Clarity of purpose and direction is one of the keys to career and life success in my Common Sense Success System. I discuss it in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success. To develop your personal clarity or purpose you need to do three things. First, define what success means to you. Second, create a vivid mental image of you as a success. Once you define what success means to you personally, I suggest that you develop a clear mental picture of you as a success. This image should be as vivid as you can you make it. Third, clarify your personal values.
In a blog post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It! At the time, I was about half way through it. I’ve finished it now and all can say is “WOW!!!” Crush It! Is a great book for entrepreneurs – and for everyone else. On the surface, it’s a book about internet marketing. However, it’s also about stuff that’s important for anyone who wants to create a successful life and career. It’s about finding and living your passion. It’s about defining and living your personal brand. It’s about building relationships and creating community. It’s about caring.
Gary doesn’t mess around. In Chapter 1 he lays out his three rules for success:
- Love your family.
- Work superhard.
- Live your passion.
These three pieces of advice are the Alpha and Omega for Gary. He mentions them on page 2 in Chapter 1 and on page 134 in the Conclusion of Crush It! In between, he gives tips on what to do to build a business, but these three tips are where he starts and ends – and so should you.
Your passion should guide your clarity of purpose and direction. If you can’t get really excited about something, you don’t want to be doing it for the rest of your life. Gary is passionate about marketing, especially internet marketing. I’m passionate about helping others succeed. What are you passionate about?
A few years ago, I was featured on the cover of a book called Speaking of Success. I was right there – in between Stephen Covey, of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People fame, and Brian Tracy one of the most well known motivational speakers in the US. I was proud to share the cover of this book with these two well know thought leaders on success. But I don’t bring up this book to pat myself on the back, I bring it up because both Stephen Covey and Brian Tracy share my thoughts on the importance of clarity to success.
Brian Tracy says that the three keys to high achievement are clarity, clarity and more clarity. While I don’t say that clarity is the only key to high achievement, I do agree that it’s vitally important. Brian also says that clarity accounts for 80% of your success. That’s a really high number. Don’t quibble with it, if you think it’s too high. Instead, take the message to heart. You have to be clear on what you want if you are going to succeed. And, you can’t argue with his other points: lack of clarity leads to frustration and underachievement; and your success in life will be determined largely by how clear you are about what you really, really want.
Way too many people set out on their life’s journey without taking the time to figure out what they want out of life. This is a recipe for mediocrity at best, and disaster at worst. Not to sound like a cliché, but if you don’t know where you’re going, you won’t know when you get there. I have found that most people who don’t have a clear idea of what they want out of life, go through life with a vague sense of dissatisfaction. Don’t let this happen to you.
“Begin with the end in mind” is Habit 2 in 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. That’s just another way of saying that you need to build your success on the foundation of clarity of purpose and direction. Stephen Covey suggests that you have a vision of your future – for your life, for today and for his minute.
Once you have a clear idea of where you’re going in this life and the results you want to achieve, you should ask yourself one question at the end of every day…
Did today’s activities and accomplishments move me closer to my vision of success?
If this answer is no, rethink what you’ll be doing the next day. Also, I think that it is a good idea to stop two or three times a day and ask yourself this question…
Is what I’m doing right now moving me closer to my vision of success?
If the answer is yes – right on! Keep on keeping on. If the answer is no, stop what you’re doing and start doing something that will move you closer to your vision of success.
Gary Vaynerchuk suggests that you have to passionate about your purpose and direction in life – or else why bother. I agree. You have to really, really care about what you do. Gary says…
“Live your passion. What does that mean anyway? It means when you get up for work every morning, every single morning, you are pumped because you get to talk about or work with or do the thing that interests you the most in the world…You don’t even pay attention to how many hours you’re working because to you, it’s not really work. You’re making money, but you’d do whatever it is you’re doing for free.”
I’m lucky. I feel this way. Do you?
The common sense point here is simple. Successful people clarify their purpose and direction in life and for their career. Really successful people are passionate about their purpose and direction in life and career. So, figure out what you really, really care about. Then turn this passion into your life’s work. In Crush It! Gary Vaynerchuk shows you exactly how to do this. I’m fortunate, I’ve been able to turn my passion for helping others succeed into a profitable business. However, I learned a lot from reading Crush It! You can too. Pick up a copy, get your highlighter and get to work.
That’s my take on living your passion by clarifying your purpose and direction in life. What’s yours? Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. As always, thanks for reading.