Written By: Dana Skelton
Clarity- The quality or condition of being clear or easy to understand.
Clarity- When your ideas are presented in a precise and concise manner, so they can be understood easily. Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of the message.
Clarity- The message you sent has been interpreted in the way you intended it to be.
Have you ever experienced a “moment of clarity”? When suddenly everything comes into focus, you know the path to take, and the decision that needs to be made. The impact these moments can have on us and those around us are tremendous, but we often do not take on the responsibility to make these moments happen.
When researching clarity, it became evident that this one unassuming word is much too big for this one simple blog post. The word itself can be applied to so many aspects of our lives. I chose to pick a few areas that relate to coaching.
Clarity in communication- When communicating an idea or message, it must be clearly spelled out. It should be a message that the receiver understands the same way the sender intends. There should be no uncertainty or room for multiple interpretations.
Clarity in roles- Individuals (including ourselves) and teams must have a clear understanding of what is expected of us, how we will interact with others, what tasks are our responsibility, what our shared values/goals are, and so much more.
Clarity as a leader- We are all leaders in some way and must understand the responsibility that comes with that. It is up to us to have clarity in our purpose, plan, responsibilities/expectations of others, and more. Providing clarity creates connection, trust, and transparency for others (avoiding stress, confusion, and frustration). “There are three essentials to leadership: humility, clarity, and courage”- Fuchan Yuan
Clarity in ourselves- As with leadership, a lack of clarity leads to stress, anxiety, and feeling overwhelmed. We must be clear about our own purpose. “Clarity about what matters, provides clarity about what does not” – Cal Newport
How to Improve Clarity:
Reflection- Sit for a moment and think of what areas of your life need more clarity. It can seem overwhelming, but the simplest first step is to take action. You do not need clarity to get started! You can find clarity in the doing, as long as you take time to reflect.
Create some space- This can be done in many ways:
Find a place to sit and think, that limits distractions. Distractions could be your phone, your email, or even a messy desk that takes away your ability to focus.
Do one thing at a time. Multitasking can get in the way of clarity.
Plan time for reflection
Journal- The biggest misconception is that journaling should provide a definitive answer, a “moment of clarity”. Sometimes it is best just to let the mind wander and see where it takes you.
Talk to others- Share your thoughts and uncertainties with someone that will listen. You may need to let them know up front, you are not looking for a solution, just a chance to talk it out.
Ask others great questions- This can be helpful when trying to convey a message. Did the receiver interpret your communication the way you intended? You can also use this as a way to gain clarity for yourself, what can you ask a trusted and honest friend that can help you learn more about you?
Know your why- Get clear about what really matters to you and get rid of the rest. Live your life with your compass always pointed towards your why. “Many people think they lack motivation, when what they really lack is clarity” – James Clear “If you don’t know WHY you do It, how will anyone else?”- Simon Sinek
Consider your audience- Are you conveying a message to a parent, a young child, a staff member, or yourself? Avoid vague words (soon, a lot, many…), keep in mind what your expectations are for after the interaction, and you may need ask for a summary to ensure understanding. “In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power” – Yuval Noah Harari
Dana is in her 14th season with the First Colony Swim Team. She is the lead coach for Age Group 1, where she gets the privilege to work with the 9- & 10-year-olds. She is also the Head Developmental Coach, working with the awesome coaches in the novice groups. She is an ASCA Level 3 certified coach. Dana started her coaching career with the East Bay Bat Rays in California. This introduction to USA Swimming kick-started her love of coaching, working with young swimmers, and learning what it means to be a great coach. Her coaching philosophy includes doing what is best for each child, parent, and coach in the sport. Focusing on what we can do as a collective whole to promote the sport, help everyone become better people, and have the children see the benefits of working hard. She uses an IM based training (with lots of kick) to ensure the young athletes have a solid base to keep developing through the sport. Dana has a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Kinesiology from California State University, East Bay. She enjoys spending time with her husband and 3 daughters. Hobbies include being active, being crafty/creative, exploring the great state of Texas, and seeking out education to continue improving herself (on and off the deck).
FCST rep for Gulf Masters
Texas All Star Camp coaching staff
Southern Zone Select Camp coaching staff
Meet Task Force for Gulf Swimming TPC
Committee Chair for the Texas Select Camp
USA Swimming Age Group Committee Member
Committee Chair for Gulf Club Development Committee