How to Think Better: lack of clarity

A client, let’s call her Ann, was complaining about a lack of clarity in her business.

I feel fuzzy about who my ideal client really is. Which means I’m also not feeling confident about the services I’m offering—or not offering. 

Ann’s marketing strategy was so multi-pronged and complicated that even she got confused trying to describe it. And as if that weren’t enough—as her business has grown—the way she tracks client work and manages projects has become muddled and unwieldy.

  • Knowing your ideal client makes it easier to create services they need and want.
  • Knowing your marketing strategy makes it easier to take consistent, effective action.
  • Knowing how to manage clients and projects makes it easier to add value.

There’s a theme here: Ease.

Clarity makes everything easier.

Lack of clarity is a real problem when it comes to making decisions. And since decision-making is a big part of running a business, it follows that a lack of clarity is really bad for your business.

When confusion and uncertainty go unaddressed, confidence and momentum go out the window.

Think about it: Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to feel confident when you’re confused about which direction to take? Or how challenging it is to gain momentum when you’re uncertain about which action to take?

Let’s check back in with Ann.

She’s confused about her ideal client. How confident do you think Ann is talking about her services at a networking event?

Ann’s approach to marketing is convoluted. How much momentum do you think she has when it comes to promoting her business?

Lack of clarity has consequences

Do you know what happens when you feel confused and uncertain about what to do next? Sure you do. You feel stuck.

  • You doubt yourself.
  • You overthink—everything.
  • You take no action.
  • Or you take frenzied, disjointed action.
  • You spin your wheels.
  • And maybe you burn out.

None of that is about ease. Instead, it’s exhausting, frustrating, and discouraging. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

5 steps to clarity

Here are 5 steps to shift from confusion and uncertainty to the ease of clarity.

  1. Refuse to indulge in confusion. Staying stuck is a choice. And seeking clarity is an active, not a passive, process. Which means you will no longer allow yourself to postpone making a decision, wallow in I don’t know…, or weigh every possible option to the point your head spins.
  2. Get really clear about the decisions you need to make. Often we exaggerate and dramatize our confusion with sweeping statements, which isn’t useful. Write down the actual decisions you need to make with as much specificity as possible.
  3. Seek input, but don’t live by committee. There’s nothing like a coach, mentor, or mastermind group to spark insight, sharpen focus, provide accountability, and contribute to confident decision-making. So, by all means, seek out the counsel of others. But don’t live by committee and abdicate your responsibility to decide for yourself.
  4. Decide. Do your research, check your gut, listen to your intuition—but then stop mulling it over from every possible angle and decide. Out of a decision comes action. The longer you delay deciding, the longer you delay acting—and by default stay stuck.
  5. Act wisely, but not perfectly. Turn your decisions into doable, manageable 30, 60 or 90-day plans. Don’t aim for perfect action, but avoid frenzied, ad hoc action. Carry out your decision with planned and purposeful steps forward—each action part of a strategic whole.

What do you need more clarity about?