Clarity — Take Action and the Next Step Will Reveal Itself

by Kim on April 8, 2010

People jumping mid air

Wouldn’t it be nice to have a guaranteed personal manual to success? A road map that says if you do X, Y and Z, you will ‘neatly’ go from point A to point B. There would be no wrong turns, no detours, no unexpected stops.  It can happen, but life throws in curve balls to keep us on our toes.

In truth, building your dreams can include a lot of trial and error — disappointments and successes, roadblocks, starts and false starts. It can be tiring, but you know the work is worth the rewards.

What I think we are looking for is clarity.  A concise picture of what we want with the understanding and realization that yes, we’re on the right path.

Unfortunately, some people get so caught up in the quest for clarity that they never move beyond having ideas. They are constantly gathering information, exploring new possibilities and second-guessing their ideas. Proper preparation is important. However, if you want to be successful, at some point, you have to take a deep breath and jump in.

The Momentum of Forward Motion

Remember Newton’s First Law of Motion?

An object at rest will stay at rest until another force acts upon it.

And an object in motion will stay in motion until another force stops it.

Sir Isaac’s actual language is slightly different, but you get the general idea, right? It’s called inertia. While Newton was talking about physics, it can just as easily be applied to almost any aspect of life.

Think back to a time when you were feeling super productive. You were totally in the zone – once you finished one project, you were on to another. You felt awesome — productive and accomplished. That’s the kind of inertia I’m talking about!

Of course, on the flip side, there is the ‘spend all day on Facebook and Farmville’ type of inertia. The ‘I just can’t get it in gear’ inertia. That’s the type of situation you definitely want to avoid. Before you know it, the entire day has passed you by without a single productive task done. It doesn’t take much for that one day to turn into two days and soon, you could have a whole week of lost time on your hands.

Avoid the mistake of lost time. How? By starting work on something – anything!  As you know, there is no shortage of ideas.  If it’s just not clicking, give yourself a 15 or 30 minute break and try a different task. Soon, you’ll find that sweet spot, and inertia will keep you rolling in the right direction.

Clarity Comes from Forward Motion

Once you start taking action, the next step will become clear. Clarity comes from action.  Every experience is an opportunity to learn, make adjustments, and improve.

As you begin work on a project, you will quickly realize the next step. You may start a project and see that you have a few other loose strings to tie up. Or you will have that wonderfully delicious stroke of genius about how to clear the hurdles in front of you, increase happiness or otherwise create the balance you seek.

These are not things you will find from brainstorming endlessly. They only become apparent when you are in the thick of your authentic life. When you are down in the trenches, you can see the ground in front of you clearly.

What are some of your favorite strategies to create forward momentum and gain clarity?

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Wilson Usman April 8, 2010 at 8:37 am

I think what keeps me in momentum is having a list like my tadalist from tadalist.com, because I just want to cross off those tasks before I go to bed and also with each task I put myself an impossible time frame by using another online site e.ggtimer.com that puts some pressure on me to finish it as quick as possible. I understand that not everyone works great under pressure.

If you don’t work great under pressure just pick one task, that you know will move you forward to your goals and break it down into three simple steps, as you move along cross those steps until you are done, reward yourself with a short break or celebrate it doing something that you like but only for a 15-20 min max. Okay to the next task. Good luck always stay doing something productive, something I took from the 4hourworweek, is I ask a couple of questions, Are you inventing things to do to avoid the important and Are you being productive or just being busy? Keep those always in your mind I keep them on a post it note everywhere around the house.

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 9:43 am

Hi Wilson,

Thank you for the e.ggtimer.com resource. It’s awesome. I haven’t used the tadalist, but I’m familiar with their associate basecamphq.com. If you have a virtual joint project to work on, this beats email!

I appreciate your tips and I don’t mind occasional pressure. Another question to ask is, “Is this task taking me one step closer to my desired outcome or not?”

I’m glad I’m not the only one with post-its around the house 🙂

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Mandy Allen April 8, 2010 at 12:21 pm

I love this post, Kim. When I was studying for my PhD I used to get so very focussed any tasks I undertook went like a dream. The flip side of it was when I got stuck I could become completely unmotivated and just sit staring at the blank page. It always took a littel while for me to realise that this was the time to get out and do something else! Of course the result is it kick started me into a focussed mind again!

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 9:47 am

Welcome Mandy,

It’s wonderful when you can be in a productive flow. Getting stuck is life’s way of saying, ‘it’s time to change things up.’ 🙂

BTW, great gravatar!

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Mandy Allen April 13, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Thank you, it’s my favourite photo – no surprise there!

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy

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Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey April 8, 2010 at 12:29 pm

Sometimes self-discipline can be our best friend! Especially when we have things like facebook and farmville calling our name!! I find that when I start early in the morning and get a momentum I can carry that energy pretty far throughout the day. But if I procrastinate and wait until later to take action, I usually never end up being productive at all. At least not on that particular day.

Great post my friend, You rock Kim!!
Jarrod

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

You make a great point Jarrod. The way you start your day sets the tone. So, it’s important to set your intentions and expectation on what you would like. i.e. productive, relaxing, easy and effortless, fun, etc.

Love it!

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Baker April 8, 2010 at 1:55 pm

Hello Kim
I really enjoyed this post. I am in a very nice flow of action at the moment. This is a great reminder and you provide great insights as to the energy behind our actions that leads to further success. I have found in my personal life that it is better to take action on something you get a gut feeling for, than allow that feeling to just subside and remain stagnant. This is an excellent post on stuff that I do intuitvely, worded very nicely and easy to follow.
Have a nice rest of the week!

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 9:57 am

Hi Baker,

Thank you for the kinds words. I remember being introduced to your positive flow just weeks ago — it’s part of my inspiration. You can’t go wrong following your heart and intuition.

Have a blessed weekend.

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Greg Blencoe April 8, 2010 at 7:01 pm

Hey Kim,

Thanks for the post!

One of the things I have learned not to do is to try to “make things happen.” In the law of attraction community, this would be called “swimming upstream” (versus “swimming downstream” and going with the flow).

I’ve learned that when I’m trying to make something happen, I should try something different. I have been taught through learning about the law of attraction to take inspired action. I think the difference between the two is that trying to make something happen does not feel good, but inspired action does feel good.

I’ve only started doing this recently, but the results have been very good.

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 10:04 am

Hi Greg,

Great seeing you again!
You’re not alone — I’ve tried ‘swimming upstream’ and ‘fitting a square peg in a round hole,’ you name it. It’s part of our learning experience and contributes to who we are today — wiser and stronger, and no where close to being done with having more life lessons 😉

I encourage inspired action. It definitely goes with feeling good.
Thanks for your input!

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Jeremy Johnson April 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm

I feel like this post was written as if you were coaching me in person. This is right up my ally.

I like the take a deep breath and jump in mentality. It is that mentality that has my website existing today and meeting people who are doing very awesome things like yourself. Had I not just jumped in, I would never have met some of these fine folks.

Yes my website needs a bit more organizing, but heck how would I have ever known had I not started.

I like that you mention objects in motion staying in motion in accordance to Newton’s Law. I think there should be a large STOP sign appearing whenever Farmville or any kind of time sinking activity has been going on for more than 15 minutes.

What are some of your favorite strategies to create forward momentum and gain clarity? I just start talking and doing whatever comes to mind. I also play upbeat and techno music and jump up and down here in my basement alone. I visualize myself doing wonderful things. I get myself in a peak state. It’s so crucial to get in a clear and compelling state to go after what you want. I’m not sure I ever did anything in the past when I was sitting hunched over and my head down and in a ‘passive’ mode.

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Kim April 9, 2010 at 10:18 am

Hi Jeremy,

Great tips! It would be awesome to have a STOP sign pop up after 15 minutes on some of those apps. We could incorporate it with Wilson’s e.ggtimer somehow 🙂

You raise an important point. Being online involves the mind, body, and spirit in a unique way. Using music, getting into a peak state, and allowing ideas to bubble up from the subconscious are all awesome ways to move forward. I’ve experienced the need to get my blood circulating even more, after starting a blog!

I’m happy to have ‘jumped in’ with a great community of support and inspiration. Thank you for being a part of it!

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Mark April 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

Very good advice. It is true many people become inert and then they wonder why nothing is happening. We must take the first step, we must create motion even if the motion is wrong. There are no good reasons to wait, now is the only time we have, we need to do it now.

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Kim April 10, 2010 at 4:26 pm

Welcome Mark,

It’s not surprising that some people wonder why nothing is happening when they haven’t taken action. It can be fear, indecision, lack of knowledge, or resistance — all inner roadblocks. The point is to create momentum and as you say, ‘even if the motion is wrong’ at least you get feedback and can then correct your course of action. Indeed, ‘now is the only time we have.’

Thank you for contributing.

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Catrien Ross April 9, 2010 at 9:26 pm

Kim, thank you, this is such an important topic. I agree with you that clarity comes with moving into clarity. The actual motion, fueled by intention, is what clears the path forward, not simply the preparation to move. We become by doing, and our actions show us what we are and what we need to be. Clarity comes through this power of action.

Greetings again from the mountains of Japan – Catrien Ross.

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Kim April 10, 2010 at 4:36 pm

So good to see you again Catrien. You were missed. I love your point, ‘we become by doing.’ I remember participating in a discussion about who we must Be, what we must Do, to experience and Have that which we desire. Your contribution reminded me of this simple, but powerful combination.

Be well.

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ayo April 10, 2010 at 1:52 am

hi kim

how are you?

you’ve just shared all thats on my heart. i love that line take action and the next step will reveal itself. sometimes the revelation of the next step is go on!!! and one feels motivated to push further even through difficult circumstances and terrains.

on the other hand the revelation of the next step could be ooohhh!! you shouldnt have ventured into this terrain.

the bottom line is for every action there’s a reaction either positive or negative (trying match up with your physics lol!!!)

now could someone explain to me what farmville is considering i just joined facebook 6/7mths ago. this is 5th time i’m coming across it on a blog today and there’ news on yahoo a child spent his mums money on it. i guess i shouldnt really know.

anyway kim you have a lovely weekend and thanks for offering to write for the 4th edition of the magazine in may 2010.

take care

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Kim April 10, 2010 at 4:47 pm

Hello Ayo,

I’m glad this resonated with you. I know you’ve been taking massive action, have remained open to feedback, and are experiencing great results. Congratulations!

You’re a joy and inspiration. I’ll be emailing you soon 🙂
Have a beautiful weekend.

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Tra April 10, 2010 at 12:13 pm

Agreed. Finishing a task is easy, getting started is ALWAYS the hardest part. I think on those days when you’re feeling rather lazy and unproductive, actually doing ANYTHING (aside from sitting around on facebook or whatever other time wasting activity you engage in) is better than doing nothing. Go exercise, pick up a book, start on a project… ANYTHING! You can perfect any mistakes along the way, but you can’t go back and regain that lost time.

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Kim April 10, 2010 at 4:56 pm

Thank you for your great comment Travis! Time is of the essence and there is always room to learn from possible mistakes. Life is a lesson. I know when I get stuck, it’s great to get up, get out, and change things up.

I appreciate you stopping by!
Have an awesome weekend.

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Ben Weston April 11, 2010 at 5:20 pm

Hey Kim,

I feel like this is something I keep having to learn with my blog. Although I often have no idea what I’m doing, I learn more just by taking action. No amount of research and twidling my thumbs helps me gain clarity in what to do. Constantly taking some action steps everyday has helped immensely. It sounds like you’re doing the same too!

Take care,
Ben

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Kim April 12, 2010 at 9:01 am

Hi Ben,

You’re absolutely right, I’m on a similar journey online. Then, I revisit the mantra ‘Do It, Delegate It, or Delete It!’ to experience progress 😉 I thoroughly enjoyed the resource and help that you received in making changes. I’m happy to be a part of your evolution and growth.

See you soon!

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Lana {Daring Clarity} April 12, 2010 at 12:25 am

Kim, this is a timely post for me. Just take the next step. I’ve just written on my blog – once you take the first step, the next step gets lit. And then the next and the next. Our mind gets more and more comfortable with taking action and starts helping us along the way. Really, all it takes is to take the next step. Simple and brilliant. Thank you!

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Kim April 12, 2010 at 9:06 am

Hi Lana,

It’s wonderful to have your energy here.
It is often that simple, isn’t it? Sometimes we throw in dastardly thoughts that undermine progress when we simply need to let go and move forward.
Thank you for stopping by 🙂

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Ben April 12, 2010 at 2:31 am

Start start start. Tony Robbins said that a decision for change without action that follows it is simply wishing thinking.

Action is the key. Once you start to create motion the path you’re on will slowly show itself and you can the steer your vessel the way you want it to go. A ship in harbour doesn’t cross the ocean. You have to set it to sail.

A brilliant post Kim thank you!

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Kim April 12, 2010 at 9:10 am

Hi Ben,

You are a master student and a master teacher. I appreciate your anecdotes and contribution. 🙂

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Mick Morris April 12, 2010 at 2:40 am

The easiest way to keep momentum is to keep asking what is the next step, and what do I have to do to start it….

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Kim April 13, 2010 at 9:31 am

Welcome Mick,

Great point. Keeping the inner dialogue on point and positive builds momentum. It can be that simple.

Thank you for stopping by!

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J.D. Meier April 13, 2010 at 12:57 am

I like how you put it so succinctly — clarity comes from forward motion.

It’s the perfect reminder that we need to learn and respond over analysis paralysis.

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Kim April 13, 2010 at 9:19 am

Hi J.D.

I’m enjoying your spot on succinct analogies today!
It’s great to see you here. Thank you for contributing.

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Adrian Swinscoe April 13, 2010 at 4:32 am

Hi Kim,
Great post.

It seems to me that there are only two states in the universe or nature. One of inertia and one of momentum. Once we recognise which one we are in then we can, more easily, understand what needs to get done. Newton had it so right!

Adrian

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Kim April 13, 2010 at 9:42 am

Hi Adrian,

Happy to have you here. Thanks for pointing out the importance of assessing where we are as it helps determine where we are headed.

I appreciate your contribution!

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Vincent April 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

Getting past the inertia is the starting point for us to gather momentum. Most people have problem starting but things only happen when we start taking action. One action will lead to another and the momentum will have a snowball effect.

Cheers,
Vincent

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Kim April 14, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Welcome Vincent,

Great to have you here. You’re right on point to start taking action to build momentum. It’s a great way to build “health, money, success.” 😉

Cheers – from Los Angeles to Singapore!

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Eric April 19, 2010 at 3:04 pm

Taking action is the answer to many problems. Just by doing so a whole range of doors open up and opportunities arise. We will never experience greatness without first doing something.

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Kim Maglinti April 21, 2010 at 2:43 pm

Hi Eric,

You’re so right — we can’t manifest opportunities with inaction!
I appreciate your contribution 🙂

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Therese Miu April 21, 2010 at 10:23 am

Hi Kim, I have been on a go.go.go lately!! It’s been great but I think next week I will make time just for hubby & I to enjoy the nature and be in stillness. No Plans. No phones. No computer. No other tech gadgets.
Just me, him, and being truly present. Loving each moment.
Thank You for this 🙂

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Kim Maglinti April 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

Hi Therese,

That sounds heavenly!! Enjoy, laugh lots, and love 🙂

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