One of the hardest things for any creative person to do is set limitations. We like to be free spirits, unchained and unhindered by any limiting factors. That’s what being creative is all about, right?
Actually, the opposite is true. Limitations and boundaries can be the best thing for your creative life, and they are a natural byproduct of clarity.When we don’t have clarity in our lives, we feel stressed out and confused. And often times, we are overcommitted to roles and responsibilities that don’t fit into our life goals.
In a previous post, I discussed four key questions that give us clarity:
• The question of identity: Who am I?
• The question of purpose: Why am I here?
• The question of audience: Who am I serving?
• The question of work: What should I be doing?
It’s a mistake to view these questions (and the answers they produce) as giving us limitations that kill our creativity. Instead, look at them as boosters that will help us fly even higher.
Specifically, there are four ways that clarity benefits your creative life:
1. Clarity gives you energy.
Clarity gives you energy because you know who you are, why you’re here, who you’re serving, and what you should be doing. That knowledge and confidence gives you tremendous momentum to overcome all kinds of challenges.
But there is also great power in knowing who you’re not, knowing what you’re not here to do, knowing who you’re not serving, and knowing what you shouldn’t be doing. Clarity helps eliminate options, and fewer options means more energy and momentum.
2. Clarity gives you direction.
Imagine that you’re standing in a room with ten open doors, and you’re wearing a blindfold. How can you choose the right door when you can’t even see clearly? You will stand there paralyzed because you don’t want to make the wrong choice.
But the more you know yourself and what you’re here to do, the more you can recognize which doors are closed and which ones are open. When you have clarity in your life, it’s like removing the blindfolds of confusion and apathy.
3. Clarity gives you a plan.
The whole topic of time management and productivity is very frustrating for most people. The reason is not because they’re not motivated. It’s because their lack of clarity prevents them from being productive. You can’t be productive if you don’t know what you should be producing in the first place.
But when you have clarity, it’s much easier (and more fun) to develop a plan for your work, networking, personal growth, and other areas related to your creative life. You’re like Luke Skywalker in an X-Wing, getting ready for a Death Star trench run. The target is unmistakable and there is no doubt you’ll know whether you hit it.
4. Clarity gives you courage.
This might be the most important benefit. When you have clarity, you have the courage to say “no” to commitments that don’t align with your vision and priorities. It doesn’t mean you suddenly become a selfish ogre who is unwilling to give their time to anyone. But it does mean that you now put more value on fulfilling your creative calling than making everyone else happy.
Clarity also gives you the courage to say “yes” to the right people and opportunities that will help you make the best contribution possible.
The bottom line: When you clearly know who you are and what you should be doing, you have incredible momentum to pursue your calling. Clarity is like a riverbank that will give you direction and take you where you need to go.
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