30 Things to Accomplish Before 30

This will be a fun list for me.

So, thirty is eyeing me hard.

As it approaches, I mostly think…age doesn’t matter as much as it did when I was 16, but the magnitude of adulthood grows heavier by the day. Friends I grew up with are now a part of raising our future. College buddies are becoming local leaders. Every day,  I sense that now, more than ever, my involvement is needed in something bigger than myself.

That being said…
adulting is hard.

The pressures of leadership, the threads of consequential outcomes, and navigating the endless politics of people, and while just maintaining the basics of life could have oneself feeling stretched.  Our entrenched responsibilities pulling our energy and focus away from our long-term vision of success. Making it so easy to lose focus on our most honest desires.

When I start to lose focus…I make a list.

This list will be a mix of fun things and things I should have mastered by the time I reach 30.

Think something’s missing? Let me know in the comments.

So for me, these are the 30 things I want to accomplish or master before I turn 30.

1. Accomplish: Taking a girl’s trip
2. Visiting a friend in a foreign city
3. Go to Trinidad
4. Read fiction books again (3 before 30)
5. Finish 2nd draft of the novel I started
6. Have a good parenting routine
7. Have a consistent quality beauty regimen
8. Improve my morning and evening routine
9. Memorize an at-home exercise routine
10. Memorize a yoga set
11. Drink mainly water
12. Pay off 1/2 my personal debt
13. Follow a house maintenance and development plan
14. Boost Emergency Fund
15. Have a quality capsule wardrobe
16. Work with self-critic and turn it into positive
17. Visualize my big goals every day
18. Meet more people
19. Maintain a quality circle of friends
20. Look into the family tree
21. Visit family I haven’t seen in years
22. Buy another investment property
23. Be a better baker
24. Be a better-informed voter
25. Write the first draft of my story
26. Face my fear of a video camera
27. Take a parent to dinner (or both)
28. Do something random
29. Take a self-care weekend
30. Complete this list 🙂

Ask April: Get Comfortable With Your Ask

When you embark on your passion project path you find yourself having to pick up many new skills and experiences. One constant is that you find yourself asking a lot of questions. Asking questions is the brilliance of our humanity. It gives the world in front of us pathways to possibility within a seemingly random world.

The act of questioning is a skill, and like skills can be lost without use. Good news is you can also build mastery in this skill. What you find is a well-crafted question will yield more meaningful results.

For Ask April, get comfortable with our ask. Here’s a method to do it:

  1. Ask away: Give yourself time and space to ask without limits. Set a timer for five to ten minutes and ask your self for and about anything. Grow on your requests or ideas to make them wow you. Bring in details and paint a picture or a story around your asks. If you ask another question allow yourself to move with the questions and then build on that.This practice is a bit of an asking brainstorm that encourages you and stimulate creativity in your questions.
  2. Focus your ask: Now that your question creativity is flowing it’s time to put your skill to good use. Consider a specific question you are facing in your life.

    What is the challenge you want to overcome or bring to fruition?

    For instance, you could be passionate about educational programs in your community. You want to build a local environment where everyone feels empowered to prosper.  You work with a nonprofit that organizes itself around that mission. Now you find yourself having to ask many questions. Now it’s time for your annual fundraising event and you’ve been charged with getting the community you serve to care.
    ZingaHart

    When making the ask to have people commit to the organization’s success you should focus your question in three ways:

    1. Know the who: There may be many people involved with your question or there may only be a few. Take note of who they might be and why they might care.
    2. Know the why: What is your connection to this? What makes you feel good about the efforts in place and what do you hope is the ultimate accomplishment?
    3. Know how: When you are engaged in conversation with your person, know how they can take the next step. Give them the action that brings them closer to the move you hope they’ll take: making a commitment in this case.
  3. Cut in clarity: If you’ve been taking notes throughout this process, you should have 3-5 minutes of free writing and around half a page of planning. Of course, you could and should extend your research, but the last move before taking action would be to bring clarity to your ask.

    Write your question in one concise, yet encompassing question. You may not always use this question exactly, but you will bring clarity to what your communicating should the opportunity ever arise.

*Bonus* To grow even more comfortable with the ASK think of little stories that elaborate what you’re saying.

What do you think about the importance of asking questions? Let me know below! 

 

 

One More Move: Lay Out Your Desires

I’m back!

Currently, I am writing this blog, with Little Einsteins going on in the background for my daughter, and a part of me feels…weird.  Well, I feel something. It’s been a while since my last blog post, and honestly, I missed writing, but I also appreciated the break. My life has changed dramatically, since the time I slowed down on writing. I started a new job and bought a house, which came with a move to a new city. While I appreciated all of these changes, I knew that I couldn’t stop what I believe my purpose to be, and that is drawing out the success of others around me, one small move at a time.

So without further notice, we begin the small moves that bring you that much closer to where you want to be. This one is a good move if you’re just starting out on your journey. It was actually the theme of the last workshop I did for my local meetup group Cultivated Sisters. This move is to lay out your deepest desires.

Really, Zinga, I know  my deepest desires!

I get that, they may swell within you and you may think about them fairly regularly, but until you write down your deepest desire and write in a way that shows you are committed to achieving them, then they will always come and go as figments of your imagination. Make it concrete! Write your desires somewhere, declare it out loud, and put a date on achieving it.

Write your desires somewhere, declare it out loud, and put a date on achieving it.

This is a move that goes back to one of the OGs of self-help success, Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich. He writes, “whatever the mind can conceive, and believe, it can achieve” and that first step to believing that conception is realizing it on paper.

Teachers Appreciation Week (2)

So for one more move this week, find a space and a place to write your deepest desires, write as if you’re writing on a magic paper that will fulfill whatever you wish. Then leave it alone for an hour or so and review it. Question what you wrote, make it more specific, add more details, bring it to life.

To help refine what you wrote here are some questions to stimulate your thoughts:

  • What am I missing from my life?
  • What is in overabundance in my life?
  • What do I want more of?
  • How is my life working?
  • How could I change how my life is working?
  • What would that change bring ideally?

Try not to underestimate this small move, it could be the difference between mediocre and magnificent.

What did you write on your “magic” paper? 

The Simplest Way to Build a Discipline Map

Zinga Hart Success Quote (2)

Let’s say you’re starting from scratch.

Sure you’ve gotten things done in the past, but your reliability is 50/50 on your good days. You know you need to get more done to get somewhere, but life — ever-distracting life — draws you away from your personal bigger picture. It happens to the best of us, as we make room for new family responsibilities, changes in professions, a call to civic duty, or the gamut of things we have to deal with as we paint our life vision into reality.

What keeps you going? 

For me, my biggest skill to develop has been the habit of discipline, which I see as doing something even though the thought of doing it brings one discomfort. Putting off that 50-page thesis or skipping a morning run all stem from the ideas that come into our heads when we think about doing them…

ugh so many pages to write…

but I’ll get all sweaty…

Whatever the situation or thoughts may be…it is the sensation of discomfort the forces us to choose whether to stay with the discomfort and do what is important anyway or find a way to escape the sensation by another binge session of Shameless on Netflix.

Discipline is the act of going forward anyway.

How does one use discipline?

While we can be sporadic about the ways we are disciplined (you should see me buy the whole town on Sims…), if you are interested in creating your authentic vision of success you exercise discipline in meaningful ways otherwise, you run the risk of life molding your discipline muscles for you. Creating a routine for yourself allows you to apply your discipline to your personal mission.

 So here goes, here’s the simple way to create that routine:

  1. Figure out what you want to do with your life (i.e. write your vision)
  2. Write out what you want to achieve in the next 10, 5,  and 3 years
  3. Develop goals to get done within 1 year
  4. Figure out what you need within 1 month
  5. Write down what you need by the end of the week
  6. Jot 3 things to get done by the end of your day
  7. Check 1-2 (once a year), 3 (once a month), 4-5 (once a week) and update 6 every day.

And we’re done. Sure there are tons of tools you can use, and please remember, you have to actually do the things on these lists for them to be real, but if all you had were a pencil and paper, this list is all you would need.

Build your routines around finding time to achieve what is on these lists and let life fill in the blanks.

Here’s a great article from ZenHabits on mastering discipline.

PS Posting are switching from Tuesday Mornings to Thursday mornings.

professional picture zinga hart return on investment akron cleveland

Return on Investment: Get a Professional Picture

Most of my “One More Moves” are free. Honestly, most of our beginning desires for success in life can be achieved for free. Mapping a business plan, building a network, sharing your ideas, staying productive and motivated….there are free ways to do all of these things, the investment comes when you are ready to grow.

Like all good things that come to grow, you need to invest:

  • energy,
  • time,
  • and/or money

into getting to the next phase of your mission. While you could live in the very romantic world of hopes, dreams, and ideas, you will miss out on the fulfilling experience of creating your desires into a reality.

How tomakea workshop (4)

So what’s one small investment you can make?

Adding a professional picture to your digital profiles.

I tell you! It’s an investment I made near the end of 2016 and the changes have been real and meaningful. Here are some immediate returns on my investment in a professional photo:

  • Improved level of connections on LinkedIn: Within days of updating my profile pic, I was invited to connect by a US Senator.
  • Impress colleagues: For my new role, I did an interview, having my own professional photo instead of the standard issue one given by the university, allowed me to bring my warmth and character into my first stamp.
  • Increase confidence: When building my website and creating flyers, I feel great sharing my face and brand because I am not doing an “in-the-car selfie”. I show that I could invest in the experience needed to do the job.
  • Better lighting: Improved lighting allows for you to use your photos in a variety of situations, you can cut and paste can add it to book covers, marketing posts, and plenty of other places.

A typical professional business headshot will typically be an investment of $100-$250.

Unless….

How tomakea workshop (3)

You’re a Northeast Ohio (Akron Event) woman and a member of Empower NOW, the social enterprise group that empowers women to empower women through business development, creative connections, and resource sharing!  Get a professional headshot on March 25th for only $10 thanks to the generous donation of one of our members and the sponsorship of the Akron Microbusiness Center!

 

 

Have any tips on getting a professional headshot? Comment below!

one more move reset on zingahart.com

One More Move: Reset

Hi everyone!

It’s been a while as I like to step back and observe during major life transitions.

What’s the big change?

Well, I managed to land a new role in higher education! Working with the College of Communication and Information to help serve our graduate student community. A dream opportunity, I am thrilled, excited, and pumped to embrace the new waves of change.

Working with the College of Communication and Information to help serve our graduate student community. A dream opportunity, I am thrilled, excited, and pumped to embrace the new waves of change.

A dream opportunity, I am thrilled, excited, and pumped to embrace the new waves of change.

Yet, at the same time, being an INTP (and a Taurus) I find sudden instances of change to take a lot of energy from my spirit. As an act of self-care, I go into Reflection & Rest mode.

I find ways to delegate projects, streamline tasks, and lighten up on meetings and events. I use the time to connect fully with family and take in the situations as they come.

we can't be afraid of change. you may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean a sea joy bell c quote found on zingahart.com

How do you approach big changes?

 

Before this Rest & Relax phase, I do one critical task:

Set a deadline for when your “rest” phase ends. Eventually, you should get back up to your full speed.

Rest is a beautiful gift, but it is best balanced with the energy of creation. Creating your future, your business, your brand or whatever drives you forward towards your goals.

So…here we are…

Building back up to full speed for me means taking the time to build on my mission to draw out your authentic success. To remind you of the hunger your ambitions ignite and give you the tools that satisfy your desires.

So I share one more move that gets you a step closer to where you want to be.

So my one more move is a review of how to reset after an extended period of rest. Disclaimer:  This is the method I’ve observed over time and I fully encourage your customize a process that works for you.  With that here are some actions to take.

How to Reset

Brain Dump

Set aside 5-10 minutes to free write or map all of the things important to you and what you want to achieve.

Organize and Prioritize 

Group what you wrote in the first part into major domains and then order the importance of what you should achieve first.

Review Your Vision

Does your latest brain dump align with your ten-year vision? Use your long-term look to further refine your current priorities or re-strategize the long-term goals as needed.

Get to it.

Things won’t get done unless you do them. If after the first three steps, you’re still frozen in the act, let’s chat about it.

one more move reset on zingahart.com

 

Free Up Your Time on Your Path to Success

There was probably a point in your life when you had more time than you do now.

Time and freedom to buy the entire Simsⓣ town or spend all day with friends at the mall, but then something shifted. You emerged hungry for the fulfillment of your true purpose…whatever it may be. And as you claimed it, soon the encounters and opportunities for you to will blossom before you…and soon…you may find yourself busier than usual. Then while you grow in experience your life pivots too, you may find yourself married, with greater family/community responsibilities, or just committed to what some may think is a full plate.

You know better, you’ve got this, but you also get the fact that there are so many hours in a day. If you had more time, you could do more and still build healthy relationships with yourself and others. While time is only a figment of the human imagination, it is still a valuable tool for measuring our movement through the day. If you find yourself searching for more time to focus on your higher-order priorities then you’ve found the right post.

You can find more time in your day, some ways are easier than others, but we’ll go over some that have worked for me in the past decade or so. Check out below for ways, by challenge level, to free up more time so you can continue seeking your authentic success.

Know Where Your Time is Going

The simplest of all is to first analyze and assess your typical week. Try your hardest not to change anything you would normally do and just keep track of your activities by the hour or half/hour. This honest assessment will help you understand the flow of your day and potentially identify some time sinks.

Do you come home after work and hop on Facebook for 3 hours? Is the first thing you do in the morning is play a couple of rounds of Call-of-Duty? Find gaps in your time, and places where you spend time doing low-priority activities. Next, make the decision to shorten or replace these slots with your top priorities.

Commit to Smaller Increments

Switching from the broad view to the specific. What is your main goal for freeing up time? Just how much time do you need to achieve this goal and by how soon? Set realistic numbers for the goal you want to accomplish. For instance, if you’re studying to become a real estate agent, but can’t find the space to study for 2 hours in the day, switch to 30 or 40 minutes to start. Set a timer and then congratulate yourself for sticking to it. Have your bare minimum amount of time to spend on an activity and commit. As you grow comfortable focusing on your passion regularly you will find your time will expand.

zinga hart a quote the river swells from the little streams

Set your priority boundaries

A lot of time can feel pulled away when you begin to commit to something you are not truly interested in doing. While some things may have to be done, you need to consider what brings you joy and pleasure, and what you really are not committed to doing. If someone is requesting something of you that goes outside of your priorities then consider letting it go. This can be more challenging because if you’re used to saying yes to everyone, they may be taken aback by a no, but be honest with yourself and others and you will save even more time in the long run.

Freeing up time in your schedule may or may not be an easy feat, but if it is to find more time for your greater search for success then it is a worthy challenge. While there are many other ways to free up time, these are some of the small adjustments you can make. What challenges do you have freeing up time in your schedule?

If you’re interested ask me about the time discovery worksheet I created to help analyze where your time is going.

Looking to the future and other writings.

Last week, I wrote about small moves you can take to plan for 2017. I hope you get to read it. This week, I’m just put some free-thought in response to what I wrote.

Why?

Well, I took this week to publish on the Pulse. I do that sometimes for my small business owners and community leaders. [Find my other writings from 2016 there 🙂 ]

So here we go:

Building off of 2016

2016 was a tough year.

Firstly, America’s existential crisis, was definitely a point of concern. I do hope we can find unity again.

Personally, this year I stepped up my presentation as a leader. As an INTP, I am super comfortable hiding behind my work. Look at the good work I do and let’s move forward to do more. As an employee or an assistant that makes me ideal, but as a leader of a budding non-profit, it is completely ineffective.

A leader listens to their community and responds in-kind. While I was always strong at the listening part, this year I really boosted the response part. They asked for more presence I created a monthly newsletter; more engagement – we added meeting activities and in-between events; more communication – we revamped our meetings, developed workshops, and gave even more details reports! All of this I would have never found the energy to do, if it wasn’t for their need.

A leader listens to their community and responds in-kind.

Yet, learning the balance between being present as a leader and finding energy as an introvert, was no simple feat. I learned to say no to wasteful-time sinks, yet so no to work during my agreed-upon free time. I listened to my body and gave it rest when required, and I never over-loaded my day, making sure to be aware of my meeting availability over the course of a month.

In 2017, I hope to be more present in the world of higher education. While, I love writing to help us all find our personal success, and running local and online economic empowerment initiatives, my true passion is higher education. Shifting how we draw out the success of adults from a systemic level will truly help achieve my vision of showing the world the trillion-dollar value of education. I hope to find time to meet with people during my professional career at the university, and eventually present myself on a person that likes to build communities that form a culture around the love of  self-development.

That long conversation…

When I meditated on my self and my higher purpose, I found that I finally feel as if I shifted into the groove of being passionate about what I produce. Now it’s a matter of producing consistently and intelligently.

So, I want to be even more efficient with my time in 2017 and to find ways more meaningful ways to connect with the people I care about more often.

Strive for More…

My greatest dream for 2017 is to grow Limitless Ambition’s (the non-profit) and Empower NOW’s (the network) community and to find better ways to serve their success.

On the blog, I hope to hone in and help you take meaningful moves to build your authentic success.

My fantasy is to head to an international beach for a week, something blue and sandy.

mpfiyu__1ba-joe-cooke

A week will do.

Honing in…

To review, serving others is going to be a key focus for 2017. I will shift from putting the work first to putting the heart first and instilling it into my intents and actions. Should be an interesting shift for a get-it-done girl like me.

Action Steps 

  • Call at least one friend and one family member per week.
  • Provide high-quality help to least two small businesses a quarter.
  • Give away highly valuable resources that I know others would find help on a weekly or monthly basis.
  • Offer one highly-useful workshop, webinar, or tool per month to help people grow the authentic [small business/nonprofit] success.
  • Set a budget for a beach trip and save 🙂
  • Have lunch with one new or familiar colleague at least twice a month.

So there’s the quick personal plan for 2017. What are some action steps you want to take during the next year? Comment below!

Remember these Three Positive Maxims to Keep You Moving Forward

I’ve always liked maxims.

max·im
ˈmaksəm/
noun
plural noun: maxims
1. a short, pithy statement expressing a general truth or rule of conduct. (Google Search)
When you find yourself having to make sound decisions followed by quick action, you notice you start to build a mental shorthand that helps turn the bets in your favor.
What are some maxims you like?
1. Just do it.  – Attributed to Nike.
My number one. Like seriously, ask my sister and my tattoo artist.
Such a simple reminder. If you find yourself wanting to do something, something important, and something that fits into your final vision, then do it. You can plan, think, talk, dream, and research all your life OR you can take those efforts and put it into getting the work done. Both paths take your energy, but only one truly fulfills you. You gain your substance when your energy expended, so put in that work.
2. Begin with the end in mind. – Steven Covey
You might be thinking, “Zinga…you just said NOT to plan…”  and I’d say…whoa there. Planning is critical to your success. How do end anywhere you want to go? The first step is knowing where you want to go.
So when you find yourself facing a decision that might stop you from moving forward, take a moment and reflect on the greater vision you are working towards.  For instance, as the president of Limitless Ambition, I actively think about our vision of building a positive network of women. When I find myself faced with a difficult decision I have to make on behalf of the organization, I consider, “Will this contribute to building a positive network of women?”
Consider what’s hindering your next success step forward, what’s your solution for overcoming the obstacle? Does the solution align with your final success vision?
3. Every drop fills the bucket
 This is a good thought for when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the gravity of the project. Sometimes, when you are ready to contribute to your promised time to move forward on your goal, you might need to break down your tasks into even simpler steps.
zinga hart a quote the river swells from the little streams

Another way to say it.

It’s okay. As long as you do it (see #1) you are gaining ground. Figure out ways to break your goal down into the simplest steps as possible for the day ahead of you. Celebrate when you accomplish it because you are coloring in your vision of success.
What’s a saying you keep close?