Most physicians are familiar with the acronym CVP, which stands for Central Venous Pressure. As an emergency physician I can’t actually remember the last time I measured a patient’s CVP. Unless you’re dealing with seriously ill patients in the ICU, most other physicians aren’t measuring the CVP either.
In my physician coaching practice I try to measure a different kind of CVP. This CVP stands for Clarity, Vision and Purpose. A low CVP results from living with lack of clarity, limited vision and an unclear purpose in life, which leads to a life of struggle, being a “victim of circumstances” and lack of fulfillment.
This CVP is a measure of your emotional and spiritual health. I’m constantly measuring this CVP in my own life as well as in the lives of my clients as we work together to create more authentic happiness and success for ourselves and others in our sphere of influence.
These three factors- Clarity, Vision and Purpose- are major determinants of your ability to create the happiness and meaning we all seek in our lives. Each one is crucial, so I’ll expand on each one individually.
In this post I’ll address Clarity.
What is your current level of “Clarity?” By this, I mean how clear and honest are you about yourself and your current life? Unless you are willing to be brutally honest with yourself you will never be able to make improvements.
Being honest with yourself is not always easy. In fact, sometimes it can be very difficult, which is why so few people do it. Physicians and other professionals have an especially difficult time with self-honesty because we’re so busy, and our training teaches us to be tough, to make sacrifices, to not complain and be relatively impenetrable.
The best way to improve the quality if your life is to take an honest assessment of what your life is like right now, in each of these eight areas:
- Health and Fitness
- Environment/Physical space
Once you’ve done this honest assessment of each of these key life areas, you have your starting point. The next step is to decide what you really want in each of those areas. When you’ve done this, the gap between what currently exists and what you truly want is exposed, and then you can get clear about exactly what needs to change in your life to close that gap.
Success and happiness occur as a result of identifying and closing the gaps in your life.
Another crucial area you must gain clarity about is what you most value in your life. Do you know what your top core values are or are they kind of fuzzy and unclear? Having total clarity about your highest values makes all of the decisions in your life easier. It’s like having a highly functioning navigation system guiding you at all times. When you’re unclear of your values, life seems murky and decisions are less obvious. You often start down paths that lead you into dark alleys or get you lost before you realize that wasn’t the right path for you. Or, worse yet, you just stay in one place and never venture down any new paths at all.
It’s time to decide what is “right” in your life and what isn’t. Which activities in your current day-to-day experience do you really want to continue (or do more of) and which would you like to do less of, or stop doing altogether? Who are the people, or the types of people, you really want to hang around with, and who are you now spending time with that you would rather not be around?
What behaviors or habits are serving you well and making you feel great about yourself, and which ones do you know you should stop or do less of, but find that you don’t have enough motivation or “discipline” to change them?
What are you not doing now that you feel you should be? What activities are you certain would enhance your life and give you more satisfaction or joy, but you haven’t made them a big enough priority?
Try to spend some time today and do the following exercise: rate your current life on a scale of one to ten. If you rate it at less than a ten, write out what it would take to make it a ten. Don’t limit yourself to what you think is possible. Let your imagination go with it.
Now imagine your life as a perfect ten, and write down what needs to be different than your current life. It works even better if you consider each of the key life areas I addressed earlier in the article and rate each of them on a one to ten scale.
With my coaching clients I find it very helpful for them to draw out a Life Balance Wheel to do this exercise. To do this, draw a circle and then divide the circle into eight sections (like a pizza with eight slices.) Along the spokes from the inside out to the edge, write the numbers one to ten (you may want to just use the even numbers to reduce clutter.) Label each section of the Wheel with one of the Key Life Areas.
Once you have your Life Wheel drawn out you can place a dot on each corresponding spoke according to the number you’ve given that particular Key Area. Then connect the dots.
Does your Life Wheel look like a balanced, flowing circle or does it look random and asymmetrical. More than likely, your life will feel the same way your Life Wheel looks.
The Life Wheel exercise gives you a nice visual representation of which areas of your life are causing you to feel out of balance. These are the areas you need to be working on right now. You can replace the Key Areas with any qualities or characteristics you like, and you can create several Wheels to look at different parts of your life in more detail.
I also encourage you to repeat the exercise with some regularity, so you can see how things are changing in response to whatever you are doing to bring about those changes.
Hopefull this informationprovides you with more clarity, or at least helps you feel empowered to do some work toward gaining more clarity. My next post will be about Vision, which goes hand-in-hand with Clarity and Purpose as you create a better, more meaningful and more interesting experience of life for yourself and your family.
Wishing you great happiness and success!