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?

Free Higher Ed Approved Tools for Your Authentic Success

If you’ve ever connected with me on LinkedIn, you know I am a proud higher education professional. I honestly believe improving the higher education industry will help unlock the purposeful potential of our nations. So far, it’s been a long journey of leadership, suppression, growth, challenge, contradictions and support. It is an industry that frustrates and excites my energies to no end, and I will not stop until I figure out how to tie higher education to the trillion-dollar ROI it can naturally and organically produce?

Wondering what is a higher educational professional? 

Essentially, we staff colleges and universities in the various roles and positions needed for the organization to effectively and efficiently run. We are the admissions counselors who talked you through the ins-and-outs of campus living or the advisor who helped you consider majors. Our role also extends to presidents, government consultants,  faculty, and residence services. A higher education professional is many-faced, multifaceted, and mold-as-you go role that truly attracts those who are flexible, service-oriented, and enjoy problem-solving as a whole.

zinga hart higher education winter is coming joke

Credit: WinterisComing.Com

For me, it is a career interwoven with my destiny.

What have I learned so far?

Ever since 2013, when I made it my personal mission to show the world the value of education,  I studied and obtained my M.Ed. in Higher Education, with a focus on adult development and success. From my journey, I have learned many things, but the first thing I would tackle in my mission is sharing the tools we use to help develop others. It amazed me, how Meyers-Briggs was only taught for the first time in college and Holland was discussed only in a career-development course in graduate school. These are tools that could be freely accessed by anyone, but only randomly encountered on a syllabus for some students to see.

Well, today, I see and share, so that you can take one more move towards building your authentic legacy of success. Check out three of my favorite tools to use that will help you unearth your inner brand and tap into your personalized success strategy.

Your Learning Style

There are certain ways that people process and use new information. If you want to make any form of learning easier on yourself, discover your learning style and implement any useful techniques immediately. The VARK test was first shared with me by my biology professor, who I later discovered would teach me a lot about learning. VARK stands for Visual, Auditory, Read-Write, and Kinesthetic. These are four basic domains or learning and familiarizing yourself with your special way will cut down on a lot of the time it takes to build new skills, like skills you will need to achieve your final vision of success.

Try the VARK Quiz

Your Work Preference 

The Holland Code was named after John Holland, a person who used military job duty classification to devise a test for work preferences and how they affect success in certain roles. From this research, he came up with six main types of preferences: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Conventional, and Enterprising.  These six preferences will help you narrow down and understand why you prefer to crunch numbers over writing songs, or why helping people motivates you every day.

Discover your work preference with O*Net.

Your Personality

Myers-Briggs is more popular, but it is still not as widely-used as I’d prefer. This inventory is longer but allows you to understand and describe some of your personality traits and how they interact with others. One, great version of this test is through 16-personalities. What’s your type?

All three of the options are useful tools for discovering and articulating your uniqueness. Of course, everyone is a bit of everything so nothing will be a 100% accurate to you, but it gives you a great headstart.

 

 

One Thing Your Goal Absolutely Needs For Success

Welcome to a new week everyone!  I’m happy to know you are still present.

I’m still here sharing what I can, my everlasting reminder that YOU are the key to your success. How you nurture, care, comfort, and create your Self over time will determine much of your outcomes on your success path. Of course, the only way to work on oneself is to spend time reflecting inwardly on who we are, why we are who we are, and who we are becoming. So I’m glad to have you here reflecting with me. If you ever want to share, comment below or send a message.

Now back to my life’s call-to-action of nurturing humanity’s Self-success, there are many quick tricks a success seeker will learn over the years. We adhere to the importance of following up, strive to listen to others, and remember to stay focused, but many of us have an essential go-to move that we know will ensure we make it happen.

Here is my go-to:

_
Write it down.
_

Yup, that is one absolutely, positively essential move needed to make sure you get your big goals done.

Now wait a minute, Zinga, I don’t care for writing… 

Okay, maybe you don’t. Maybe you are so attuned to your learning style that you have transcended the most basic tools for retaining human memories: the paper and pencil. I get it and I understand. If you must; find another medium, but the message remains the same. If you want to achieve your goals, you must first bring your imagination of a goal into reality, by any means necessary. This means making a physical prototype of your goal. Writing is a basic, yet effective way of prototyping your vision. Of course,there are other ways, and I am an avid advocate of working within your learning style to get things done.

In fact, I created an infographic on ways to keep your vision (i.e. the long-term goal) ahead of you.

Zinga Hart Success Quote

But there are some key benefits from solely writing down your goal to make sure it gets done. One study covered by NPR and conducted by the University of Toronto demonstrated that when students wrote down their motivations and faced their obstacles on paper, the achievement gap disappeared between genders and races. This powerful act of writing our goals into being allowed typically underachieving student groups gets us to organize our thoughts, which allows us to resolve stressors while finding the mental fuel for our passions.

So our One More Move for this week is to do just that. Write down those goals, and if you’ve already written your goals down go over them again and perhaps refine the sentence even further.

But..Zinga…What about me the non-writer? 

First,  you should send me a message with your the goal you have in mind or schedule a 15-minute chat, we can customize a solution together. Then there’s that infographic I created just to get you started right away. Let me know what you think and if you have any tips for keeping your goals ahead of you!

 

 

Feel Your Vision (1)

 

audit your success journey

Audit Your Success Path with these 5 Questions

 

audit your success journey

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.

3 Time Saving Tools for Entrepreneurial Parents

Kids definitely have their future cut out for them. I, as a young Millennial parent, still have hope for them. Sure there is strong evidence of deep flaws in our systems of civilization, there is still hope that the human spirit will overcome, create, and innovate in response to the needs of the world. The spirit of the entrepreneur lives strong.

But what happens when the entrepreneurial spirit collides with the child spirit? Suddenly the burning obsessiveness that Napoleon Hill says we need to focus on to truly transmute our thoughts into reality, is interrupted, by tiny hands that want to type like Mommy on her keyboard. Those tiny hands love to explore, to help, and to just be, and as someone who doesn’t want to suppress her inner spirit, I have to find ways to fit in time for goal work and family time. Luckily, there are some tricks of the trade to help balance nurturing her and my purpose.

Tool 1 # Baby Gates

One big tool has been using baby gates, not to wrap her up, but to wrap up our stuff. us the baby gate to place around the entertainment systems and other places where she prefers to reach and grab. This way what is freely available she is okay to play with and the glowy electronic buttons are off limits.

Tool #2 Timer

One great quality about a good entrepreneur is we could just do stuff all day. When focused, we do and do and do and the effects are amazing. Yet, balancing our time takes an accounting of our time. When feeling pressed for time, set a time limit and focus happily and completely on what you want to do. For instance, when I get home from work spending time with my daughter is a key source of happiness, but I also have signed up for responsibilities that require me to respond to people, so I set a timer for getting things done. Whether it’s 40-minute session for story time or 20-minute email crafting for my team, by setting timers I am freed from time. One of my favorites is the Pomodoro timer, which sets the time to 25 minutes.

Tool #3 YouTube

Yup, I said it, YouTube has some pretty useful educational videos for toddlers and children. One thing I like to focus on Baby Einsteins. As a double benefit, a lot of the music could double as white noise, which has a minimal distraction for a parent who needs to focus. Just check out one of the episodes below:


Of course, there are plenty of other ways to use tools to help with raising kids while living up the entrepreneurial lifestyle.  What do you use? How do you balance? Like, I’d really love to know…I’ve spent 1.5 decades raising kids and have yet to find the perfect formula.

 

 

Career Champs with Alicia Robinson, Founder and Executive Director of Limitless Ambition

Bootstrapping a non-profit is no light affair.

alicia robinson limitless ambition kent ohio zinga hart

I remember the night like it was yesterday. Frustrated with being severely limited at my job, I needed a way to vent my  insatiable need to create solutions to complex problems, and I found myself meeting with the coolest professional woman in the coolest building on campus at what was formerly known as the Blackstone Launchpad.

It was a semi-transparent glass box, smack dab in the middle of the student center, and having encountered her before, I curiously wondered how we could connect. When we met, she gave me the invitation to an All the CEO Ladies networking meeting later that week. It was after work so I went. It was there that the true connection was made.

It was there that the true connection was made.

We all had to pitch as a part of the membership. I came up with an idea to develop a social app that categorized and simplified who will be on the current political ballot. Everyone cheered, it was and still is a pretty crucial invention that we can’t quite get popularized.

Then it was her turn, Alicia Robinson. She sat and cheered everyone through their ideas and made friends pretty instantly. Like a cool older sister that you wonder where they get their je ne sais quoi.  We all heard her stitch together her vision of a future where women accept our pain because it pushes toward a life of purpose and passion. Where we network together to build youth girls to dream, believe, and achieve without limits. An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

An organization she would call Limitless Ambition, Inc.

Her ideas of the future were so grand and so big, it  almost felt like one’s first visit to the late FAO Schwartz. She had the determination in her voice that made everyone feel like all the pitches we gave would pan out perfectly, just because we said it. We wanted her to succeed because we felt our own limitless ambition fueling us there in each others presence. A room full of young, emerging women hoping to craft a better future with our best ideas.

women leadership free lessons a woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman

Start-Up Leadership Lessons

By this point, I had experience with growing and refining strategies for non-profits so I agreed to join the group and help create a strategic plan, while doing some marketing.  that is where I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas. This is when I learned that a start-up non-profit is a completely different canvas than the well-established organizations I was used to before starting college. Becuase it was a start-up, I was voted into the position of president, a role I was surprised to be offered. Yet, my initiative and understanding of the mission along with my comfort with strategic management fit for a startup. I agreed to take the position for three years, we the stipulation that we would spend time finding a president of a much higher-profile by the end of my term.

Alicia and I were still in school at the time, we both also worked full-time had tight millennial budgets, an untapped network, and  starter experience to boot. Our passion wouldn’t let that stop us, and, thankfully, Blackstone Launchpad, now KSU Launchnet provided an excellent source of wisdom, connections, and support along the way. We had late nights,  early emails, weekly and twice-weekly meetings; we devoted any minute of our free time, effort, and attention into making sure Limitless Ambition, Inc did everything as thoroughly as possible, to show we could match the pace of our peers. What we learned was that we had something that worked and that we had to keep serving those around us because they found value every time.

When life called she answered cultivated visions

Our Start Up Nonprofit Grows Up

It is no easy journey and we still have a long road to walk. There were small successes, frustrating failures, arguments, and awkward moments of facing our truths, so we could improve and move on. Yet, all along the way, we knew the moments were moments of empowerment, which was exactly the point. Thus, we kept moving forward, ego bruises and all. Now, we are preparing to host our next summer program and we have grown our team from around 5 to over 20 in three years time. Our organization has had a reach of over 600 people face to face and we have a locally-targeted social media reach of 4000+, all while working our passions part time.

As our team grew our hectic schedules quelled, and now we face new leadership lessons beyond the ones of our early start-up days. How do we ensure our mission is reflected in every aspect of our work? How can we provide community transparency that builds trust amongst those we serve and support? How can we be better leaders, still?

This may be my last year serving as the president of Limitless Ambition, so I hope to leave my lessons here for those who will carry the torch forward. Take a moment below to watch me interview Alicia in my special podcast segment below.

lessons learned from leading limitless ambition for the ladies who launch gala

Lessons Learned From Leading Limitless Ambition

As I get ready for the gala this week, I realize that this leadership ride I’ve been on has shaped some powerful lessons in my life. You see,  when I was in grad school I was a woman seeking to take a stance of power within my life and the world around me. Thanks to connections made at Kent State University’s LaunchNet, I was fortunate enough to encounter a young startup non-profit that had a motto aimed at helping girls dream, believe, and achieve without limits. As a lover of building solutions from scratch and human empowerment, I found a home to pursue my passion of achieving long-term strategic goals, while doing good in the world.

Shortly after, I found myself to be the president-elect of Limitless Ambition, Inc. and while growing a non-profit organization that empowers women in Northeast Ohio, I’ve come to unearth many areas of growth. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned after 2 full years in the position.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse. Read more.

One More Move: Replace Your Negative Sayings

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.

positive phrases.jpg

micro moves to focus fast get productive improve success

7 Micro-Moves To Focus Fast w/ 3 Free Bonuses

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.

Bonus moves

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 zingahart@gmail.com to discuss a personalized strategy for you.