3 free paths to clarity

3 Paths to Clarity

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.

 

3 paths to clarity for international and northeast ohio leaders

 

clarity on social media marketing for small business shows a clear windshield with a dream catcher

Clarity is Imperative For Sustained Success

 

The Law of Entropy. My chemistry professor used to joke entropy was to blame for his messy office.

It’s bound to happen, our persistently organized systems will break down…

Despite our best efforts to build better and better systems, there will always be room for improvement because our systems will eventually encounter a chip, glitch, or setback.

This universal pattern explains why as we try harder and harder sometimes it feels like we find more moments of failure, more than when we didn’t even try at all.  Perhaps we can even give it the term the law of effort: mo’ money, mo ’problems in a sense. It’s why we entrepreneurs are always reminding each to keep hustling and to take one more risk.

You may consider to yourself: what does it take to make sure as we attain new heights of success on our journey? How can we ever continue when we feel the blows of betrayals, letdowns, and disappointments?

One key practice is making sure we are crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward.

It is imperative we keep crystal clear about what moves us forward and why we choose to move forward. @ZingaHart 

Stepping back to unfog our vision’s lens every once in awhile is as relieving as cleaning your car’s windshield. The tension of life’s muck provides a subtle added negative stressor from the strain of trying to see as far ahead as we know we can. So we take a moment to wipe it away, and then we see what we know we have the potential to see. A brighter vision of the road ahead of us.

How do you wipe the subtle stressors that slowly attach to your success goals over time? Do you meditate? Journal? Or perhaps simply unplug? Comment below or share with me on social media somewhere 🙂 

For me, my current long-term project is developing workshops to help small business owners gain social media clarity. Writing this for me takes a lot of concentration and energy, and having a clear strategy helps take the stress of thinking away. When I don’t feel like I know what to do next, I know to defer to my past notes for inspiration, and motivation. No matter what, if you are fighting through a mental fog at any point on your success path: slow down, reflect, and clarify. The next step will open up when your insight can relax on your vision again.

If you are building a social media strategy as a part of your success plan, you should sign up for the 10-day social media clarity challenge.

Go from chaos to clear in just 15 minutes a day – delivered straight to your inbox.

Sign up here for free or sign up below. This is nothing fancy, just simple action emails to keep you moving forward. Do this for your personal brand or your business. Challenge starts May 1st. 

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

One More Move: Sustain Your Momentum

Agendas, fundraisers, programs, networking and this is just the volunteer work?!?! As a passionate creator that presides over a startup non-profit, #LimitlessAmbition, 2 businesses, a higher ed profession, and a beautiful growing-so-fast family surfing the wave that is seeking success could easily crash, but when we do what we love…love finds a way. As entrepreneurs,  we often find ourselves swimming deep in a variety of projects, responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments that could easily have us feeling burned out, overwhelmed or just swamped. Our ambition won’t let us give up and the people we serve rely on us to be leaders, mentors, and overall figures of what our purpose stands for. So how can we ensure we sustain ourselves while completing complex projects and timelines?
Here a three key factors to take into account:
  1. 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!
  2. 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.

celebrate victory zinga hart

  1. 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?
What goals are you sustaining in March? Share them in the comments below.

Rest Works Wonders For Your Leadership

I run social media for our graduate students on Facebook. From asking our students about their content needs I’ve discovered missing a balance between work, family, school, and other human activities can make them feel over-stressed, overworked, and under-satisfied. While, finding balance goes beyond one remedy or another, there are proactive activitiesthat take us towards our core center of being.

One activity is to balance is our active mind. We’re constantly learning, applying knowledge, and making decisions that can draw away our energy from our core being. While our purpose can fuel our passion, it requires us to expend energy, which can only be balanced out with the other end of the spectrum: rest.

Sleep quote

How do you measure a good rest?

Now, you may say, Zinga that’s a bit fluffy. It’s not serious enough to help me achieve success. Or…I’ll rest when I’m dead.

I get it. We feel like more stuff gets done when we’re awake. It’s like a leaders version of FOMO.  Yet, if you are feeling low and groggy from a lack of rest, you may find more mistakes are made, relationships take a toll, and your zest for creativity and innovation is dulled. While we make be able to function when we are sleep deprived, we lose focus more often, which takes away our attention from essential tasks.

Finding rest keeps us focused and when we align our focus with our vision we move towards success.

What’s one way you fit rest into your routine?

As a higher ed professional, non-profit leader, entrepreneur, coach and mom, how I stay calm and rested seems like a mystery to some of my friends and colleagues. Sometimes, I’ve wondered what has sustained me for so long? Especially since at the height of my activities, I was also pursuing my master’s degree full-time. Were there days and nights when I was tired? Yes, but for the majority of the time, I was at ease.

Why?

My reliable secret: Taking a daily nap on my lunch breaks in my car. It would range from 5-20 minutes depending on my lunch activities. To wake up I set a really, loud and obnoxious rooster alarm.

It did take some practice to nap well. I did it by starting off with just napping for a minute or two and getting used to getting up and going back to work as soon as the alarm went off. Then the build up to 20 minutes, which took about a week and a half to get used to doing. Now, I nap like a pro.

For me, the obnoxious rooster alarm is a necessity.

If you can wake up to ringing fairy whispers, go for it.

So that’s one more move towards your success. Take some rest.

http---www.pixteller.com-pdata-t-l-298523

 

Keep Your Brand On-Point this year NYC

4 Smart Steps to Keep Your Brand On-Point this Year

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. 

self authorship zinga hart - Quote is Our Self Image, strongly held, essentially determines what we become

Can you visualize your self-image clearly?

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

From Passion to Process: 1st Workshop of the New Year!

I had a ton of fun today at Scribbles in Kent, OH. I hosted a workshop titled from Passion to Process where we reflected on our passions and then set aside time to build a system towards enacting our passions on an annual, monthly, weekly, and daily basis. It was a blast and such a good feeling to hear it was a helpful session.

northeast ohio passion discovery

Bonus: Scribbles is awesome and I thank them for hosting us! Their wall is lined with books and getting to color on the table tops was a creative feature.

passion discovery worksheet

One part I was particularly proud of was transforming my personal at-home command center into a useful printable for everyone that attended. The full version of the 2016 Command Center is attached below. I condensed it to one-page from them to save on printing costs and paper, so I wanted to share the full-version should there be any visual types out there.

Screenshot 2016-01-09 at 10.09.20 PM

 

Grab the free full version printable 2016 Command Center today.

 

Building Your Authentic Self-Definition

Building your self-definition plays a crucial role in how you lead yourself towards success. The challenge arises when you must sift through the input of others and find the wisdom nuggets you identify with, and with which others can mostly tolerate.

Trust, there is a lot of input.

We can’t help it, we want to see you take action, and so you are offered information to inspire your next moves. In addition, businesses want to envision you your ideal reality and offer you a solution to buy. While this can be useful when needs arise, it can also fill your mental chatter with clutter that distances you from the voice of your Self. 

self
self/
noun
  1. a person’s essential being that distinguishes them from others, especially considered as the object of introspection or reflexive action.
    “our alienation from our true selves”

This can make communicating with your authentic self feel like the Tower of Babel when the discord first struck.  Chaos and confusion as you try to build and yet somehow manage to stagnate or destroy simultaneously.

Yet, you need to  envision something and you need feedback to ensure your definition can withstand the test of time.

How can you balance between external inputs and internal controls?

There are many ways, but a reliable method can be borrowed from the business world. Small businesses and enterprises alike benefit from what is called a SWOT analysis. This assessment lists the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that a certain enterprise, team, product, or brand faces. It helps sort a wealth of information so you can turn it into actionable feedback.

if-you-change-the-way-you-look-at-things_wayne-dyer-quote-5

To incorporate this practice into your own success path  take these simple steps.

  1. Choose a personal goal you are pursuing.
  2. On your own, list what you consider to be your personal strengths that might help you achieve this goal and weaknesses that may inhibit you from achieving this goal.
  3. Next, consider any opportunities you could take of advantage of to reach these goals or any competition that might be in the way. Write these down as well.
  4. Then go around and ask people you trust or your closest circle of acquaintances and ask them the give you the observations from points one and two. What do they think your strengths and weaknesses are? What do they think of your goals and what challenges you might find along the way or what gaps they might hope you fill.
  5. Finally align the feedback notes you got for yourself and from your circle and see if where they align and where they don’t. Are your strengths viewed by your circle the same?
  6. Go over the feedback and use it to determine what you want others to know and how you can get there.

The personal SWOT assessment is a decision making tool to help you unlock possibilities for yourself as you develop her brand.

Click to download the Personal Definition SWOT Assessment

Let’s connect!

 

Daydream to Boost Your Most Passionate Career Path

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]

envision your career success

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.

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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 🙂

No affiliate links in this post.

7 Quotes to Inspire Your Career Action Plan

Building an authentic career path takes effort. Maintaining your job, keeping yourself open to new opportunities, while improving your skills to keep up with the pace of change in the working world is just a few additional domains to juggle in the scope of your life. Endless online applications and a degree of uncertainty during interviews, can make the experience daunting for even the most seasoned of career champs. Now, the path of talent connection is moving to the social world, which is an additional activity to include on your list of many.

On your career journey it is important to stay motivated.

Here are some 7 motivational quotes to keep your career aspirations in perspective as you continue to build the dream. 

There are positive and negative thoughts and, hey, it doesn’t cost you a cent more to think positively

– Angelo Dundee, boxing trainer

Even the best career candidates will not be chosen for every position. The factors that go into choosing you are plenty: the needs, culture, and desires of the company, hiring manager, and team will all play a role into the final decision. So while you may find positions slipping out of reach, there is no need to be negative because that will only slow down your search. Stay positive because it keeps you active. 

You can’t build a reputation on what you’re going to do.

— Confucius

Zinga Hart - Build a reputation quote by Confucius

If you want to be X (a marketer, account manager, etc.) you are not going to get there by talking about what you will be doing, you need to find ways to do it! Learn the tech associated with the position, volunteer where you can, write about it! Find ways to do what you want to do, whether it is a part of your position or not.

No man can succeed in a line of endeavor which he does not like.

-Napoleon Hill

Recognize what you don’t like to do early. This will help cut out positions you don’t really want so you can spend time on what you do want.

The worst days of those who enjoy what they do, are better than the best days of those who don’t.

—E. James Rohn

When you find something you love, you will know because even the pain points will be worth it.

There is no passion to be found in playing small—in settling for a life that is less than you are capable of living.

Nelson Mandela

I run into people who shy away from speaking outlandish visions of what they want from their future. They fear the disappointment that comes from not attaining it. Yet, the disappointment truly lies in the moment resigned from choosing a life they want. Imagine the best future you can then work towards it today, it is much more fulfilling than giving up all hope before trying.

Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.

-Gloria Steinem

Another reason people shy away from imaginations of the future is because they think imagining and daydreaming are a waste of time. This is a dangerous rumor. Dreaming, imagining, and thinking are exercises that ensure our career dreams grow into a career process with an outcome we desire. Make it the first step and give yourself permission to dream your best life.

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No one rises suddenly in the world, not even the sun.

Know that your career progress will unfold with time. Just continue to cultivate the process, plan for greatness, and hold patient as your destiny blooms before you.

What’s your favorite career quote?