Creatives need clarity of mind – here’s how to get it

Without clarity you’re directionless and progress is hard. Emmy and AACTA Award-winning producer turned creative sector executive coach Ellenor Cox explains how to turn overwhelm into direction and brain fog into crystal clear focus

Have you ever gone throughout the day feeling like you can’t quite tackle your to-do list, or think straight because your mind feels like it’s all over the place?️ You’re struck down with brain fog and feelings of overwhelm and the inner monologue of self-doubt seems on high repeat?

This is where mental clarity is so important as it helps us to find focus and direction and a path towards our goals and priorities. It’s also our superpower against dealing with our inner critic and for this reason, I’ve created ingrained habits around book-ending the start and finish of my day with rituals that focus on my mental clarity to help clear my mind, create solid intentions and gratitude reflections.

This latest article in my Key of C series details these habits, explains why clarity is so important and how to create it in your daily life.

Mental clarity means having a focused and clear state of mind. When you have mental clarity, your mind isn’t clouded with indecision, what-ifs, overwhelm or worry.

When we’re focused, away from distraction and free of self-doubt we feel like we can accomplish anything we set our mind to because we’ve created purpose and intention behind our actions. We’re conscious of not overthinking things and worrying about what could go wrong because these thoughts rarely have time to cross our mind and if they do we can rationalise them quickly by reassuring ourselves that our focus in on our aligned goals and that there is a ‘master plan’ unfolding.

“More is lost by indecision than wrong decision.”

Marcus Tullius Cicero uttered these wise words over 2000 years ago so the challenge of seeking mental clarity is nothing new!  I often hear about the importance of having a positive mindset, but I think that having the clarity of a clear mindset is the real key to success.

How to achieve more clarity

If you’re craving more clarity in your life to help you feel focused, here are five ways to help you achieve it every day:

1. A solid daily routine

Routines define our daily lives and allow us to feel a little more like we’re in control (See my article on control for more thoughts on this) and a little less like we’re stuck in our heads. There are three things I’ve incorporated into my morning routine to help me get out of my head before the day starts and importantly to create the space for Self Reflection:

Journaling – gets my random thoughts and doubts out of my head.

Meditation – creates quiet moments away from the chatter of everything else.

Workout – gives me a chance to focus on my body instead of my thoughts.

I then book-end my day with a gratitude list to reflect on how the day has gone and create a clear plan in my mind for how I want the following day to unfold. This allows me to pigeonhole any worries, knowing that I’ve allocated time the next day to deal with this and helps clear the mind in order to get a  good  night’s sleep

2. Focus on your future vision

Goals that aren’t written down are merely daydreams

Attached to my monitor is my life purpose statement. I read it several times a day. Next to that is my latest vision collage containing images and evoking emotions of how I want my future self to be. I look at this constantly. When I open my journal to write in, my goals and values are written on the first page. Each morning I revisit them.

Reviewing these every day reminds me of what I’m working towards. That way, I’m less likely to get distracted by what others are doing or compare my life to someone else’s. I know what’s important to me and what the path I want to take looks like.

3. Define your values to avoid distractions

Defining my life and work values has been a game-changer for helping me to keep a clear mind. Having this clarity enables me to make decisions quickly, to hold my boundaries firm and to know where my north star is facing.

In order to seek out these values ask yourself what brings you joy and energises you and what are the things that you do effortlessly and consistently. Then ask yourself what emotions are evoked when you are experiencing these things. These emotions are your values – your moral compass and guiding light.

4. Seek solid counsel

Two minds are better than one!

Seek out the opinions and counsel of friends, family and mentors when you’re needing to get clarity on an issue. Ask them for their honesty and beware the almost automatic reactions of blame or accusation when we receive challenging feedback or advice as this is merely our ego wanting to keep us safe (to learn more about the ego’s role in protecting us read my article on confidence and the relationship between the ego and self doubt)

5. Take action

Action creates clarity. We try to tell ourselves that thinking about things will help us decide the best course of action, but often we won’t know what the right decision is until we’ve taken action. Whatever you’re overthinking, make a decision and roll with it. You will learn whether you made the right decision or not, and you can always course-correct if necessary.

Taking action also allows us to experience progress and to develop competencies that were previously not available to us. This sort of progress provides us with the evidence that we do matter and that we are capable of growth.

I hope that you’ll find these simple tips and strategies useful and remember that when you have clarity of intention, the universe conspires with you to make it happen!

Ellenor Cox is a veteran Emmy and AACTA award winning producer now providing the industry with coaching and mentoring services. More information and extensive free resources available at www.ellenorcox.com.