The Implications of Clarity of Purpose

Two friends decided to change businesses since the previous ones did not survive a recession. They did not have so much –just some funds with the dreams and hopes of succeeding. Stephen had researched and wanted to go into real estate investments. He knew the pros and cons. He had been able to identify his financial Stage, chosen his real estate investing Strategy, picked a target market, and decided his investment property criteria. He had knowledge of virtually everything he needed to accelerate the ladder of real estate. Joel, on the other hand, had heard folks talk about the lucrativeness of importation, and it piqued his interest to set out on that path. Although he had discovered his line of interest, he seemed to exhaust time on dreams and hopes of succeeding rather than take action in its regard.

Stephen, having only a few amounts of money to invest, knew he needed to get some more funds to add to what he already had, so he thought of selling a car that was not so beneficial to him. He was not sure if his friend needed a car but he was bent on selling that car to anyone to achieve his own purpose of investing, so he took up his cell phone and to call his first potential customer –his friend. After the backs and forth, Joel soon started buying the idea of the car since he had always wanted another car anyway. He thought it was a good opportunity to buy a car from his friend at a cheaper rate compared to the market rate. “You know what friend; I will buy your car. I have always wanted another car anyway”He would eventually pay for it with the little funds he had saved from his previous business.

With this, Stephen was able to get the total amount of the money he needed to invest in order to make more money while Joel got a car he was not sure he needed, dreams of becoming wealthy through importations of merchandise he hadn’t figured out, and hopes of succeeding.

Who do you think is the main of purpose in this story? The one who sold a car he didn’t need to invest into something that will generate him more money to buy more cars or the one who bought a car he did not necessarily need with this saved funds, but at a cheaper rate than he would have gotten it in the car-market?

When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, any wind is the right wind.” — Seneca

Stephen and Joel may have had the same hunger for wealth and success, but the level of clarity of Stephen was distinct from that of Joel. whilst one woke up with an intention to succeed, the other woke with the dreams and hopes of succeeding. Because Joel did not have that clarity of purpose, he unintentionally became the prey of Stephen’s purpose. A lack of clarity of purpose and intentionality is one reason people move in circles for the most part of their lives without results. Unless you have clarity about the importance of the result you want to achieve, you won’t have the intention to take action.

Even if you have goals, they are very haphazard. One goal contradicts the other. You’re all over the place with no sense of direction at all. A life without clarity of purpose is as meaningless as this. Success starts with clarity of purpose. Without knowing exactly what you want, there is no way you can get it.

Imagine if you want to travel overseas, but you have yet to decide on which country to visit, can you buy a flight ticket or formulate your itinerary? Do you know how much to spend and where to stay? How do you plan to get there and what are the attractions you are going to visit?A lack of purpose means a lack of goals. It means nothing is leading you to an imaginary final destination. You literally have nowhere to go, you find it absolutely torturous to be on the way, and you don’t even like the route. A lack of purpose is just as bad as a lack of clarity of purpose.

People who are not clear about their purpose may have an idea of what they want to do with their lives, but they are not quite certain. And, because they are not certain about the steps to take to actualize their purpose, they are vulnerable and can easily become prey to people who have a sound idea of what they want to achieve. When you are clear about the context of the outcome you want, your why, you then start thinking about the action steps needed, the what. If you are clear on the purpose and importance of the result you want, and the action steps you need to undertake to achieve the outcome, you then think about how to do it.We all want to achieve a result in the easiest and simplest way possible.

When you have that mindset you become more intentional about your time. There will only be specific activities, relationships, teamwork, and collaboration that help you achieve the result you want. Focus on maximizing those and saying no to everything else. This creates better boundaries, helps you become more present, and makes you more intentional about where to invest your time.Without purpose clarity as a person, business, or organization, you will barely be able to decide between priority and severity.

Hence, waste resources placing urgency on things that are non-critical but priority and ignore those that are both critical and priority. Understanding the priority and severity matrix will help you get clear on tasks you should be doing and others that you can buy some more time to achieve. Decide what you want. Decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priority and get to work.

To achieve clarity of purpose, you need to define the success you really want. Ask yourself “What has to happen in order for me to feel successful?” when you have answered that, map out the step you need to take and things that will be critical to help you attain them. Then focus on achieving them. When you have attained this level of clarity, you begin to live each day of your life with intentions. These intentions will guide you so much as not to fall prey to other people’s purpose. It is easy to be swept away by life as we hurtle around the sun year after year. If we don’t assert ourselves and design our lives around what is important to us, we will let ourselves get swept away.

“Theree is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.”Napoleon Hill

Jack of All Trades or Master of One?

There lived a fox and a cat near a forest. Both were very close friends. They occasionally met each other and discussed their life and activities.
One day both were sitting together and were talking about the art of self-preservation. The fox asked the cat “My friend! How many techniques have you mastered to save yourself at the time of danger?”

The cat answered “My brother! I know only one technique—the art of climbing up a tree when I sense some approaching danger.”

The fox said in a deprecating manner “Ah! You know only one technique. Your life is miserable. You do not know any other technique besides climbing up a tree?”

The cat asked “My friend! How many techniques, really, do you know?”

The fox replied “It is a long story. Please wait. I will bring my notebook, in which I have written down all the techniques that I learned from different teachers at different times, to save myself in different situations.” The fox brought a big thick notebook and opened it with a lot of pride. It said, “I can run when the problem comes.” Opening another page, “I can hide in a bush.” he continued, “I can enter into a hole and protect myself.” Opening every page, the fox was narrating different techniques with vanity and pride.

While both were talking, a dog came running towards them from a little distance. The cat exclaimed, “My brother! Be careful; a dog is coming!” Warned by the cat, our poor fox kept turning the pages of his notebook while thinking what would be the best technique to save his life. The cat called out “Brother! I do not know many techniques. I only know one technique, and that is to climb up the tree. The dog cannot come there.”

The cat dashed up the tree. Despite his so-called intelligence, the foolish fox was not able to decide what to do. The dog was getting very near and the fox was in trouble, while the cat was saying “mew! mew!” from the treetop.

As the famous figure of speech goes, ‘Jack Of All Trades, Master Of None’, it basically is referred to the type of people who have dabbled themselves in many skills but somehow failed to achieve expertise in anyone. The phrase was originated in the form of just ‘jack of all trades’ by Robert Greene in 1592 to dismiss William Shakespeare, who was an actor turned into scriptwriter. It was used randomly as a form of praise by the 17th century until the term ‘master of none’ was attached to it.

Many people will argue that it is more advantageous to be a jack of all trades; having many skills while others will conservatively choose to be a master of one. Judging by the story of the cat and fox, the narrative encourages us to disregard versatility and focus on being an expert at one thing. Although this used to be the widely accepted narrative, times have changed and today’s competitive world seems to have become extra favourable to people with diverse skills.

Versatility is an extra string to a player’s bowAles Oxlade Chamberlain

For the master of one, his expertise is precious. The requirement to perform extremely well and possess expertise in a particular skill has been conventionally extremely important for almost every industry in every category, so they have a huge advantage as the quality of their work is topnotch and flawless. When a company is recruiting a master of one, they do not need to waste time on training or polishing the staff.
They know pretty much everything they need to about their job.

On the other hand, generalists – our Jacks – have a never-ending curiosity and a real desire to expand their skills and talents. They’re curious and love to learn – a valued asset to many organizations. Jacks are adept at learning and have developed methods of consuming knowledge that allow them to become quickly adept at many skills.
For a jack of all trade, they have diverse skills and can handle different tasks a little independently. In reality, these generalists are versatile and proficient in several key skills, given their diverse abilities.

They are those people who are conversant –to an extent- with copywriting, digital marketing, accounting, catering, graphic designing, public relations, finance, and administration, etc. For these people, they can easily switch jobs especially when a particular industry begins to suffer or they get downsized.

The expansive knowledge base of these generalists –jacks- makes them flexible and adaptable for multi-tasking and taking on a wide range of situations they are exposed to. They might not be experts in the field, but they can definitely contribute a lot to resolving specific matters.

Being generalists, these individuals are adept at learning quickly. They can go through multiple learning opportunities at varying levels of complexities and frequency. This can be beneficial to organizations in the long run as these candidates are always ready to learn new things as opposed to a person who has built themselves to be fixated on a particular skill.

A leader is always considered to have a lot of experience. A leader who knows almost every aspect of a business will definitely have an edge over someone who rose through ranks doing only one job. In such a situation, a jack of all trades fits pretty well in leadership roles because a person having several skills can effectively establish authority over other employees.

On choosing whether to be a jack of all trades or master of one, for some – the answer depends on what’s important to you as a person. Todd, an agency owner, gave this wise consideration, “A Jack of all trades gives you greater security and flexibility. Being a specialist gives you greater esteem, pay, and a higher ceiling. Pick your poison.”

That said, you need to understand that as you grow in your career, you must acquire new skills to be able to deliver on your job. And, this will most likely mean acquiring new skills -versatility

We can choose to either be a jack of all trades or be a master of one. But in today’s world –in order not to be left behind- one is at a more competitive edge when they are a master of many trades and master of one.

Jamie, the owner of a video production studio, says “Be a master at one craft, but know how to do others jobs. For example, a good film director knows the duties of other departments. Makes for a better director when they know how other jobs are done.”

The Requisite To Success

There was a business executive who was deep in debt and could see no way out. Creditors were closing in on him. Suppliers were demanding payment. He sat on the park bench, head in hands, wondering if anything could save his company from bankruptcy.
Suddenly an old man appeared before him. “I can see that something is troubling you,” he said.

After listening to the executive’s woes, the old man said, “I believe I can help you.”
He asked the man his name, wrote out a cheque, and pushed it into his hand saying, “Take this money. Meet me here exactly one year from today, and you can pay me back at that time.”

Then he turned and disappeared as quickly as he had come.

The business executive saw in his hand a check for $500,000, signed by John D. Rockefeller, then one of the richest men in the world!

“I can erase my money worries in an instant!” he realized. But instead, the executive decided to put the uncashed cheque in his safe. Just knowing it was there might give him the strength to work out a way to save his business, he thought.

With renewed optimism, he negotiated better deals and extended terms of payment. He closed several big sales. Within a few months, he was out of debt and making money once again.

Exactly one year later, he returned to the park with the uncashed cheque. At the agreed-upon time, the old man appeared. But just as the executive was about to hand back the check and share his success story, a nurse came running up and grabbed the old man.
“I’m so glad I caught him!” she cried. “I hope he hasn’t been bothering you. He’s always escaping from the rest home and telling people he’s John D. Rockefeller.” And she led the old man away by the arm.

The astonished executive just stood there, stunned. All year long he’d been wheeling and dealing, buying and selling, convinced he had half a million dollars behind him.

Suddenly, he realized that it wasn’t the money, real or imagined, that had turned his life around. It was his newfound self-confidence that gave him the power to achieve anything he went after.

The story highlights how much we can accomplish with self-confidence. This executive had in losing everything, lost his self-confidence which automatically plunged him into the state of inaction. He was not able to do much to salvage the situation until a man had resuscitated his confidence and strength with a fake half a million dollar cheque. And, from that moment, he became unstoppable.

One of the bitter truths about lack of self-confidence is that it leads to inaction. It leads to holding back, shyness, and often, missed opportunities.

The most successful people in the world today do not attribute their successes to a lack of confidence or timidity. If Mark Zuckerberg for instance had lacked self-confidence, he wouldn’t have ever manifested the idea of Facebook. His self-confidence was a genuine trust in himself and his abilities, and because of that level of self-confidence, the world was able to trust him. You need to be certain about your abilities, qualities, and judgment. If you are uncertain, it’s difficult to convince anyone to be certain about you. Before anyone can believe in you, you need to first believe in yourself!

A lot of times, we are capable of accomplishing so much more than we imagine but our inability to believe in ourselves shrinks us to the state of passivity so that we just accept things however they come without any deliberate effort to make anything happen. Many people are walking aimlessly or have died with life-changing ideas they were never confident enough to execute.

In an actual sense, sometimes, failure and rejection are not necessary because of a lack of skills, knowledge, or abilities. On the contrary, it is a lack of self-confidence. When you are sitting in a room full of people and cannot look them in the eyes when you talk; when you instantly begin to stutter or swallow saliva every 2seconds whilst introducing your new product to a prospective sponsor, the chances you will ever get that partnership signed is invisible, and no it is not because your product is not good enough.

Being confident about your strengths helps you draw courage and resolution when the going gets tough in life. It helps you to keep things in perspective and back yourself when everyone else says that the task ahead is nearly impossible to complete in the stipulated time. Self-confidence is to believe in yourself; feeling comfortable in your true self. It is indeed the most attractive personal brand attitude you can ever possess.

To build your self-confidence, you need to first identify those things that make you lack confidence, and then improve on them. it could be your lack of skills, unhealthy weight, or lack of eloquence. Whatever it is, identify and seek ways to improve on them.

Secondly, surround yourself with confident people. Avelo Roy said, “If you hang around 5 confident people you will be the 6th. If you hang around 5 intelligent people you will be the 6th. If you hang around 5 millionaires you will be the 6th”. The bottom line is to be selective of people in your circle. Surround yourself with self-confident people so that it can easily rub off on you.

Also, never lose count of your past accomplishments. Make a list of all the things you’ve accomplished in your life. When you’re low in confidence, this list will help you rebuild your confidence.

Everyone knows that self-confidence is important, but very few know the degree of its importance. To succeed, we need to build a commendable level of self-confidence, without which, success becomes a mirage because confidence comes naturally with success, but success comes only to those who are confident.

Importance of Preparedness

There were two farmers, Hank and Joe, who lived on adjacent properties. They were in the middle of a long drought that had left their land parched, making it almost impossible to grow crops. One day Joe looked over his fence and saw Hank working on building a new dam. “What are you doing that for? There’s no water.” Joe said. “The rain’s coming,” replied Hank. Joe looked up at the cloudless sky, shrugged his shoulders, and walked away. A couple of weeks later, Joe looked over the fence again and saw Hank working on a new irrigation system. “What’s the point of doing that? There’s still no water.” Joe shouted. “The rain’s coming,” replied Hank. “That’s what you said last time,” Joe muttered under his breath as he turned around and walked away.

A few weeks later, large black clouds started to fill the sky and then the rain finally fell, breaking the drought with a massive downfall that had the potential to change the future for all of the farmers in the region. Hank looked out from his farmhouse as his new dam and irrigation system filled with precious water, ensuring that he would benefit from the rain for a long time in the future. Joe was relieved to see the rain, but he was unprepared and his property soon dried up again. A few months later, Joe looked over his fence at Hank’s luscious farm with envy. “Why is he so lucky?” he asked himself. Hank looked back at his neighbor’s dust bowl of a farm with pity. “Why is he so foolish?” he asked himself.

The difference between being reactive and proactive is preparation. To prepare is to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity. It is a management principle whereby people get ready for a successful experience. A proceeding or readiness for a future event as a goal and an acceptable accomplished final outcome. How good are you at being prepared? Are you extremely self-disciplined and ready for every contingency or are you more of a go with the flow type and consider being prepared as a useless concept? Those who are proactive about their possibilities know that they can create opportunities for themselves, and in that process, prime themselves for success. If you feel there is not enough opportunity knocking, ask yourself if you are preparing for it as much as you are talking about it.

People often talk about how they are waiting for their big break or that if they were just given the opportunity, they would take it and run with it. But would they really? That would mean that they have to be prepared when the opportunity presents itself, and unfortunately, the majority are simply not.The reason people fail is not that there are no opportunities. Rather, they are barely prepared for opportunities when it finally comes. Imagine desiring a promotion yet not taking the time to upskill and acquaint yourself with the necessary knowledge for that desired position. When that opportunity finally comes, how do you excel? What level of preparedness will the CEO see in you enough to promote you?It is easy to imagine a dream job, but how prepared will you be for that job if the opportunity finally comes? When there are no immediate job prospects due to the economy are you still building your network, keeping your resume up-to-date and increasing your level of expertise, or just talking about getting a dream job?

One advantage of Preparation is that you can manage problems more quickly and more efficiently because you will already have the solutions at hand ready to be implemented. Athletes do it. Sports teams do it. Airline pilots do it. Professional speakers do it. Musicians do it. Event planners do it. Successful people do it.

“If I had eight hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend six hours sharpening my ax” ~ Abraham Lincoln.

Preparedness enhances self-discipline, enhances strategic thinking, develops resilience and increases flexibility. More importantly, it helps us achieve success. Life presents us with limited windows of opportunity. These windows may never come again. Many are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. There are windows that will swing open, and if you’re not ready at that moment, you have to bite the bullet and accept it as a missed opportunity. It is important that no matter how skilled, talented or knowledgeable you are in your respective field, you must spend time every day preparing. Prepare for the next step, the next goal, the next big moment when it arises — because you never know when it will come. I have found that the biggest regrets come from individuals who had a window of opportunity that they weren’t prepared for. Whether it was the job interview that they tried to wing, or the endorsement that they lost. There is nothing worse than the feeling of your dreams being close enough to touch and them slipping through your fingertips, never to return. “I will prepare and some day my chance will come”

Preparation takes time, discipline, thought, effort, research, organization, and even some meditation. It’s an investment in yourself, your product, and your business, and those who are prepared are noticed. If you want to create possibilities, prime yourself for success, and capitalize on the opportunity, you must simply begin to prepare. Take a moment to consider how you go about your daily life. Are you missing out on some wonderful opportunities because you are not preparing yourself sufficiently?

Don’t let the moment pass leaving you wondering why others are so lucky!