Most people in marketing, business and leadership would agree that clarity and a sense of direction are crucial to success (of course there are so many definitions of what that might look like for all of us).
The basic idea is that it’s important to understand where you want to get to and create a strategy that will get you there.
Sometimes, and perhaps for some more than others, this is relatively simple. Perhaps you want to sell something that you have created. Then doing the work of understanding who it’s targeted to and how to communicate this to them can help you achieve that.
But what happens when things feel a lot more foggy? How do you achieve clarity and a sense of direction in times of transition (we are definitely in these times as a collective) when things are unfamiliar, different, new and still to be discovered?
There are many practices that help us to stay in this fog long enough so that we can feel more at ease with it. We can literally train our nervous system to help us move through uncertainty instead of run away from it. Being at ease with uncertainty makes it possible to attune ourselves to our inner compass and be able to access much greater creativity. My experience is that if you stay with the trouble long enough, something will eventually open up; a clear, even if perhaps tentative next step you can take.
That clear next step is enough to create a clear strategy around, a ‘lantern at the cross roads’ as Toko-Pa Turner puts it in the extract from her book Belonging that I quote below. We do not need to be able to see our full path ahead to have clarity and a sense of direction. Knowing the next step is often enough. Sometimes our trajectory involves zigzagging as Bayo Akomolafe put it in one of his talks. He explains zigzagging as a practice that allows you to meet allies as you go rather than charging towards a known future.
So if you find yourself in the dark fog of transition, I wholeheartedly encourage you to turn your attention inwards and develop your sensitivity to be able to find your clear next step, as small as this might be. And yes, you can totally create clear strategy around that in a way that helps you find the resources and help you need to get to the next step and the next and the next, becoming bolder and more sure-footed along the way.
I’m going to leave you with Toko-Pa’s writing which I find hits notes that my own writing is still searching for.
In this long dark, logic and plain sight are useless. You navigate by the diffuse and reflective attention of the moon and stars. Bringing a deep, penetrating silence to the knowing that lives in your bones, stirs in your womb and emanates from your dreams, you recognize that you are no longer who you used to be and not yet still who you will become. You are both, you are neither, you are perfectly between things.Toko-Pa Turner, Belonging
Even if distantly and dimly at first, abilities you never had during the day are coming alive. Where you used to seek leadership outside yourself, now yours is the deciding voice. Fear is becoming your strange ally, as you learn to honour and cradle its soft underbelly. Instinct and the mystical pull of your feeling leads the way. You can sense the density of objects around you, hear the songs of stones and know things are coming even before they’ve left.
For you, brave pilgrim, I hold this lantern at the crossroads. While others are anxious to see you arrive, I praise your vast withstanding of the uncertainty from which all meaning is born.
Feel like exploring some more?
Coaching is my way of accompanying others through the fog. Together we practice hanging out in the fog, identifying and celebrating insights and creating ease and accountability to act upon them. You can have a look at my coaching packages here, please do book a chat if you’re curious.
Some Practices for Uncertainty is a post I wrote in 2020 giving an insight into some practices that contribute to my overall well being in the midst of high levels of uncertainty.