Writing is a calling, not a choice.
I’ve written less since spring season.
New job, new challenges, and a big focus on the day-to-day of my passions pulled me into my introverted nature to sit back and take in my new surroundings.
So I made a decision, to give myself space from writing, while I adjusted to these rapid, yet pivotal, life changes.
After a while, though, the yearning returned. My true passion, writing to draw out your success. To make you, us, the world feel the inspiration and magnitude of pleasure from doing our greatest good.
These words do not come out, they escape, as if they were always there, a kyuubi, waiting for me to tap into its infinite power. No matter how far I push it away from my deepest desire to write it pummels back to me.
What is a calling that you can not ignore?
Finding your calling may not always be easy, but following your calling is twice as hard, but you HAVE to do it for it to be realized in your life. So what do you do as an alternative to putting-it-off forever?
Take a break.
Find time to walk away in a calm, controlled, and consenting manner.
You may think …now Zinga…how could you suggest putting-it-off as a remedy to putting-it-off?
At first the idea does seem like a contradictory, but taking a break, involves some key factors to keep it from falling on the dark side of the procrastination line.
Here are some quick factors to taking a break:
Have a reset time. The main difference between taking a break and procrastinating forever is that you get back to doing what you were doing. Maybe you use an exact date and time, maybe you use an event in your life, or maybe you have a season in mind. Just know, visualize, and even write down when you will return to your original activity. Please note, the length of your timeline should be set realistically to how important it is that you get back to what you’re doing. For instance, if it’s your goal to get an A on a test in two weeks, but you need to take a break, then a two week break wouldn’t make sense.
Choose honor over guilt. Find the admirable reasons for making your choice instead of reasons that make you feel guilty. If you are in a state of rest then respect your wish to let your body restore itself. If you need to reshift your priorities for pressing matters, then appreciate your ability to adapt to new situations and see things through. Whatever narrative you build, it should be one that is from a positive perspective.
Use what you learned. During your break, try to find one-to-two learning nuggets you can implement once you reset. Maybe it’s a shift in your schedule or reaching out to form new partnerships. This sets up two bonuses to your break:
1) You can be assured your break fits into your larger master plan
2) Your break serves an immediate purpose of helping to improve your your path to success.
So…this is how am I making an honest reset with writing for this page. I allowed myself to adjust to the pace my new situation before getting back to get back to writing. I committed to a goal to write again before the year was over. During my break, I learned that given the new responsibilities to be consistent, I will give myself time to ease into it, starting with twice a week!
Are you ready to hit the reset button on something in your life, what is it?
Til the next time,
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:
- Figure out what you want to do with your life (i.e. write your vision)
- Write out what you want to achieve in the next 10, 5, and 3 years
- Develop goals to get done within 1 year
- Figure out what you need within 1 month
- Write down what you need by the end of the week
- Jot 3 things to get done by the end of your day
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!
Confession, I am not an early adopter to new social media platforms. It took me a year to install SnapChat, and even it took longer before I started using Facebook actively. I much preferred to read blogs, forums, and random websites on StumbleUpon. I found the depths of the internet far more important than the early Facebook feed of lunches and cats.
Now, the advancements of social media has truly created a thriving system of communicating with other human beings across the globe. Facebook has become more than the clunky content of the early days, we share news, safety check in, voting reminders, and even our cat and food pics come with an air of providing value to others. Just like letters and telephones, Facebook has provided another sophisticated lane for human connection.
This is why Facebook or other types of social media are adopted by businesses, both small and large, and leaders hoping to extend their presence. Connecting with people through this tool gives us a great space to listen to what is happening, share something important, and help others from anywhere there is an internet connection.
Yet, social media is a tool that could easily spin out of control into a level of deterring you from living, laughing, and loving to your fullest. According to this recent New York Times article, users spent roughly 50 mins per day on social media, which shadows the one-minute spent on Twitter or 2-minutes on LinkedIn. We can easily slip into the endless scroll of latest news, family developments, and friend achievements.
So how do we balance building our authentic brand while staying active on social media?
Here are a few strategies that have helped me tremendously so far.
Have a Plan
If you are using social media for a purpose, keep track of the purpose and goals you have in mind when it comes to engaging on social media. Whether it’s sharing success tools or tips on baking the trendiest cookies, have a core reason for doing what you do.
Schedule Ahead of Time
Once you have a plan, figure out what you want to post and use a scheduling tool. Spend 1-2 hours per month scheduling some consistent pieces of content that you are sure you want to share regularly. I personally use Hootsuite, which offers a great free option and an even more useful paid option.
Have a Minimum and Maximum Use Time Budget
A lot a set amount of time per day to use social media, then at +/- 10 minutes to give your self space to engage more or less. Giving yourself a range allows for the flexibility of life and provides a safe space of time for you to work with
Try this Tool
Once you’ve decided on your minimum and maximum time, choose a tool that blocks social media sites so you can’t access them for certain times of the day. StayFocusd is a simple app that allows you to block sites after a certain amount of time, on certain days and times, and even requires a challenge to turn the feature back on if you want.Set it for the maximum time budget you set in the strategy above.
While personalizing your strategy depends on you, these are steps easy enough to incorporate and use right away. How do you use social media, while still investing your time in your important priorities.
What are some of your time saving strategies? I’d love to know!
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.
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.
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.