Guest Post by Karen Valencic
“The exuberance accompanying a moment of clarity is precious and ought be protected like a candle in a breeze.” – Karen Valencic
I feel blessed to be clear about my life path. Although, perhaps it is less of a blessing and more of an ability to protect moments of insight, then, gently fan the insight until it is an unstoppable blaze.
The first leg of my professional life path was a little unconventional for a woman in the day: I was an automotive engineer. Many people find that surprising, as it is so different than my current role and personality. I did this for 10 years and it was a perfect setup for what was to come. My motivation for choosing this career was survival. The moment of clarity came when I learned I had the aptitude, there was opportunity, and a way to fund the education. I became ablaze, putting myself through school and graduating almost a year early.
The next moment of clarity for my professional path was a bit more dramatic. I remember precisely where I was: Keystone, Colorado. I literally felt like lightening came out of the sky into my heart and said, “This is your new direction.” The direction was to be a facilitator/trainer to help people find the magic in conflict.
Quickly though, the people closest to me dampened my exuberance. I couldn’t understand how they couldn’t see my vision, as it was so clear to me. It was painful to not get enthusiastic support. I realized it would be more painful for me to it give up. So, I accepted what was and sought out others for support.
I’ve now been in business for 22 years!
Along the way there have been many other moments of clarity I’ve nutured. At this point, my most cherished one was creating Spiral Impact. Again, I remember exactly the moment of clarity – I was practicing aikido (a martial art). The simple spiral movement in aikido triggered an awareness of how if we ‘spiraled’ rather than pushed and pulled in everyday life we’d have the power to accomplish our goals with grace and ease. I gently fanned it into a framework for communication and performance and published a book, Spiral Impact.
If you’ve read this far, you are likely interested in getting clarity about your life path. I have some suggestions.
Creating moments of clarity
Most moments of clarity come to me when I am doing something other than trying to ‘get clear’. Think about clearing out – to get clear. Go do something to disengage your logical brain. For me most of my moments come when I am:
• Physically engaged, for me it’s practicing aikido, swimming, biking
• Driving long distances by myself
• Participating in an event that is outside of my normal activity
• Reflecting on joyful moments from childhood often holds insight to life path
Then, the trick is to protect your clarity… until you are ablaze!
• Choose your confidantes wisely, others can easily destroy your spark
• Write it down and keep writing down ideas
• Research everything you can relative to the insight
Keeping the fire burning
Even when you are ablaze, there will be downtimes. Life is a spiral. It doesn’t move in a straight line. Pushing is exhausting and can cause you to think you’ve failed.
• Get very clear and simple with your intention
• Assemble a support team
• Take care of yourself; learn about centering yourself
• Continually be asking yourself questions because the path never ends
My intention is simple: make “Spiral Impact” a verb. I weigh everything I do with my intention, even writing this article. It keeps me on track.
If someone tries to tell you what you should do – run! Find someone good at asking questions. Nobody knows ‘you’ like ‘you’; learn to listen to ‘you’.