The first step

Batman getting clarity. He’s now likely to achieve his goals.

Batman getting clarity. He’s now likely to achieve his goals.

So, here we are: the first full week of the year, and it feels like it's time to get moving. It's time to kick things into gear. It's time But, what, exactly? If you're like most people, you're ready to make a change in your life right about now. You sailed through the holidays and did your thing — you worked like a maniac to get things done before the end of the year, then you partied and celebrated, then you hopefully relaxed, and the entire time you probably had a little voice in your head reminding you that you didn't really have to worry about anything because you were going to get serious about everything in January. Well, January's here and with it usually comes a great, big question mark. In other words: "What do I do now??"

The first thing you do is to get clarity. This is the absolute most important step in making a plan for your career, life, etc. It will have an impact on everything that comes after it — the choices you make, the actions you take, the time and energy you spend, and the eventual results you'll see. Clarity is key. It's about turning your vision inside and surveying your internal landscape. It's about understanding what's important to you, not just in the here and now, but in the longterm future. It's about knowing what you wantBEFORE you start planning how to get it. This is not the time to make impulsive decisions — it's the time to sit with your thoughts, to let them marinate, to give into contemplation. In doing so, you'll raise the chances of ultimately reaching your goals because you'll be that much more in tune with them. And, just as important, you'll spend less time going down roads that lead to nowhere but wasted time and energy. Getting clarity will ensure that you're working smarter, not harder.

If it sounds like I'm a stickler for this, it's not by accident. If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you likely know that I'm passionate about goal setting — I love helping people define what they want and create a plan for reaching their goals. It's why I created The Path Class, which (if you're unfamiliar) is a six-week class devoted to goal-setting. Goal setting is the foundation of successful careers, and I can't tell you how many people I've seen completely transformed by the process of thoroughly defining what it is that they want. Once they do it, it's something that sticks with them in the form of career (and life) tools that they can use essentially forever. Pretty powerful stuff.

In fact, just recently, I heard from a former Path student of mine who excitedly emailed me to let me know that she serendipitously connected with another Path alum (their classes were years apart) and they were now working together. What she was most excited about was finding someone who was still using the career tools taught in Path Class — they shared a similar language and were empowered in their work because they came at it through (in her words) "the strength of intention." I love hearing these types of stories! And let me tell you, that strength of intention begins at one point — clarity.

Whether you define what it is that you want on your own or with the help of a coach or one of our Path Classes, make sure you honor yourself and your goals by giving this step the attention it deserves. In the end, it makes all the difference!