08/06/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Clarity and Intention in Business and Life

Clarity of purpose and intent mixed with passion are key ingredients to succeeding in business and in life. I love the following quote:

All people dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recess of their minds wake up in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are the dangerous people, for they may act their dream with open eyes to make it possible.

Now more than ever, many people are forced into taking inventory, looking at their lives and wondering, 'what's next?' In one single day this past January, the news reported that 50,000 people were laid off. It is no doubt daunting when you go from the very fast-paced life of a working American to having so much time on your hands that you realize you've confused what you do with who you are. By simply asking a couple of key questions, the process of untangling that assumption can be very rewarding; what made you love what you do in the first place and what are you most passionate about? By answering these questions, clarity emerges about who you really are -- and it's not simply a job or career, and it's not anything that can be taken away from you; rather, it's a guiding energy that can lead you with purpose and intent through all the moments of your life.

As Donny Deutsch says in his book, The Big Idea, "The American Dream is within your reach. I've literally seen it happen hundreds of times. The people who turn their big ideas into millions come from every conceivable background. They're middle-class moms, factory workers, college kids, veterans, everyone and anyone. Ordinary people -- some faced with enormous obstacles -- are stepping out and achieving extraordinary goals." Donny goes on to mention the key behind this when he says, "They share one thing in common. They were passionate about their ideas -- so passionate that when the naysayers piled on, they kept shrugging them off, believing they could achieve their desires... and they did. They acted on their beliefs. And their achievements represent a revolution that's sweeping across our nation, changing the way business is done."

How do we turn our dreams into a reality? We approach life knowing our purpose and tapping into the power of intention as well as moving past the fear. In times like we're living today, universal themes and values become even more apparent and more important to remember. And the more writers are in tune with what is happening around them, the greater the experience for those who get to experience the gift of their words. With this in mind, I love Ambrose Redmoon's words, "Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear."

Clarity and intent are so important in story as well. What is the protagonist's goal? What are the obstacles? What is the turning point and what is the resolution? It is stunning how much more fulfilling story is when the above elements are clear. It is even more fascinating to recognize that the above formula applies to our own lives; for it is from our truths that we draw some of the greatest stories.