Your success is the purpose of this blog.
Those who have been on their own success path for a while know there is a point where stopping to review, assess, and align is key to re-clearing the path that leads to your final vision.
How do you know when it is time to audit your success path?
While sometimes there may be huge red flags, like falling into deep addiction or burning out on a project you really cared about, most of the time there will only be subtle clues like debilitating procrastination, overbooking yourself with priorities, and a feeling overall stress.
Whatever the signals will be for you, the outcome will be clear you are not moving forward in ways that matter.
While there are many audits we can perform, financial, social media, productivity, etc. the one for our personal success will only take connecting with our inner selves and openly reflecting and receiving on the answers we bring out. These five questions will help you dissect what points in your success path could use some focus and where you are doing well already.
1. What are my current priorities?
2. How do they align with my larger purpose?
3. What ways am I dividing my time on a daily and weekly basis? How do that support my larger purpose?
4. How consistent am I towards working on my success?
5. What is draining my energy and how would I rather invest this energy?
While audits can be a deep exploration of your current status, you can use these questions as a way to begin to unfold what might be holding you back, which in turn gives you a place to find solutions. It is absolutely imperative that you listen to your honest answer, whatever it may be. I’m not reading your answers and no one else is, so there’s no need to be polished/pretty/etc. If you do want to discuss your answers know I’m always here 🙂
Comment or Contact Me Anytime.
Howdy! It’s another Monday and this post here is for you!
You know who you are, you are the person striving to realize your vision of success. Yet, success means much more than money to most of us. It is a reality that money is an effective measuring stick of our ability to fulfill goals, it can often be wholly inaccurate when it comes to fulfilling our core desires. You may find fulfillment in your families, friends, plentiful passions, and, most importantly, all of the above. For us, success can be applied to many areas to growth in our lives.
So many goals to be complete — followed by the insistent reminder of the fleeting nature of time. So we make deposit after deposit of our time, money, and energy into our areas of growth. Then, because we’re human, we take on an ambitious goal. The one that may disrupt our lives immensely and take a risk to build a larger vision of a day-to-day future beyond our current day-to-day grind.
How do we possibly fit it into our current lives? How do we possibly stay motivated to fit it in with our full-time jobs, families, and a host of other responsibilities? There are only so many hours in a day, and your life was full before you set about realizing your dreams of success.
There are a few scenarios we face during a substantive success journey.
- You are used to managing complex change and fit this new personal risk into your schedule with ease.
- Your are overall comfortable with managing complex change but find you overlooked areas beyond your limits, and thus are facing a slower growth than you first imagined.
- You are not comfortable with managing complex change at all, in fact, thinking about it causes a shiver of anxiety. Typically you only think to take the risk and hardly move beyond this comfort zone.
Either of these scenarios can still result in your finding the personal success on the risk you know you must take. While the effort to get from discomfort to ease will vary there are some key points along the way.
Key Point #1 You are the core, captain, engine, leader, etc. etc.
Albert Bandura’s work on self-efficacy sums up the important role that the Self plays in our ability to succeed. Self-efficacy is essentially our own belief in our own abilities. Much like the story of the elephants who grow up with heavy chains around the ankles. They believe this is the most movement they can achieve when they are on and thus by the time they reach adulthood they can be controlled with nothing more than a rope. Their self-efficacy in their ability to break the chains reaches a low-point and thus they lose a deep connection to the inherent power that lies within them.-source
On a positive end, I recently encountered a touching Facebook post about the story of Edison, who learned from his mother that he was dismissed from school because he was gifted beyond all the other classmates, and then, when his mother passed, years later he later found the note that showed the teacher thought Edison was too dumb for any formal teaching. The lesson distilled is his mother’s beliefs, built his beliefs about his own genius, so, he fully tapped into as much of his potential as possible.
What’s the takeaway?
Your foundation of success comes from believing you can achieve whatever you set out to do.
Easy to spell out sure, but in action, this key point takes continuous practice. There are many conflicting images, thoughts, and experiences that will run contrary to our beliefs at times. They will attempt to break our beliefs, but the remedy is to find points of faith, whether it’s self-faith, faith in a higher power, or faith in whatever, practice touching base with the future you know will exist.
There are many conflicting images, thoughts, and experiences that will run contrary to our beliefs at times. They will attempt to break our beliefs, but the remedy is to find points of faith, whether it’s self-faith, faith in a higher power, or faith in whatever, practice touching base with the future you know will exist.
Key Point #2 Sustained success comes from systems
Whether you like it our not, systems achieve a lot for us as humans. Within our body alone we can count over 5 key systems that keep us going, then there’s the road system, the water system, the school system, etc. etc. Organizing actions and activities around shared functions and themes can give us something very, very valuable. That value is and consistency. We can be deeply grateful that a red stoplight means cars will stop or knowing all the words on a spelling test means you will pass the spelling test. Excellent systems function so well we only notice them when they stop function. Consider your computer, millions of calculations are being made and networks are connected for your pleasurable use. Yet, our level of content with the computer working can often be vastly outweighed by our level of frustration should it suddenly stop, even if the computer spent years serving your needs dutifully!
The point is when systems work, we can achieve a lot more, and when systems break down we can face anything from the minute to disastrous frustrations. The takeaway is to pay special care to the how of things: how you do things, how you want to do things, and how you will do things can be key performance indicators on your personal path to success.
Final Key Point: Shift Your Solution Mindset
You may jump at this one, but trust, I am not saying shift your solution mindset to the opposite non-solution mindset. What we are getting at here is the idea that the solutions you create to solve your current problems may not be the solutions that will help with future undertakings. In fact, the solutions you will need on your success journey may be wildly different than what you are used to doing. For instance, if you are trying to start a small business on the weekends, but are finding there is simply not enough time to do it yourself. How can you possibly do it yourself in between all the commitments? As you ask these questions for your subconscious to solve you may switch to your default solution of doing even more on your own, and staying up waking hours or missing lunches.
Ask yourself, what are other solutions beyond the one I am already thinking? Our small business owner may question other ways of securing time like: outsourcing easy tasks, scaling back on commitments, or honestly finding current time sinks in their schedule. Even if the alternative solutions you create seem impossible at the moment, finding alternatives will open you up to new possibilities for yourself.
- You can achieve your success- Find ways to remind and affirm this belief.
- A system will allow you to sustain success long-term
- Systems that aren’t currently serving you may need vastly different solutions. Draw outside of your normal solution lines.
Well that’s all for this post. Let me know if agree or disagree. You could always message me on Facebook.
I created an infographic for http://www.cultivatedvisions.com social media postings. It reminded me of how important it is to ensure you continuously seek to clarify who you are and who you will be. There are so many areas of input that can muddle up the inner voice that guides us while we fulfill our purpose. Sometimes the voice is so subtle it sounds like it’s coming from our Self.
So here’s an adapted version of the infographic to apply to any area of your life where you seek to find clarity.
Refraining from holding negative thoughts in your life, is as powerful as removing negative people in your life. To keep from going back to the habit of holding negative thoughts you need something to replace it with. Preferably something positive. At a workshop, I coordinated over the weekend, one of the attendants shared a great tip. She has a quick list of positive phrases to use to replace negative ones, which she adapted from this Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway by Susan Jeffers [affiliate link].
For her sake and ours, I made a quick graphic out of it.
Do you get off track easily?
From time to time, you may find that distraction is winning a lot of battles in your fight to stay motivated and push towards your success. Whether it is building your personal brand, building a business, or achieving any other goal, there is a key to staying focused and persistent.
From time to time, you may find that distraction is winning a lot of battles in your fight to stay motivated and push towards your success. Whether it is building your personal brand, building a business, or achieving any other goal, there is a key to staying focused and persistent.
Luckily, there are simple, and free, ways to quickly get back on the priority task at hand instead of logging another hour mindlessly scrolling Facebook to do…”research” . While these moves can be done alone, they also work together in a sequence. Use them as a quick routine when you realize that your are avoiding your valuable tasks for an unproductive ones.
MicroMove #1 Take a deep breath
If you are losing focus on a task you know you have to finish, then there is probably something about that task that causes you stress. This stress triggers your “fight/flight” response which turns you to your coping mechanism: distraction. This subtle behavior is rewarded with the removal of the stress, which is a positive outcome and so you are not easily persuaded away from your flappy bird marathon because it feels better than writing a 10-page marketing piece or presentation for your big pitch night. Whatever it may be, struggling through the cumbersome and complicated process that is reaching long-term success comes with no guarantees. Meanwhile, your favorite reality show comes with a very real and very now satisfaction.
That is why taking a deep, and I mean, deep breath is a micro behavior to first take when you truly want to disrupt the pleasure vortex. According to a Harvard Family Health report, deep breathing triggers us to relax, which releases the stress sensations that were eliciting the fight/flight response in the first place. So, if you wanted only one more move to help you get focused fast then you can stop here. If not, keep going…
MicroMove # 2 Check the Time
Sometimes a project is really stressful…
Honestly, you just know it is going to take forever and you have an entire to-do list to get through, plus the day is just etching away…
These are thoughts that definitely run through my mind if I feel as though I am distracted through the day. How are we supposed to fit so many priorities into such an infinite amount of waking day?
Often, when this happens, I find I really don’t know the exact time. How much day do you really have ahead of you?
By checking the time you afford yourself an opportunity to make a rough sketch of how all of what you want to do can play out, and if you are short you are forced to prioritize to the essentials. This helps focus you in relationship to your present situation.
Once you know how much day you have ahead of you, pick a priority for every 1-2 hours left.
MicroMove # 3 Set a Timer
So you are feeling less stressed and prioritized, but stiiiillllll…..getting started on that project isn’t any more motivating. No matter how calm you are or how important you rationalize it to be, the energy to get you going just isn’t sparked. So what to do next?
Set a 10 or 20-minute timer to complete the first priority. Set the timer before you are even sure what you want to do next. This creates an external incentive to commit a small amount of time to devote from the time you have left.
By incrementing time even further, you’ve placed bite-sized boundaries on this once insurmountable project.
MicroMove #4 Check Your Goal or Write a Goal
Next if you don’t already have one, set a goal or check a goal. For example, I have a command center that I created a while ago, which lists my major priorities. Helping grow a non-profit, developing my business, and contributing to the higher education profession are the top three. From there I would pick one for the next hour or two and I would work on one goal.
For someone writing it may be to write a chapter, edit a chapter, research 10 sources. Whatever it may be, make sure your goal contributes to advancing your priority.
MicroMove #5 Make sure your goal is SMART
One of the things that trips me up, is sometimes the goals I write are not easily processed by my mind. I teach this in many goal setting workshops. Our minds are very much like programs processing lines of code and interpreting it into action.
If I set a goal that is something like : “Create packet”
When I return to complete the goal, I can be completely oblivious to exactly what the parameters of packet creation will be. Furthermore, if it is an older goal , I may complete lose why and what I wanted when I wrote “Create packet”.
So it helps to make goals as specific as possible, and the SMART acronym is a tool used to refine your goals into a way that we can process easily.
“Create packet” becomes “Make a rough draft of a 3-page marketing packet for our latest workshop offering on MeetUp within the next 17-minutes (your timer is still going).
MicroMove #6 Say an affirmation
Affirmations are a simple way to promote positive thinking around your priority project.
Great affirmations for focus:
- I have all the time I need.
- My work is a priority and I work my priorities.
- Staying focused is easy.
Here are some more great affirmations for focus. Just pick one though and move on to your final move.
MicroMove #7 Do it
Jump in there! You have reduced stress, prioritized, specified, and affirmed! There’s nothing left to it but to do it no matter how unpretty it may be. Get in there and get it done. The clock is ticking.
- Always be aware of your triggers – Brainstorm a list of triggers and build your awareness by noting when you are engaging in a trigger. Playing Call of Duty when you know there are chores to complete or diving into an hour-long debate to avoid finishing that first draft. Gently note this times and realize you can take the micro moves above to get back on track.
- Write if-then statements and keep it nearby – If then statements are great tools to use with your awareness of distraction triggers. For instance at an old job my boss had us all say the motto “If there is time to lean there is time to clean” – plug in your trigger with your priorities and use it as a verbal reminder to refocus using some of the moves above.
- Have a reward system handy – When you do get back on track and finish your work in the time you devoted know of 1 or 2 rewards you can give yourself a positive experience and reinforce the satisfaction of being focused.
The smallest steps lead us toward success. When you recognize that the small moves that you take contribute toward your overall achievements your destiny becomes much richer and simpler. You can relish in every note you write and every goal you set which will keep you motivated in the long run. Appreciate your micro moves and use them to keep them keep you focused today.
For more moves toward your success visit zingahart.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a personalized strategy for you.
- Honesty is a winning policy: Before you embark on any ambitious journey, you need to honestly assess the progress you and your team can capably commit to weekly. If you are already in your journey and are starting to feel buried, share that with your team as well. Voicing frustrations, delays, and setbacks with everyone allows for many minds (including your own) to create a solution. Journal, set up a meeting or group chat to discuss a strategy for success that works for everyone!
- Create and celebrate easy wins in your project, early and often: *Secret Alert* I have a little happy dance EVERY TIME I release a post by the end of Monday. I started it in an effort to share what I learned helps individuals craft their own success, so they can contribute to and grow a thriving community! Although it takes some time to complete, it is still a small step towards ensuring that someone will be inspired to boldly take any small step towards building their own success journey.
- Harness the power of your tribe! Being held accountable to our goals boosts our sense of commitment. There is something special about someone else knowing about what you want to do and then checking in on you to make sure you completed it! Schedule lunch dates, send a FB msg or text, connect in a Group chat, etc. etc. Find an accountability partner/group and share your goals and progress with them. Need someone to hold you accountable?
If you are up to date on the latest trends in growing your reach online, whether it is for yourself, business, or passion then you know cultivating your leadership brand means creating content for the web. Content is valuable, purposeful, creations (whether an article, video, comic, podcast, etc.) that attract a particular audience and ultimately drives them to take action.
Yes, all those infographics, quote pics, even random Twitter rants you post are tied to the web of your brand. In a sense, this becomes the pre-impression before the first impression someone might get from meeting you more personally. In a sense it also forms an idea of who you are and a baseline for the value you bring to the table that people can start to believe.
While your integrity is usually tested in real life, your reputation is partially set on the foundation of what you post online. While you don’t have to be a prolific author to write your story, you do need to respect how critical it is to maintain your authenticity, while growing your personal or business brand. Self-authorship is a theory attributed to Baxter Magolda, and is defined as “the internal capacity to define one’s own beliefs” as she wrote in Three Elements of Self-Authorship. This self-definition is at the foundation of developing your personal brand over the course of your success journey. Owning your beliefs takes time because you need to sort out the wealth of information you have absorbed and learned over a lifetime and distill it into your core sense of being. While, not quick task, with simple steps you can begin to dig in deeper, find your internal sage and use that to project and share your brilliant brand with the world in a way everyone can agree upon.
Here are four simple steps to author your self-definition so you can grow and polish it over time.
- Journal on what you think you have to do in order to fulfill your dream life: What are the essential things you need to live. Be specific: “Using the bathroom, eat, sleep” are some basics to include, but keep adding until you’ve exhausted your ideas, “own a business, have a family” could all be a part of this list.
- Walk away from the list for a day or so and then return. Look over the list and question how this master to-do list aligns to your values, your mission, and your vision. If it doesn’t click, make a note of how the “have to” came into your life. For instance, if you wrote, “own 20-bedroom mansion like Oprah” but your vision is to travel for the rest of your life, then consider Oprah’s role in influencing your personal beliefs.
- This working list is for you to return to and to refine over time. Choose the strongest beliefs of the work you have to do to live a full life. Notice what comes up over and over, notice what you are most proud of as you go about your days. Reduce your have to four or five sentences to keep your essentials close.
- Own it. Write it out, make it your screensaver, or create a ringtone. Figure out a way to keep your essential commands to yourself a constant in your life.
There are easy steps on the road to self-authorship Of course, there are many more steps on this journey, from vlogging to therapy, but what matters most is getting started. Thanks for walking with me!
For more here’s a Youtube video on the four phases of self-authorship
Want a partner to help you hone in on your self-definition?
Set up a free phone chat with me here!
Who’s focusing on their personal brand this year?
I definitely am!
Hanging out with women’s empowerment groups, a new network of fabulous friends and potential partnerships, as well as facing anything that feels like fear head on and with gusto! The energy of my personal brand building focus contagious and like I discussed at my recent workshop, From Passion to Process, where your passion is your energy! It is a colorful word for describing the feeling that arises when we are doing something delightfully desirable.
One part of facing my fears was doing starting my YouTube channel! Cheers to all the vloggers out there, creating video content is an intensive activity! Although, I create content and help small businesses’ build their brand strategy, putting myself right in the center of of building my personal brand still comes with an edge of awkwardness. Yet, I know confidence comes with time, and I look forward to learning and growing by following this new avenue in my life.
How are you growing your personal goals?
If building your brand means incorporating a new strategy, tactic, or method, how do you ensure that you stay authentic to your core values and vision, while treading across new lines?
Tying your vision to your brand means taking control and ownership of every bit of it. From your colors to your fonts, from your values to your guarantee, you need to ensure that you consistently apply your brand across your communication channels, so that you are easily recognized and familiar to your ideal audience.
So what are the major components of your brand that you need to think about? This awesome slide show by Jarkko Sjöman covers some basic features of a personal brand with the sage advice of Will Ferrell.
Below are some free or low cost moves you can take to improve and align your personal brand today!
Google Yourself (Or Your Business)
I just did it! Wow, one year ago it my LinkedIn popped up and that’s about it. Now my content, websites, and many other streams of how I want to represent myself on the web comes to the top of the list. How is your Search Engine presence? Is Google linking you to the content that you are most passionate about? If you are not showing up in the ranks you may want to consider if it’s time to focus on your online brand. Offline method: Do a personal SWOT analysis.
Update your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn is the place to be if you want to have a voice in the professional sphere of our economy. Since I enjoy working with small businesses, start-up entrepreneurs, and non-profit directors, I make it my mission to meet, connect, and learn with the best that LinkedIn can offer. Updating your LinkedIn profile to include your personal vision or mission statement and the specific values you bring to employers, gives your general audience an anchor to who you are.
Create a piece of content (write a blog post, share a video, make a flyer for you local bulletin board)
Notice I didn’t say start a blog. You no longer have to have a blog to post articles. LinkedIn Pulse is a great platform for sharing content articles, while aligning to your personal and professional brand at the same time. Is this advice to not start a blog, far from it, but if you are not ready to dig into building your own blog yet then a small step forward would be to post there. That goes for other content as well, find ways to collaborate if running the entire content marketing enterprise is too much to manage right now. You should always strive towards having your own platform for hosting and controlling your content, but not having one is no excuse for not participating.
These small steps are only a beginning! If you checked out the SlideShare above you will see your business card, resume, website, and everything you create or is associated with you is a part of your personal brand. Checking on your brand’s bits and pieces means spending time combing through who you are and how you come across to your audience. Building your brand is about ensuring you are authentically projecting your core value, purpose, and passion with the world, which is no small feat! Keep striving because your end vision is definitely worth it.
96% of adults daydream. If you are one of those adults, ask yourself: are you using this seemingly random activity to the fullest potential?
Like most successful activities, daydreaming to your favor will take practice, purpose, and persistence and, in this case, we’re going to focus on your career. How can you use daydreams to ensure you are reaching your career path’s most passionate potential? There are simple techniques to do so, but first a short overview of current thoughts around daydreams.
What are daydreams?
Daydreams were discovered when scientists notice neural network activity while participants were not participating in anything at all. This came to the formation of the phrase “stimulus-independent thought,” which are thoughts created sans interaction or engagement with the environment outside of our minds. In this sense, daydreams may seem as if they are out of your control, and they can easily be, but the truth is our mind is a muscle and we work with it as we would most functioning muscles in our body.
So how can we use daydreams to create our best career path?
We must actively practice day dream by engaging in personal discovery sessions. This type of daydreaming is called positive-constructive daydreaming, which is the active reflection on our feelings, thoughts, imaginations, and other personal facets of our life in an open manner. This activity means letting go of any urge to stop yourself from thinking a thought or dreaming a dream. Studies found this type of thinking led to an overall sense of well-being and furthermore it opens you up the possibilities of where you can apply your value.[source]
How can you use this on your career path?
The answer is there are many ways to do it and you mustn’t stop at one! Experiment and continuously reflect on your career path throughout the time that you desire to earn a living for yourself. Two simple ways to incorporate this technique into your life is by:
Take a career quiz
Taking personality quizzes, like this one, or this one, and imagining yourself in the ideal roles that they describe for you. When it comes to career construction, my old mentor, Dr. Mark Savickas, told me they’re only about half right. Yet, this is a safe and simple activity to envision a future you.
Put yourself into the position and research it. Note what excites you and what doesn’t as you explore what the role has to offer.
The closest personality test for your work preference is the Holland Code, a model developed by John Holland and used by the military. My Holland Code was IEAS, most Holland Codes are the first 3 letters, which meant my career preference would be book restorer. NO!!! Don’t let online or even legitimate quizzes decide your career path, in order to find your authentic value you must dream deeper into who you are.
Career Path Dream Land
Asking yourself probing questions and then answering them until you reach a point of profound clarity is a thing. This is what is needed to really unearth the answers of who you are and where you are meant to bring value to the world.
A safe way to do this is what I call a mini-self-retreat. Find a way to get time alone and comfortable: send the roommate or partner out, find a baby or pet sitter, or go to a hotel.
Relinquish yourself from responsibility save for your Self.
Then have a nice thoughtful internal discussion about what you want. Stay with the discussion and record your answers for later use, listen to yourself with openness and innocence, as if within you there is a great warm source of your very own personal all-knowing. It can seem different at first, but this is just a surface level way to find your authentic value from within.
Will daydreaming get you a job? No. Constructive daydreaming and self-discovery will set you on a path to a career you are confident carrying as a part of your life’s legacy. If that’s something you think is worth having, let me know!
Comment and we’ll connect 🙂