Today we’re going to talk about getting clarity in your projects.
And really, it doesn’t even have to be a major project. I can be a minor project – anything you’re doing that requires several you should be looking to get clarity on.
I believe there are two questions for getting clarity on a project that we can ask.
- The first is, “Q: What does done look like?“. The big overarching question.
- The second one is, “Q: What does doing look like?“
In other words, when it’s complete, what will it look like? And, what are all the steps involved in getting it done?
Let’s look at these questions separately.
Are You Done Yet?
Q: So how do you determine what “done” looks like?
A: The way you surface the answers to that is by asking a series of questions like, “if this project was incredibly successful, how would it turn out?” “If it was everything I wanted it to be, how would I know?” “If this was a smashing success, how would it end up?”
So those are the types of questions that you ask to get extensive clarity about what does done look like. Obviously if it’s anything that is more than just a few steps, it requires that you actually spend a few minutes at the very least writing out your answer to that question so that you can have greater clarity.
Now once you understand that, the next step is to figure out what “doing” looks like. To do this you need to really start listing all the steps that will get you to “done.”
I think I’ve probably shared this before, but what I like to do to determine what “doing” looks like is to brainstorm all the steps.
I don’t try and make it linear – first step, second step, etc. – because if I do that, I box myself in too quickly. So what I try to do is just brainstorm all the steps first.
Then as I’ve kind of exhausted all the steps, then I put them in order. As I put them in order, I realize I might have forgotten certain things.
Once I get all that down, I’m able to put it into a step-by-step plan that will lead me to this outcome that I’ve already defined by determining what would this look like if it was an amazing success.
A Harder Question:
How do you know the questions to ask?
That brings up a more difficult question of how do you know what you need to know, to get clarity on anything?
To answer that, I’m going to go a little bit more global here for a second; a little bit more meta-level.
The answer is really pretty simple, but it’s not that easy to do. I’m talking about the ability for you, as an entrepreneur, to trust your instincts.
Why is it so hard to do?
Well you see, you’ve been trained ever since you were a child not to trust your instincts; that somehow your instincts were bad or wrong.
When you were a baby you wanted all your toys and your parents made you share them. When you went to school, you might have wanted to stand up and walk around; but you were forced to sit in class and pay attention. If you decided that something was interesting to you if it wasn’t necessarily interesting to your parents or your teachers you might not have been able to study it or get access to it.
You’ve been taught over time to trust outside experts to give you certain answers that ultimately you should be developing yourself.
The bottom line is, and this is just my perspective, because people don’t trust their instincts, they don’t know what it is they want or need.
They end up looking for answers without knowing what it is they need to know.
The problem with getting answers to questions you don’t know.
So they end up joining a program, they buy some books, they listen to an audio but they’re not really clear what it is they’re hoping to get out of it. So they go to wherever it is they’re going; the program, the audio, the course, the book, etc. hoping to find out what’s there and what potentially they need as opposed to walking in knowing exactly what they need and what they’re there for.
When you don’t trust your instincts you end up deferring to others to tell you more and more of what you need for the clarity. Ultimately you’re not getting your own clarity. You’re getting other people’s clarity.
Most of things that you want right now, whether you really want them or not, have been ingrained in you. Someone else has told you that you need to have it. It’s obvious what those things are. You want more money. You want a good relationship with someone who loves you. You want a good business that makes you feel like you’re making a contribution and getting the security and freedom that you desire.
So here’s another big question. Do you think you need something that you currently don’t have in order to get something you want? Do you think you need something that you don’t have right now in order to get more money; in order to have a good relationship with someone who loves you; in order to have a good business where you feel like you’re making a contribution?
And if you do feel you need something, what is it exactly? If you don’t know what it is you need to have in order to get that, how will you ever find it?
Unless you’re hoping that someone else takes responsibility for knowing what it is you need and therefore giving it to you. That is a very dangerous position to put yourself in.
I’ll share a personal story about that in the next post.