This 20-Minute Writing Exercise Will Provide Immediate Focus (and Clarity) On Your Life Goals

Get immediate clarity on what’s really important.

Clarity is a rare, elusive gift.

Most people don’t have clarity. They are unfocused and unsure on many of the most important areas of life — health, relationships, career, spirituality, passion, or the future.

This was me for most of my life.

In the past decade, I’ve wanted to be:

  • A Navy SEAL
  • A chef
  • An SEO expert
  • A CEO of…something
  • A novelist
  • A pastor
  • An entrepreneur
  • A digital nomad
  • A blogger

In the midst of these and a dozen other fleeting interests, I was in a constant state of dissatisfaction for years. It was terrible. I had no direction, and was often filled with self-loathing for my indecisiveness.

One time, I bluntly actually asked a career coach: “Will I ever find a job I don’t hate?” A string of dead-end odd jobs over the years had left me jaded and angry.

She said I would.

I didn’t believe her.

It’s taken me years to find clarity for my goals. Sometimes, things still seem hazy and directionless. I still have panicky moments where I feel completely lost.

The other day, fellow writer Zak Slayback wrote an illuminating article about clarity. It contained some of the most concise, best-worded questions about clarity I’ve ever come across (where were you 10 years ago, Zak!).

I know what you’re thinking; you’ve seen these click-bait listicles before. They offer a brief buzz of entertainment which fizzles into nothingness a minute later.

This is not one of those articles.

Stick with me here. Because after I spent 20 minutes answering these simple questions, my clarity and focus for my huge life goals skyrocketed.

If you’re someone who wants more clarity and focus with their big goals, find 20 minutes. Get a pen and paper, and answer these 6 simple questions as honestly as you can.

(I’ve included some of my answers below to kickstart some inspiration).

Here are the questions:

  1. I feel most unhappy when I…

2. I dread …

3. I am good at but do not particularly enjoy…

4. I cannot imagine doing … every day for the rest of my life.

5. I don’t understand why anybody would…

6. … does not appeal to me.

1. I feel most unhappy when I…

  • am forced to work with frustrating people that force me to do busy work that doesn’t accomplish anything
  • when I have to listen to uninformed bosses that don’t know how to lead me
  • can’t write and do what I want to do with my time
  • am forced to work long hours doing things I hate doing
  • am forced to follow someone else’s silly schedule
  • can’t do things the way I want to do them

2. I dread …

  • going to work at a job I hate
  • dealing with rude and mean people
  • confrontation with difficult, assertive people
  • having to work on things I don’t want to do
  • having to spend time on tasks I don’t care at all about

3. I am good at but do not particularly enjoy…

  • Data entry
  • Empathizing with angry customers
  • Putting out fires made by other people

4. I cannot imagine doing … every day for the rest of my life.

  • working at a boring 9–5 job
  • busywork
  • data entry
  • working with people I don’t like or respect
  • staying in one city
  • a job where someone has total control over my career progression
  • phone sales
  • commuting more than 30 minutes each way

5. I don’t understand why anybody would…

  • want to work at a boring job that crushes their spirit
  • work with rude, annoying, stupid people
  • not travel the world
  • not make passive income
  • let one person dictate their career success
  • be content to simply “survive” then they could thrive
  • let others bully and intimidate them

6. … does not appeal to me.

  • Anything I can’t control and create myself
  • Following orders from people I don’t trust
  • Living by someone else’s rules

These questions helped me to some critical insights about my career and life’s work.

  • I’ve discovered I love working for myself, and dislike working in constricting, limits environments. Therefore, entrepreneurial and self-led endeavors are an excellent fit for me.
  • I don’t like busywork like data entry or email responses. I would do well to avoid those tasks and conserve energy for what I really love — writing, creating, and being with loved ones.
  • Settling into an environment where others control my actions kills my soul. I need to avoid those environments in order to thrive.
  • If I want to achieve my enormous goals — owning a lucrative business, working from home, developing a huge online following — I need to put in some serious work. I need to say no to anything that will distract me from that.

I hope this 20-minute exercise gave you as much clarity as it gave me.

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