How To Shift From Overwhelm To Strategic Clarity

You’ve got a clear picture of what you want to achieve – an imagined future that’s so vivid, you could reach out and grab it. And, yet, it feels a million miles away from where you stand right now. To move toward that vision, you need to shift from overwhelm to strategic clarity. 

I know how you feel. 

Before 321 Liftoff even entered my mind, I had a simple idea for my career: 

What if there was a way to diversify my sources of joy, learning, and satisfaction, just like you would diversify any financial portfolio? 

(You can read more about the 321 Liftoff origin story here, by the way.) 

At the time, it was a huge idea for me. 

And, naturally, I had no idea where to start. I was overwhelmed. 

Sure, I had role models – coworkers who had started their own side hustles. I had inspiration – books and motivational TED Talks

But, I lacked perspective on how to move from where I was to where I wanted to go. 

I was directing all of my energy on where I was that I didn’t have any left over to imagine something new. 

I needed the thing that has now become the centerpiece of my personal mission: strategic clarity. 

321 Liftoff | How To Shift From Overwhelm To Strategic Clarity

WHAT IS STRATEGIC CLARITY? 

Strategic clarity is the ability to define and achieve a vision for the future – even in the face of obstacles and the usual distractions that come when you’re building something new. 

When you’re overwhelmed by what’s right in front of you, it’s your ability to pick your head up and say “I know who I am, where I’m going, and what to do next.”

And, yes, it’s a skill you can learn. 

The legendary Japanese swordsman, Miyamoto Mushashi, said: “Perception is strong and sight is weak. In strategy it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”

As a human being, you’ll feel a natural inclination to focus “up close,” reacting to the day to day things in your life: the setbacks, the mistakes, the sales (or lack thereof), the missed goals, the distractions, etc. 

Your perception of the things that are “up close” can take up a lot of space in your mind, which takes your attention and energy away from “distanced things” like: your values, your long-term vision, and the future that your hard work is all in service of. 

In other words, it’s difficult to see the big picture when you’re so focused on the stuff right in front of you. 

Strategic clarity can help you regain your perspective – because once you have a clear vision, you need to know how to activate it and how to return to it when you’re stressed and lost in the weeds of work.

321 Liftoff | How To Shift From Overwhelm To Strategic Clarity

FROM OVERWHELM TO STRATEGIC CLARITY

Here’s the shift in practical terms of what you might say to yourself: 

From: “I know what I want and I want it now. I’m ruminating on how I don’t have that thing yet and so I feel stuck.”

To: “I know what I want and I want it now. And, that passion is fueling me to go forward, one step at a time.”

Let’s unpack that a bit further. 

1. It’s okay to want the thing (whatever it is) quickly. 

Of course, it’s not likely to come quickly, but it is normal to feel that way. 

Remember, every successful business, entrepreneur, or social media star started at the beginning too. You can’t compare where you are today to where they are today – it’s not fair to you. 

You’re at the starting line and you’re eager to win. There’s nothing wrong with that. 

2. The shift hinges on how you direct your energy. 

Will you push your energy inward to an unstable bottle of thoughts and ideas? Or, will you push that energy outward into the world to learn and grow and better shape your vision? 

The former is a confining, anxiety-fueled energy where you continue to feel stuck. And, the latter is an expansive, emboldening energy where you can make things happen. 

It might be that you’re doing one of these unconsciously today. To make the shift, you need to notice when you’re ruminating and make a conscious choice to change. 

3. The truth is that action yields clarity. 

You will never achieve what you want to achieve if you’re stuck inside your head. In fact, you’ll better understand your vision – what you want and what you don’t want – through the actions you take. 

When you stretch the boundaries of your comfort zone with action, you’ll get feedback about where to keep stretching and where to pull back.

321 Liftoff | How To Shift From Overwhelm To Strategic Clarity

MAKE THE SHIFT

Through 1:1 coaching, I help people who are starting businesses achieve strategic clarity, so they can imagine a new future for themselves and their projects. 

To learn more, check out my services page. 

REFLECTION 

Think back to the last time you felt a sense of overwhelm…

On a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is “I was ruminating on things that were up close” and 10 is “I kept my sights on distanced things”), where did you fall? 

It’s okay to be anywhere on that scale. 

And, it’s not to say that, with strategic clarity, you won’t ever feel overwhelmed. It’s that when you feel overwhelmed – and you likely will – strategic clarity is your path away from that place. 

ONE MORE THING

Starting and growing a business is not a straight line.

It can feel messy. It zigs and zags. It starts and stops. It can feel frustrating even for the most seasoned business owners. And, that’s ok.

It’s also an exciting challenge. It’s going to stretch you. You’re going to learn a lot – not just about business, but about yourself.

And, that’s why it’s worth it.

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