The Power of Clarity for Reinventing Your Executive Career - How to Live, Work, and Retire On Purpose

This is a story about bouncing back from the darkness and finding your way through your executive career transition if you're willing to read on. The only way I can write this today is because I don't regret the past. My shame and guilt are nowhere what it used to be. That's because thankfully, I got help and worked my way through the dark nights of my soul.

At my darkest hour, I thought about leaning one of the world's fastest, sexiest, adventure motorcycles into an oncoming truck while on a long ride through Death Valley, California. It was mid-July of 2006. The heat on the road was over 116 degrees. I was screaming at myself, angry, not clear, in doubt, trying to find a way out of the dark. Clearly, I didn't do anything stupid because I here to tell you more.

My goal is to share some of the things that helped me the most. If your experience is anything like mine, you'll be empowered to bounce back and turn your work and life around if you're not content with what is now.

Losing Almost All My Marbles

It's one thing to lose your shirt. It's another to lose your mind or marbles. I did both. It's happened more than once because I've been in business for myself for almost thirty years. I know what I did not know as a younger man.

I'll never forget the agony of not having clarity and being stuck in my career transition. I had sold my first business to the distant kin of Attila the Hun. I was obligated to work with him for five years due to the contract I signed. Two years into this, 9/11 happened, my relationship with Mr. Hun IV was toxic, and I needed to figure out what I was going to do for the rest of my life.

The business of my life sucked. That much was clear. The key is knowing how to get clarity.

Where Are You Now?

If you can relate to being stuck, not loving where you are in your executive transition or business life, here's the good news. By the end of this article, you will feel better knowing that taking a higher view of where you are now is one the way to let go of the head trash that holds all of us back.

Start by asking yourself these questions. Sit quietly and get a new journal or notepad. Find a happy and quiet place. All the answers live inside your heart.

As you think through the answers, remember that shifting your perception of what is can help you instantly see your life and work from a higher level. Next, I'm going to show you how.

How to Measure What Matters

The social norm for many of us is the more money we have the happier we can be. Need proof? Look around.

I believe we can be rich, happy, and healthy especially if we don't place too much importance on the money aspects of being rich. Being rich is more about your mindset and perceptions, your beliefs, than your bank account.

Yes, God wants you to be rich. Me too. But don't count on bags of free money hitting you in the head to make you happy. Money is part of the equation. This lesson took losing all of my money to figure out. And you have to take action every day.

Here's a quick view of the Return On Life Assessment. I created it years ago to keep on top of my own wealth measures. That's because any time I lose clarity or confidence, I needed a tool, a process, a system, for immediately shifting into "observer mode." This helps me see the big picture. This view can change everything, especially for an executive career transition.

When you do this exercise you can often see how rich you really are even if you feel stuck in your career or business. This is important because your self-image must empower you to confidently take the right action steps with clarity. You act as if and take action. But knowing what action not to take is the way to know what action to take.

In order to do this, you create a plan of action for your life just as if you own a business. After all, you are your best investment, right?

If I lost all my money today, or business success, I'd be okay. I wouldn't be pleased, but I'd be content enough to find clarity and develop the next plan of action. We never stop seeing, feeling, and trusting our plan will work. And we must be willing to adjust along the way.

Now that's clarity and confidence! To make this shift can be profound even if it sounds goofy. Try it. Rundown this list, assign 1-10 to each line item and total the numbers up to 100. That's your Return On Life. I hope it works for you as well as it does for me and others who use it.

What really matters beyond money?

How to Get Clarity and Confidence

Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Maybe this article is the perfect call to action.

Start with being honest about where you are. Your inner teacher is always sending you signs. The key is how well you see, listen, and learn.

If you're stuck like I was, there's a part of you saying these three things...

  1. I don't like what is happening with my career, business, income, life, etc. I don't like where I am. It's bad enough now to change.
  2. I'm committed to change. I need help from someone who understands and has been where I want to go. I only trust getting help from someone who has been where I'm going more than once.
  3. Now it's time to take appropriate action. I am committed!

If this is you, what's next?

I invite you to learn about my new workshop and coaching program and how it can help. It's called, The Power of Clarity for Life: A Step-by-Step Guide for Creating Your Action Plan to Live, Work, and Retire On Purpose.

When you complete the program you have the clarity and confidence you need to execute a clear plan of action to get the result you seek. The keyword in all of this is "result." If you want results, my process can help you because chances are I've been where you're going more than once.

Be honest by answering this question, please. On a scale of 1-10, how happy are you right now with your career or small business?

If you answered 7 or less, maybe it's time to have a conversation with me or someone else who can guide you.

If you want to schedule a conversation with no B.S., click here to get to my calendar.

If You're Going Through the Dark ...

Get help! Why wait?

In closing, I wouldn't wish the kind of darkness I lived through on my worst enemy. But there is always a way to find gratitude in every lesson. For me, the lesson learned is there's nothing more important than having clarity and confidence for living a rich life. This requires purpose, vision, mission, clear goals, core values, and a team of people to help us see the blind spots and fill the talent gaps. It requires taking the right, forward-moving action steps in the right order. Success requires focus. Focus comes after clarity. That's how you get confidence.

Nobody gets where they want to go alone. In the end, your life plan can look similar to the strategic business and go-to-market plans I write for small business owners. Or it can be a blank slate. It's up to you.

Your life plan can help you become a better leader of your self and others. Your new plan can give you the clarity, confidence, cash flow, and quality sleep you and everyone else earns when we live, work, and retire on purpose.

Trust me, you can't be fake and make it in the business of life for long. But you can make a real plan of action and work your way to getting what you seek.

All you need to do is take action with clarity and confidence to get what you want in your executive career transition.

The ball is in your court.

Click here for my calendar. Get clarity.

Freelance Your Way Into Your Dream Job and Maybe Even Time Freedom

This article is about using freelancing to get your dream job. (It’s an edited version of the video transcription.)

You can watch the video if you prefer ...

Freelance your way to freedom, too!

Freelancing is working as an independent contractor to sell what you know. For example, I write, teach, integrate certain technologies, coach, and consult (business owners, executives, freelancers). That's what I've done as a freelancer for 15 years and I do that through my LLC called Clarity Strategic Advisors. 

The main reason I love to freelance and the reason I'm encouraging you to consider evaluating freelancing jobs is you can make a living while you look until you get your dream job. Or maybe freelancing will be forevers because freelancing gives you the potential to get income faster than you might be able to get your dream job.

So while you're hunting for your dream job what I'm suggesting is that you build your awareness around the massive potential to sell your talents to decision-makers. These would be hiring decision-makers in small to big companies. All sorts of companies and organizations hire freelance talent. In the process (of searching for your dream job while freelancing) you establish trust and build rapport with the people that you're working within the company or organization that's hired you as a freelancer. Then you use that experience to find new opportunities and new work within that organization.

Three Tips Based On Experience

Here are three things that will help you get on track to identify potentially freelance projects selling what you know while you're looking for your dream job. Remember, in that process, you're able to make money.

First, know what it is you love to do. Know what you want to do. If you're not sure about what you want to do, maybe someone like I or a career counselor that you know can guide you to figure out what color your parachute is. Here's a book by a similar title.

Or, learn how to reinvent yourself and how to focus on developing your professional satisfaction. Think about what gives you energy when you work versus what takes energy away. That's a simple indicator if the work you're doing is sustainable because if you don't like the work you're doing and it's taking energy away from you, chances are you're not going to be very good at it or do a very good job.  Know what you want to do and be good at it. Be willing to constantly improve.

Second, search for your dream job and look for freelancing projects. If I look at your LinkedIn profile and it says “in transition,” what do you think I and others might think? You have to craft your positioning in a way that makes what you do for others compelling enough to want to learn more about you.

Potential Downside?

What’s the one potential downside should you not want to freelance forever, assuming you find your dream job. Here’s how I look at it. Did I make as much money as my corporate buddies who travel 80 percent of the time? No, because those guys get paid a big fat salary benefits and you know what, that's not for me. I consider myself relatively unemployable in a traditional way and I have since I was 30 and that was about almost 30 years ago. I live freely with my time.

This is why I'm very passionate about the freelancing business. It’s the time freedom it gives us and the potential to earn as much as you want. The average freelancer is making $28 an hour. (The more value you deliver, the more you can charge.) This means if you know what it is you want to do and you know you get energy from it, and if you're willing to search for those projects, you can find work. Use LinkedIn, Upwork.com, Fiverr.com, or Thumbtack.com. Those are a few of the online communities that you can search for and find and connect with and develop a profile as a professional freelancer and see what's going on in the community. Build relationships and learn the world of freelancing. (Yes I coach freelancers in groups and one-on-one, however, the truth is you can learn much of this on your own if you’re willing.  

So, number one is to know what it is you do best because it gives you energy. Number two, hunt for freelancing projects while you're searching for your dream job. Third, and this is very important never stop believing in yourself I know how frustrating it can be to be underemployed to not be generating any income to feel like you got downsized, outsized, burned out, or whatever it was. Being in transition is uncomfortable. 

People around us have expectations. We have expectations. We beat ourselves up unduly. I know. I speak for my own experience in that regard and the truth is when we are underemployed, especially when we're looking for our dream job, if we understand the power and potential of all the freelance work that's out there billions of dollars in freelance projects, we can get work until we find a dream job if that’s the goal for you.

Small Business. Big Opportunity.

There are 60 million freelancers in America. Look at the statistics of freelancing. More people in America over the decade ahead will be freelancers than full-time normal employees and there are a lot of reasons that I won't go into it at this time. However, just know the business of freelance work is booming.

In closing, if you know how to program, integrate, code, design, coach, teach, run communities, provide customer service or remote sales, there are many opportunities for you to get freelance projects that are in the sweet spot. This can be work that gives you energy at an hourly or project/rate basis. You build new relationships while you're making money instead of being discouraged and unsure of yourself and in doubt and fear and not taking the forward action you need to take. Because nothing is more important than focus and follow-up once you have these three pieces in place.

You know what it is you do. You know who you're going after and you're going after them. And you're going to continue believing in yourself. You’re going to relentlessly follow-up politely. You're not gonna be a psychopath about it, but very few people follow up well in the course of selling themselves or their product or service.

If you don't think you're in sales, I assure you that everyone's in sales even though we all elements of head trash about it. You're selling yourself and if you're selling yourself as a freelancer and you're freelancing your way to time freedom and making the kind of income you want, know it can be done. It's not easy. I assure you. However, it’s not so easy getting your dream job either.

If you want to learn more about how to freelance your way to freedom check out my free webinar by clicking here. It's about an hour-long. I give you the truth about my experience as a freelance knowledge worker for the last 15 years or so. I love being a freelancer. I teach people how to freelance and you'll see me writing about it more.
If you want to connect with me for a conversation just follow up at CliffordJones.com/contact.