In part 1 of this series, we discussed the importance of knowing your life story, including understanding who you are and what drives you. Here, we will focus on how to build your life story and the role of clarity in achieving personal success.
The power of clarity
Central to building your life story is embracing who you are—fearfully and wonderfully created for a specific purpose (Psalm 139:14).
We know that purpose is the foundation for building a vision, and without vision, chaos ensues (Proverbs 29:18).
Purpose brings clarity:
- Sharpens focus
- Ignites enthusiasm
- Fosters commitment
- Increases productivity
Once you’ve identified your vision and purpose, define them according to SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely … don’t be vague.
Road to purpose
Whereas many resources are available to help you discover your life’s purpose, here are 3 suggestions to help you along the way:
1. Conduct periodic self-evaluations
- What am I deeply passionate about?
- How can I develop my skills and abilities?
- What societal need or problem can I tackle?
Answering these questions will help provide clarity, and pave the way towards defining your life’s purpose.
2. Weed out the nonessentials
Don’t be a hoarder, intent on pursuing every dream, opportunity, and idea. Decide which ideas or dreams are important and worth pursuing, and weed out the nonessentials
Eliminate old habits and activities before starting new ones. Your time is precious; funnel your energy into activities that fuel your life story.
3. Learn to say “NO”
Contrary to popular belief, “no” is not a dirty word.
The endowment effect—a phenomenon coined by Kahneman, Knetsch, and Thaler—illustrates the importance of this 2-letter word. Also known as the divestiture aversion, the endowment effect is the tendency for people to demand a considerably higher price for an item that they own, than they would actually pay for (read more here). It is the reason why items reach a higher price at auctions and why people become possessive of parking spaces, or their favorite mug or pen.
So how does this apply to our present discussion? Tom Stafford from BBC Future describes the endowment effect as a “reflection of a general bias in human psychology to favor the way things are, rather than the way they could be.” His proposed solution for counteracting this effect is to ask the question: “If I didn’t own this item, how much effort would I put in obtaining it?” Likewise, according to leadership consultant and writer Greg McKeown, we can apply this solution to career clarity or life opportunities by asking: “If I didn’t have this opportunity, how much would I be willing to sacrifice in order to obtain it?”
If the answer to these questions includes “no,” you know what to do!
In life, we should always strive to move from glory to glory, by purposefully and strategically decluttering our lives through periodic self-assessments.
Stepping into purpose involves recognizing the danger of the endowment effect and saying “no” to dreams and opportunities that although amazing, would deter you from your global vision.