5 STEPS TO GAIN CLARITY IN CHALLENGING TIMES

Fear, uncertainty or overwhelm can be the byproduct of challenging times. Instead, use these 5 steps to gain clarity and make decisions with confidence now.Clarity is the satisfying experience of knowing who you are and what you want. Yet many times, challenging situations can block the ability to trust yourself. Tough times can cloud your judgment and hinder your intuition. That’s why this 5-step process can be used to gain clarity right now, put the power back in your hands, and move forward with confidence.

Summer is officially here! It’s a season I love because of the long days and warm weather–both elements that lend to memorable road trips in our van across the United States.

Only this summer seems a bit odd. Life hasn’t returned quite to normal after the numerous closures caused by COVID-19. Many individuals are still working from home due to the pandemic. Some yoga studios have re-opened, yet many are still teaching yoga virtually to accommodate state regulations.

I know our plans seem to change on a moment-to-moment basis. And I bet yours do, too.

Instead of being a victim of uncertainty, I want to share the simple steps I take to regain a sense of control in my life. These steps help me gain a broader perspective of life and view my options from a new vantage point. It’s not a one-and-done formula. However, you can revisit these steps repeatedly to make the best decisions for your future (even when the future is unknown).

Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography

WHAT IS CLARITY?

The purpose of your life is to grow, find joy, and experience freedom. You align with your purpose–or dharma– via clarity. And clarity is the knowledge of who you are and what you want.

Clarity is also defined as intelligence. It’s where you can focus on one thing at a time. It’s a state in which you are free of resistance and able to hear the wisdom of your inner being.

Once you have this clarity, the benefits are many.

You can be proactive in your life. You make decisions that resonate with your soul. You’re aware of new opportunities as they arise. You even become a magnet of positive energy to which friends, family, and yoga clients are naturally drawn.

And while clarity is your natural birthright, you can get distracted by unwanted people or things in your environment. That’s why you’ll want to use the following formula to shift your focus and gain clarity once again.

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GAINING CLARITY IS LIKE DRIVING IN THE MOUNTAINS

As many of you know, I spend much of my summer in the mountains of Northern California. All of the roads here are full of twists and turns. How you approach a curve on the highway is very similar to how you gain clarity in life. Here’s what I mean:

Step 1) Slow down. You can’t always see around the turn, or what’s next in life, so you decelerate into the curve to safely navigate the route.

Step 2) Observe your surroundings. Just like you double-check the road quality and your speed as you enter the turn, you want to increase your awareness to better understand any moment in time.

Step 3) Gain clarity. From the data you collect in Step 2, you have more wisdom and insight with which to move forward. This is true when driving and in life.

Step 4) Make decisions with confidence. This is like coming out of a turn on the road–you can once again see where you’re going and you can accelerate based on your newfound information.

Step 5) Savor your alignment. This last step is dedicated to enjoying the ride that is your life. You acknowledge the journey and appreciate how far you’ve come! You return to a comfortable cruising speed. Hopefully, you get more and more excited to see what awaits you further down the road, too!

Now that you know the 5 steps to gain clarity in your life, let’s take a look at each of these in closer detail.

(1) SLOW DOWN

This first step is about taking your foot off of the gas pedal. This is contrary to your natural instinct in challenging times. You often want to do more and explore new options. This is especially true in challenging times when you want to fix what isn’t working.

Yet many times a solution can’t be found with more action. In fact, taking action without clarity often counteracts your big picture goals. That’s why you want to slow down into the unknown. This is true in your personal life and your yoga business. Here are some tangible ways to do this:

Refine your client list

Many new yoga teachers make the mistake of taking on every possible client in order to increase their experience or stay cash positive. This is also an error made in uncertain times. Instead, free your client roster of challenging students or angry clients. This will free of your time and energy to serve your best clients even better.

Meditate

This is a practice I encourage over and over again here at Swagtail. Whether you practice passive meditation or focus the mind through activity, meditation brings you back to the present moment. It slows your attention from the busy-ness of life and returns it back to the present moment. Really, meditation creates the space for you to receive the clarity you seek.

Nourish yourself

With the global pandemic, many of you have been at home far more hours a day than normal. Yet, do you ever wonder where the time went? Or what you accomplished by the time your head hits the pillow?

In order to gain clarity, set time aside to take care of yourself. Have your husband watch the kids while you step on your yoga mat for your personal practice. Or, just as you would nurture yourself during a yoga retreat, build some of those elements into your weekly routine now.

When you decelerate into a turn on the road, you’re more safe. You can also be aware of more in your surroundings at this slower pace. This is exactly what you’ll need as you enter Step 2.

Fear, uncertainty or overwhelm can be the byproduct of challenging times. Instead, use these 5 steps to gain clarity and make decisions with confidence now.

Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography

(2) OBSERVE YOUR SURROUNDINGS

Your immediate environment gives you the best gift of all: options. And as you slow your pace, you become more aware of the people, places, and things you like. You also notice those that you don’t.

In any case, those options are the foundation of your freedom. You get to choose in every single moment where to place your focus. And you can use this new perspective of your surroundings to your advantage. You know how this works when driving on the road. But what about your business? As a yoga professional, double-check your surroundings in the following ways:

Revisit your options

There are unlimited ways you can operate your yoga business today. You can find the exact format and frequency that matches your lifestyle, time commitments, and passions. Use your slower pace to access these options.

Maybe you continue to teach in an online format. Or perhaps you include a blend of in-person and virtual classes for your clients. Jot down what’s working in the yoga industry–and other industries at this point in time. Observe what isn’t. You can use this information to decide the best ways to serve your community moving forward.

Brush up on your business skills

Learning is the foundation of mastery, and increasing your business skills are what set you apart from other teachers in the field. There are many free articles here at Swagtail that help you improve your communication and marketing. You’ll find posts that increase your profit or refine your business goals. You can even take an online course to expand your knowledge. For it’s in this new knowledge that you become far more aware of what’s possible for you and your future.

Resist the urge to fight diversity

A few weeks back, I wrote about yoga as an inclusive practice that is designed to connect you with your higher self. Yoga is about uniting your physical self and soul self throughout your life experience.

The problem is, many times in life people fight against the things they don’t like. They push against diversity. Instead of observing their surroundings as they “drive by,” they want to remove all of the obstacles. They want to mandate a speed, recognize a superior lifestyle, or force all others to comply with their preferences.

With over 7 billion people on the planet, that’s impossible. And you’ll be wasting your energy if you fight the unwanted in your surroundings. That’s why observing your surroundings in Step 2 here is a neutral process. You get to choose what to focus your attention on—what is wanted or what is unwanted.

To keep your energy levels high, I do suggest you focus on what you want. Turn your focus to the things, people and experiences you like. It’s from this place of power that you’ll gain the clarity you seek to move forward. That’s where Step 3 comes into play.

“Expansion occurs with choice, and choice appears when there are options, and options are only present when there is contrast in your environment.” – Abraham-Hicks

(3) GAIN CLARITY

Clarity is what arises from the heightened awareness you cultivated in Step 2. It’s the greater understanding you have about yourself based on your life experience.This clarity might arise in subtle forms first, such as a better feeling emotion. Clarity could take the shape of a new idea. Or, you might have a blinding flash of the obvious that rocks your world.

For example, last year I was driving around Lake Tahoe and contemplating where to go next in my yoga business. I had just taken a yoga class and was pumped at the freedom to travel and experience such amazing teachers. I also wanted to offer new ways to further education for them with Swagtail.

My thoughts kept returning to an ongoing training program. So I contemplated many names for such a course. Just as the idea of naming this course the Yoga Business Academy arose, one of my ball caps that sit above the driver’s seat in the van, fell onto my head. It startled me and caused me to laugh out loud.

Whether you gain clarity in a synchronistic way being hit over the head with an actual object, or you just have greater insight in the moment, clarity is just the beginning. It’s the next two steps of this process that will determine what you do with your newfound knowledge.

How to gain clarity now?

Write about your experience. Yes, grab a pen and your journal and put your thoughts down on paper. You can use a computer to highlight your insights, too, yet the physical act of writing is slow in nature. It forces you to keep that mindful pace as you observe your surroundings.

Or, step on your mat and move your body. As Danna Pycher says in her TED talk, “we carry our lives with us not only in our minds, but all over our body. Our bodies and minds are intrinsically connected.”

So when you take physical postures and move the breath through your being, you’re allowing clarity to enter the space you’re creating. And often you’re free of distractions on your mat. It’s just you and your breath. It’s just you and the physical body. You’re alone with your thoughts.

Fear, uncertainty or overwhelm can be the byproduct of challenging times. Instead, use these 5 steps to gain clarity and make decisions with confidence now.

Photo Credit: Faye Cornish

(4) MAKE DECISIONS WITH CONFIDENCE

Clarity is precise, visible, and known. It’s understanding yourself and the world from a place of alignment. When you’re in alignment, there is no room for fear or uncertainty. So with the clarity you created in Step 3, you now have the confidence to make decisions that are right for you.

The best part is that these decisions aren’t forced or rushed.

This is because you have greater insight about what to do next. This is similar to the visibility to have coming out of a turn on the mountain road. You actually get to hit the accelerator again and begin to build momentum into the next phase of your trip.

The visibility you have helps with this. It reduces the stress about what to do next, and it takes the pressure off to do it all at once.

Ways to make decisions confidently

  • Let your ideas marinate. Sometimes action is not the best decision in the moment. Many times, you want to give your ideas space to grow. You want to water them like you would a new seed in your garden. Write about your insights or share them with a trusted friend. Then, when the timing is right, your ideas can manifest into specific actions down the road.
  • Visualize the outcomes you want to see based on the clarity you gained in Step 3. This is another way to let your ideas evolve and grow. This idea is known as future-pacing. It’s also the simple practice of using your imagination. Simply use all of your senses to envision how your insights and decisions can play out in the best way possible. This will add even more zest to the actions you take toward reaching your goals.
  • Make one decision at a time. Discern what steps will be needed to get you to your goal, and move forward one step at a time. For example, when the idea of the Yoga Business Academy came to mind, I didn’t start it right away. I did some research online. I filed for a US trademark on the name. Then, I laid out a course timeline, curriculum, and price structure. Do the same with your new ideas. The clarity will continue to unfold before you as you act in this deliberate way.

(5) SAVOR YOUR ALIGNMENT

This last step is where you celebrate this entire process. It’s where you’ve made it successfully through the mountain turn (the unknown) and you acknowledge how far you’ve come.

Fear, uncertainty or overwhelm can be the byproduct of challenging times. Instead, use these 5 steps to gain clarity and make decisions with confidence now.Not only do you appreciate the clarity that brought you to this moment, but you savor the inner alignment that resulted from it. You delight in the satisfaction of knowing what you want. And give yourself credit for having the courage and foresight to make the decisions that match those preferences.

In Step 4, you built momentum out of the turn. In this step, savoring the satisfaction is like adding oxygen to the fire. It fuels the flame and builds even more momentum in the direction you desire. Now it’s time to cruise back into a sustainable pace for your life.

What speed is that?

Well, it varies for everyone. For you, savoring your alignment might be an inner calm that allows you to keep a slower pace. Or, you might be excited about your clarity and decisions and want to accelerate forward with your new insights. There is no right or wrong way to stay in this satisfied space.

Just know that when you sync with your higher self or Source, you heighten all levels of well-being. This way you can stay at the higher vibration no matter what occurs down the road.

Photo Credit: Ember and Earth Photography

PUTTING IT TOGETHER

Challenging times are a natural part of life and they appear in a multitude of ways. You might encounter illness, social unrest, decline in your yoga business, financial stress, or even changes in your relationships. Yet you can use these 5 steps to gain clarity when you face the unknown. Use them any time to slow down, return to personal alignment, and confidently make decisions to move forward.

Take Action Now:

  • Assess your schedule for the next 7 days. Where can you carve out some time on your calendar for yourself? This is a great way to slow down and gain clarity.
  • Double check your to-do list for the upcoming week as well. Where can you delegate tasks to others and free up some mental and physical energy to gain clarity in your life.
  • Start a business journal. This is a great way to track your ideas and insights in a very specific domain–teaching yoga and operating your yoga business. Your journal will give you a chance to observe clarity as it arises in real time, and it will help you rediscover clarity when doubt or uncertainty creeps in during challenging times.
  • Share your secrets on how you gain clarity in your life! Please leave your insights in the comments section below so we can all learn from them!
2020-06-30T23:08:36+00:00

About the Author

Hi there! I'm Kym Coco, an ocean-loving yogi who is passionate about writing, travel, and great food (among a long list of other things). I feel absolutely alive on my mat, and I created Swagtail as a way to channel that prana into powerful, practical tools that can be used by other fabulous teachers in the yoga community!

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