when clarity begets action

I moved into a different role at work two months ago and everything is new to me — new subject matter, new business line, new team. I have a lot to learn and a LOT of questions.

And I’ve noticed that I have to ask questions that are a lot more detailed and granular than what I typically feel comfortable with. I have to quiet down the part of my brain saying shouldn’t you know that? can’t you figure it out yourself? I’ll receive a general answer to a question and then have to follow up and drill down until I have sufficient detail to know what to do with the information. (“Okay, so do you want me to draft the communication?” “Okay, do you want to review before I send it?" “Okay, should I send it now?”)

This process is showing me how very important clarity is to action. So often when we feel like we’re procrastinating, I think instead we just don’t know exactly what to do next.

Maybe you avoid asking the question that would give you clarity because you feel like you should already know the answer. I’m lucky to be in this hew job situation where even though I feel like the answer is probably obvious, it isn’t obvious to me because I’m new and I keep pushing myself to ask.

I also believe that it’s always okay to ask questions because it has to be safe to learn.

And sometimes you might not need to ask your question of someone else — you might just need time to break down your next action item into a smaller step. Maybe you have to make a decision before you can take the next step, and so framing the decision and giving yourself time to think it over is your true next step.

Sometimes the timing isn’t right or you’re waiting for more information to come in. What feels like procrastination might really be background deliberation.

What I’m noticing is that taking the next right action feels goooood, which is motivating me to keep reaching for clarity even when it makes me feel a little bit dumb. Reminding myself that the best time to ask a question is when I have a question.

And then of course sometimes clarity comes from action instead of the other way around but that’s an idea for another day.