Find Your Clarity and Step into 20/20 Vision for the Year Ahead

We’re less than a month away from 2020, and I can already feel it: A major year awaits us.

Not only is it yet another historic election year in the U.S., but it’s also the start of a new decade. And the energy is buzzing.

It feels like a lot of us have been standing on the precipice of either collapse or massive change for a long time, both individually and as a collective. I don’t know about you, but I’m placing my bets on transformation.

That doesn’t mean that it’ll be easy or perfect. Believe me, the road ahead will be bumpy as hell! I, for one, am expecting a fair share of chaos, messiness, and discomfort.

But I truly believe it’ll be worth it in the end.

Some might say I’m being overly optimistic, but I don’t think so. Throughout human history, one thing has always been clear: Amid the chaos, there’s always opportunity. I am envisioning new technology, new policies, and hopefully, brand-new approaches to the current environmental crisis and to connecting with one another across seemingly insurmountable differences.

As we step into a new era of personal and collective responsibility, I know that my dreams for Wf1 must match the monumental steps we are being asked to take as we move into the next decade—that is, if we want to co-create a future that we all deserve.

The Year in Review

In shaping my intentions for 2020, which I’ll share with you in a little bit, I have been reflecting on where I’ve been in the past several months. And I’ll be honest: there have been moments when 2019 has royally sucked for me. I have questioned everything from the direction this nation and world are taking, to who’s in my social circle (and whether or not I want them there), to whether it’s time to throw in the towel and step away from the work I’ve been doing with Wf1 for almost a decade.

As much as I love my life, I’ve had my fair share of disconnection, disappointment, and that age-old dance of two steps forward, two steps back. Even as I meet women who share with me how profoundly their lives have been changed by the global sisterhood I’ve created, I’ve often felt discouraged. As much as this community has grown, my desire to create life-changing opportunities for women to gather together in unconditional solidarity and support has not been realized in quite the way I’ve wanted it to be.

Running a global online community comes with a fair share of rewards, as well as challenges. There is all the work that happens behind the scenes in order to support women on a global scale—which remains largely invisible to the people I meet. (I guess we make it look easy!) There are constant issues around how we can keep our tribe engaged and connected to our work, especially as algorithms change and online movements lose momentum. And don’t get me started on the obstacles that are inherently a part of working with a team that is strewn across the country!

And of course, there is the sticky matter of making a reasonable profit, as the leader of an organization that has always prided itself on accessibility and community.

But most of all, I had to take a step back from all of these things and focus on the fundamental matter at hand: Was I truly fulfilled by the work I was doing? Where was the passion I longed to feel?

At a certain point in the past year, after a particularly distressing partnership with someone who wasn’t aligned with my values around transparency and integrity, I realized that I was completely burnt out. I’d spent the last several years taking care of the needs of everyone else—family members, business partners, colleagues, friends, my team members, you name it—but at some point, I’d forgotten about my own.

I wanted to wake up feeling excited and positive about the direction of my work. But most of the time, I either avoided my work entirely or I felt like bursting into tears.

And although I didn’t really discuss it with anyone, I was exhausted.

For weeks, I alternated between wanting to take a looooong hiatus from Wf1 and wanting to embark on a new creative project that would put the spark back into everything I’d poured my heart and soul into. I vacillated between cutting my staff in half and expanding the work we were doing so that I could reignite inspiration, motivation, and morale.

I felt lost. But thankfully, one thing I’ve learned in the last few decades of personal and spiritual growth work is that uncertainty is the first step toward clarity. I know that when we choose to sit in the chaos and surrender to the reality of our lives as they are rather than getting tripped up in our ideas about how they should look, things begin to fall into place.

Getting Clear in 4 Steps

Change is the only constant, and I knew that in such a murky place, I couldn’t afford to make any sudden moves, like shutting down Wf1. And throughout this dark and uncertain period, as I allowed myself to practice the feminine virtues of surrender and acceptance, a new vision emerged.

In doing nothing, I allowed my innate creativity and resilience to rise from the depths and remind me of who I was and what I wanted.

I’m not saying that finding clarity in the midst of confusion is easy, but it’s possible. It may sound counterintuitive, but it is the willingness to remain inside the seemingly unanswerable questions that can take us to where we ultimately want to go.

So, what does it require to stay inside the confusion and find clarity for yourself, especially in the remaining weeks before a brand-new year and decade? How do you clean the fogged-up glasses of a jaded perspective to see the riches that lie ahead for you, perhaps even just around the corner? Most of all, how do you maintain faith that the work you’ve been doing hasn’t been for nothing? That your passion and your purpose haven’t flown the coop—they’re just dormant, and are waiting to be stirred awake by a new perspective or realization?

Here are some of my tips.

1.  Return to basics. Cut back on what feels extra, unnecessary, or not really aligned with what you want to be doing. When most of us are in a state of uncertainty, we are usually drained of the kind of energy that is required to leap out of the rut. So instead of adding things to your plate, subtract them. This includes toxic relationships, frustrating business partnerships that don’t seem to be going anywhere, and anything that sucks away your precious time and energy.

This is a good time to be entering into the sacred space of your heart and deep feminine wisdom. Cross out the social engagements on your calendar that you really couldn’t care less about. Tell people you are out of pocket for a while. Do a digital detox. Come back to the books, people, places, and ideas that have always served to support you and remind you of who you are. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and that you’re feeding your body with nourishing foods and activities. Burnout can get the best of any one of us, so it’s time to engage in radical self-care for a change.

2. Don’t make any major decisions until the moment is right. Aside from not adding any big to-do’s to your list, give yourself permission to stay in your big questions without gunning toward any solutions right away. This is a seriously difficult one. So many of us want instant clarity and instant results, and because of the discomfort that we experience in sitting without any answers, we can so often enter into agreements and relationships that are not ultimately in integrity with our deepest desires.

“Waiting” might seem like frustrating advice, especially if you are a type A go-getter who dislikes any kind of inactivity. I have come to the profound realization that surrender is the deepest wisdom of the feminine—and it is nowhere near inactive or passive. It takes an enormous amount of strength to sit in the midst of our restlessness and discomfort without immediately doing anything about it.

Know that the feeling of dormancy is actually part of the process. It might look like nothing is happening on the surface, but there is actually an enormous amount of activity bubbling just underneath. All transformation is accompanied by both expansion and contraction, activity and inactivity. Doing absolutely nothing is one of the most important things you can possibly do right now. I promise that the best solutions aren’t the ones you have to come up with. Your life is not a problem to solve. It is a beautiful mystery that is continuously unfolding. Pay attention to what is happening, to what you are feeling.

Trust that the decision you need to make will be apparent, and the timing will be perfect…as long as you don’t put an arbitrary deadline on it. Let your feminine wisdom emerge in its own time, because it will.

3. Come into a greater awareness of your resilience. Resilience is a theme that I know I’ll be taking with me into the new year. At a certain point, I recognized that the discouragement I’d been feeling was connected to a sense that perhaps I’d been feeling sorry for myself. Maybe not consciously, but I just couldn’t see how I was going to get myself out of this rut, or how I was going to regain the excitement I’d previously felt about my life’s work. With some prompting from loved ones, I had to take a deeper look at the bigger story of my life, not just the passing circumstances. And one major truth made itself known: I am a resilient woman.

Life has never thrown anything at me that I didn’t somehow find a way to work with. I have moved through changes and transitions with openness, flexibility, and the willingness to create new possibilities where there were previously only closed doors. I had to acknowledge that although there were times when I felt frustrated, alone, and unsupported, I was not a victim. I was a powerful creator.

Likewise, I want you to come back to the truth of your resilience. Even in moments of difficulty or pain, remind yourself of the obstacles that you encountered in the past. Summon up specific moments when you asked yourself, “What the hell am I going to do?” and somehow found a way through it. You are a badass. You might not be able to fully see it now, but you will get past this, and you will prevail.

4. Consider the obvious. This was a funny one for me. I was so disenchanted by what I was doing for a while that I failed to see that my passion was patiently waiting outside, gently knocking on the door to get my attention. What we focus on tends to loom larger than everything else—and for me, disappointment and stagnation were giants blotting out the sunlight. I didn’t realize this until a few weeks ago, but sometimes we are so close to our passion and genius that we take it for granted or decide that it’s not as important as we once thought.

That definitely happened to me. Of course, I was proven wrong.

A simple conversation about sisterhood led to planting the seeds for the next book I will be writing. And a couple days after that conversation, I submitted a proposal to the world-renowned Omega Institute in upstate New York to offer a retreat centered around everything I’ve learned about the value of sisterhood in the last decade. I heard back from them the next day, and now, I’m gearing up to teach at Omega in late 2020!

So take a deep breath and come back to your passion—even if you are in a place where you’re judging it as silly or meaningless or totally lacking juice. Sit down and have a conversation with someone you love and trust about something you love. Let that conversation plant seeds. Even if it doesn’t feel like it, this is what the world needs more of, from you and everyone else. We often get so caught up in the day-to-day details that we forget the stuff that actually lights us up. And we forget that this is the place where we can be most potent and effective, because it’s where our sense of passion usually intersects with how we can best serve the world around us.

A 20/20 Vision

Ultimately, a new vision for Wf1 emerged from this process of inching toward clarity, even when I was totally in the dark. As I always encourage the people in my community to do, I kept taking those baby steps. I kept asking those big questions, with the full awareness that I might not receive immediate answers.

My path has shown me that my life is an incubator for the principles and values that I want to blossom in my community. In order to help women make life happen, I must be willing to go into the uncomfortable, messy, deep, dark depths of who I am. This is not about staying on the surface, in love and light and feel-good platitudes. If we remain there, we gain (at best) a superficial understanding of who we are and what we are here for.

And as a woman, you are here to be a force of nature.

In the year ahead and for the foreseeable future of Wf1, I have chosen to focus on helping women step into a deeper awareness of both where they are wounded and where they need to heal, especially if we are going to rise into the global sisterhood that is required in order for us to handle the many crises our world is up against.

In the coming months, I’ll have more exciting news for you about upcoming Truthteller Tours, retreats, partnerships with universities that will help young women step more decisively into their own unique leadership, and other opportunities.

For now, just know that I am committed to diving into the hard conversations that I know will ultimately walk us toward the deep healing and intimacy we all long for. I am inviting women to walk through the fire with me—to take off the masks and the acceptable personas, and to acknowledge where we’ve been hurt, where we still feel pain, and most of all, where we hold power…which so many of us have unconsciously learned to disregard and negate in favor of our victimhood.

These are not always easy truths for us to face. But if we truly wish for clarity, we must look unflinchingly in the mirror—to see what we’re made of, and to acknowledge who we might become if we do the work that life is calling us to do.

So my wish for you in 2020 and beyond is that you attain the kind of hard-earned clarity that comes from stewing in the mess, right where you are. This is the gift of the feminine, and it is yours to claim. The grand message of your life will reveal itself if you allow the confusion and questions to become a cocoon. Don’t reach for yet another distraction. Let the things that need to die, die—and allow new truths to be reborn in their place. Be patient and loving with yourself. You are the one you’ve been waiting for. And when you connect with that truth, from a place of surrender rather than anxiety, you will discover that you’ve always had what you most needed, all along.

If you’re excited about making 2020 a year of fully owning your power and unlearning the toxic messages that have kept you from stepping into your chaotic feminine magnificence, it’s time to make a change. Reclaim your passion and say yes to radical transformation. Learn more about our upcoming Your Messy Brilliance® 2.0 Retreat, March 12–15, in Redmond, WA.

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About the Author | Kelly McNelis

Kelly McNelis is the founder of global community, Women for One, a speaker, coach, facilitator, and bestselling author of Your Messy Brilliance: 7 Tools for the Perfectly Imperfect Woman. With more than 25 years of experience as a nonprofit and small-business consultant, Kelly empowers generations of women around the world to build the relationships, community, and confidence they need to achieve their wildest dreams. She finds daily inspiration in spending time with her husband and children in her home outside of Seattle.

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4 comments to "Find Your Clarity and Step into 20/20 Vision for the Year Ahead"

  • Fran Frizelle

    Thank you for always being so raw and honest Kelly. Your words always inspire me. Looking forward to your next book and in the meantime I think I’ll re-read your Messy Brilliance as a gift to myself this holiday season. Hugs, Fran

  • Ann Humes

    I feel so many of these same things. Thanks for your honesty. I can truly relate to this and to surrender is really the only way through. I can’t wait to see what your plans are!

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    Women For One

    Thanks Anne. Life is messy and beautiful!