors will be able to cheer you on as you evolve. Put your vision at the front of your mind each day. You will see that you will become more intentional, and you will really begin to embrace who you are becoming.
4. Invest in your future
Investing in your personal and professional growth is the way to allow your clarity to take flight. The truth is that whatever you value most you will find the time and the money to do it. Decide how you want to use your time, money, resources. Understand your options and make sure you invest in things that will give you solid returns. Many people spend too much time and money on things that bring only temporary satisfaction.
They are in a sense “your investment” because they offer a return of some sort. But what return on your time and money is most important to you? If you want to maximize your time on this earth, then your greatest investment should be your personal and professional growth. I decided to go back to school and earn a master’s degree. I took a few public speaking classes, and I hired mentors, coaches and advisors. You may want to take a class to improve your speaking skills. You may want to hire a financial advisor tohelp you maximize your money for starting a new business or preparing for an early retirement. For me, my desire to provide for my young son gave me the strength to reach out of my comfort zone and invest in my future. I started my own business and began seeing a great return on my hard work. I saved some money and invested it wisely. I learned to identify the difference between things I needed and things I wanted. That really helped.
5. Learn to love discipline
Once you have made the conscious decision to begin your journey, you must understand that the outcome you desire will depend solely on your commitment. Most people quit too soon. Our brains are naturally wired to avoid pain and seek pleasure. That usually means that we don’t like to do anything that requires too much brain power. In other words, no pain no gain. So don’t quit.
Have you ever seen a crawling baby learn to walk? It’s up and down, bumps and bruises but eventually the baby goes from a crawl to a walk. A child doesn’t think about the length of time it will take to learn to walk. The child just keeps trying and will not stop trying no matter what happens. Discipline is important because it teaches us to operate by principle and not by emotion. It means saying no to negative impulses. You must take massive action to start. You must take on the mindset of welcoming discipline.
My journey from clarity to reality was a long journey but one I truly am grateful for. I worked with visionaries, strategists, and advisors to take me into my journey. I learned to make informed decisions and I developed the strategies I needed for success. Remember that you can do anything you set your mind to. It just takes the right team around you and clarity for your future. My hope for you is that you achieve everything you desire in life.
Theresa Agostinelli, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Professor Theresa Agostinelli is a licensed psychotherapist as well as a certified personal and professional coach. A widow and single mom at age 26, she found herself with few resources, no job and not many skills. She dramatically changed her life and rose from widow to successful business owner, entrepreneur and author. She has dedicated her life to helping others by teaching them how to maximize their mental and emotional well-being. Theresa is the author of the prolific book, The GRID System which speaks to unlocking your potential and living your best life. Her mission is helping people create more of what is good in life.