Rather than make New Year’s resolutions, I picked a theme for the year.  That theme was clarity. Having clarity means my actions and words align with my values and purpose.  This keeps me going in a desired productive direction.

As I was clearing out old files and closets for the New Year, a new word popped into my brain: Clearity

It’s actually not an official word, but it is my new theme.  Here is why – clarity often requires a clearing. Think of a clean canvas, an unplanted garden, an empty room, a blank page – all places to potentially create anew without the distortions of the past or present.

I am not clearing out everything in my life, but as I approach decisions and conversations I’m determined to clear away my doubts, fears and judgments.  I know I can do this by deepening my centeredness, continuing to refine my intentions, and choosing growth-minded support through people and books. If a decision doesn’t feel clear, it’s a no, at least until more new information is gathered or more old stuff is cleared away.  Making a slower clearity decision is better than making a poor decision quickly. Unless it is a medical emergency, most things can pause.

Clearity has huge relevance to the work I do with leaders and teams.

Here is how:

Some of the most rewarding work I’ve done is with teams who have a lot of dysfunctional conflict. Often, team members think we are going to get together and hash out all of their problems.

Hashing out problems doesn’t work. And makes matters worse.

Clearity comes from setting aside the ‘issues’ so you have a clearing.  Some people get uncomfortable setting aside the issues. But, if you try to clear them up by ‘hashing’ them out the problems get bigger and often more emotional and convoluted – like too much paint on a canvas, a garden overrun, too much clutter in the room. Have you experienced that?

Create a clear space first.  

An Einstein quote comes to mind: “You can’t solve a problem at the same level it was created.”

I believe it is essential people clear their old conflict habits and learn how to Spiral Impact.  Then with the guidance of a skilled facilitator create a clear values-based agreement of how they want to work together.  

This process allows people to see their co-workers in new ways often revealing how much they have in common.  It creates a safe space to explore the future and shines a light on possibilities. It may also reveal lack of fit for some people.  They can move on, and it will be clearer for all. We may not go from highly dysfunctional to Kumbaya – but there will be clarity about next steps!   Those next steps must be nurtured and supported along the way, just like a new garden.

Have a Happy Clear Year!

Karen Valencic is founder and president of Spiral Impact.

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