Certainty Vs. Clarity

To expand on last week’s episode, today we’re exploring the difference between clarity and certainty.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Inner Warmup where your inner work begins. I'm Taylor Elyse Morrison, creator of Inner Workout and you, as always are our expert guest. Thanks for being here. Before we get into the episode, I want to shout out our first two workshops, and course offerings of 2023. I can't believe I'm saying that already. So the first weekend of the year, we have Word Work, which is a workshop to help you develop and really work with your word of the Year. We're talking, yes, the developmental process, but also how you can integrate this into your daily life. And so the word isn't just something theoretical, it's something that you're tapping into throughout your days and throughout your years. The second thing that we have coming up is Camp Clarity. This is our live workshop style course. You get four sessions over four days, where we build out your inner compass. We look at your mission, your vision, your values, your definition of success, and lay a foundation that is honestly so helpful to have at the beginning of the year. So you are clear on what is important to you and you can approach 2023 from that perspective. So if either of those offerings sounds good to you, we would be honored to have you. And as always, our Inner Circle members for $5 a month get huge discounts on all of our offerings, so you can look into signing up for that, too.

Let's get into today's episode, shall we? I almost feel like I owe you an apology because I was a bit of a downer over the course of last week's episode. I talked a lot about how we all want to be certain, but certainty isn't possible. And I just kind of left you hanging. And you might have found some comfort and some release in knowing that, oh, this thing that I'm chasing, it's really human for me to want that and also, it's not attainable. Hopefully you felt some comfort in that. But I also feel bad because I didn't leave you with anything else. I was like, okay, certainty isn't it, didn't tell you what you could be doing instead. Or maybe I didn't really convince you. I laid out some reasons why certainty isn't possible. But maybe you're like, you know what, certainty is what I know, that's what I've spent my whole life chasing and I'm still going after that. No matter where you ended up last episode, whether you felt like I kind of left you hanging or you felt like I didn't convince you, just stick around for this episode and let's see where you land by the end. I'm coming in hot with a question for you. What if everything, everything that you thought that certainty would give you is actually made possible through clarity? Let me ask you that again. What if everything that you thought certainty would give you, that it would give you a control, that it would give you success, that it would give you this feeling that you were on the right path. What if that is actually made possible through clarity? Maybe when I think of clarity, you think of the four C's of diamonds, and you think about like how clear a diamond is, maybe you think about vision and having clear vision and like can you see clearly. I'm not actually going to share a specific definition of clarity, at least right now because I think it's more helpful to contrast, clarity and certainty. And the distinction becomes really no pun intended. But it does, it becomes really clear. Let's start by the relationship to time and how that differs from a place of wanting certainty versus a place of having clarity. In the certainty, realm and way of being, it is so worried about the future. What's going to happen next? Yeah, sure. I'm here now, but like, what about then? Or what if this happens? Do I have enough, do I know enough? I'm not certain. And then I'm stressed and then I'm searching for certainty. There's always some hypothetical thing that could go right or could go wrong. But it's living in the future when you're seeking this certainty. For me, this showed up so so much in college. All of a sudden, it was like, every decision in my life felt so monumental. If I went for this internship versus that internship, if I studied abroad or if I didn't, it felt like it could completely change the course of my life, which to be fair, sometimes those experiences can. But I also don't think that me trying to determine if I took this exact right course, was going to make all that much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. I felt like I had to be absolutely certain of every single decision that I made. Otherwise, I would be like, just swept off track. And that's a very different mindset to be in when you compare it to the the mindset that comes from clarity. Which is really about responding to the present. It's a really mindful approach. There's a lot of overlap between clarity and mindfulness. If you've heard about this difference in mindfulness between reacting and responding, certainty, is trying to react to a reality that isn't even there yet. It's taking a hypothetical and deciding like to react to it right now. Versus clarity, which is responding to what is real, what is true right now in the present moment. You're choosing how you respond. Choice is a big part of clarity. It is constantly putting you back into what is within your locus of control. Yes, the world is a wild place. Yes, there is a lot of possibility, there are so many directions that you can go in. And clarity says, okay, what are your options right now? What's in front of you? How do you want to respond? You get to choose, how will you respond to what is here now. That's clarity. Then when we look at our relationship to our surroundings, whether that's people or ideas or situations, certainty takes an outside in approach. We've talked about this before, the idea of outsourcing your expertise, and thinking everyone else knows the answers, that really comes often from this place where we're seeking certainty. We want the formula, we want the step by step playbook. I've had this happen with potential coaching clients before. They just want me to tell them exactly what to do. And I have to say, I'm not the coach for you if that's what you want. Another coach friend was talking about how at the time she had reached out to a coach before she had become a coach herself. And this coach told her, I can guarantee you that I will give approximately zero pieces of advice during our time together. And at the time, my friend was like, oh, I don't think that's what I need, I need the answers. And now she says, looking back, she's like, that actually probably was exactly what I needed but I wasn't ready yet. Certainty takes this outside in approach where we're consuming and if we can just consume the right things, then we'll be on our way. Clarity takes the opposite approach. It's an inside out approach. You get clear on what's important to you. You start to access your inner knowing, you answer questions like who am I? How do I want to show up? How do I want to feel, and you move from that place. Instead of moving from the place of okay, I paid for this thing that tells me the 10 steps that I'm supposed to have. And you move instead from I know how I want to exist in the world. I know how I want to feel when I wake up, I know how I want to feel when my head hits the pillow at night. And I'm going to live from that place. What a difference it makes. And then finally, there's just reality. We've talked about this already. The reality of certainty is that it isn't possible for us as humans. There are very, very few things that are certain in our life. We can't know everything. This is not to say that there aren't some universal truths. It's not to say that there aren't scientific truths, either. But there's just a lot less certainty than we would like to believe. Think about how many unprecedented events we've lived through in our lifetimes. Certainty isn't a possibility, at least 100% certainty, the kind that we often seek isn't a possibility. But you know what is possible? You guessed it, clarity is possible. We can get clear, that's within our control. We can get clear on what we want. We can get clear on what our standards are. We can get clear on how we want to respond to situations and use those things as a means to move through life.

It's almost agnostic to our surroundings, to our situations, those are things that we decide and it's a toolkit that we bring with us to address things. Clarity is certainly possible, even when certainty isn't. I felt this in my own life. I told you earlier, I spent a lot of college trying to figure out what was next in my career, in my love life, and it stressed me the heck out. But something shifted after college. And I don't, I couldn't even tell you exactly what it was. But I started getting clearer and clearer on what I wanted. I left my job in a leadership development program at a Fortune 100. I joined a start up, I eventually founded this company. And it wasn't like this cut and dry, you just leave your full time job story where everything worked out, like a movie. I transitioned into part time work. And I still do consulting work to this day, because I'm really dedicated to building this business on my terms. And that means that I have to make sure that I have means to support myself. And to support the growth of this business. This isn't to say that like Inner Workout doesn't make money, that's not the case at all. But for me, I've actually realized one of the things that is important to me is a certain sense of stability. And so as I'm building this thing, and as I'm doing it on my own terms, it feels really good to have the support of other coaching and consulting work that I can do, even as I grow the things that I'm building. And clarity is what allowed me to take a path that doesn't make sense to a lot of people. It doesn't make sense to some people that I quit my full time job. It doesn't make sense to some people that I still do consulting work, but you know what, it feels so aligned to me. I'm acting from my place of clarity. I want you to think back. In the first episode, I asked you to identify the place in your life where you are resisting uncertainty, where you're trying so hard to find out the roadmap, the how to guide, the checklist. You got that situation in your mind? Now, I want you to spend a couple of minutes with this question. What insights would clarity offer to that situation? Another way to think about this is if you had clarity, what would be different about this situation? I'll give you some time to think about that. And then we'll come back together to close it out.

Thanks for taking the time to reflect with me. Hopefully this episode felt a little bit more uplifting because now you know, like, okay, certainty doesn't fully exist but you know what, clarity is something that is accessible to me. If you want to do some more deep diving into clarity, I hope that you will check out Camp Clarity and sign up. It's going to be an amazing way to start your year. And tune in next week, as we'll break down the four elements that can really support you feeling more clear in your day to day life. Thank you so much for your time, and thanks as always for your expertise. Take care.