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.

    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 Move Monday: Mountain Pose

Mountain Pose

Photo credit: Crazy Sun Om

Mountain pose. To the lax eye it would seem a person is just standing. Mountain pose requires much more of us. In a sense it is the perfect pose for being in full connection with our bodies. The poses we wear affect our projection of confidence with others and ourselves. Take the time to stand fully and revel in your body’s ability to ground itself while simultaneously reaching its height.

Therapeutic benefits of the pose are:

  • Reduce the effects of flat feet.
  • Improve your posture.
  • Strengthens the lower part of your body and load bearing joints.
  • Improve concentration and increase alertness.

Here’s a video by a favorite Youtube instructor, Adriene.

Follow the 12 minute video or read  more about the pose here.

Find your balance today.

Why Your Vision Statement Needs to Change


Confession, I have not always been committed to my vision statement. Of course, I am talking about my personal vision statement. What I want my life to look like when I am old and ready to recount my accomplishments to my grandkids or something. Yes, I will tell you over and over again, you need to have a vision in mind if you want to be successful, but the truth is that vision will change and if you are wise you will embrace that concept. We have miniscule control over our future lives. At the end of the day, the universe is filled with random chance encounters and moments that will entice or force us to pivot. Our wisdom needs to ensure that we take advantage of these opportunities. It is the wise that claim they know nothing, and to a point sticking with what your original vision was -no matter what- is a foolish practice. Refine your vision, remix your vision, grow and enhance your vision, but do not cling to it as if it is a difficult math test and only if you answer it correctly will you succeed. Life is not a test, but a testing ground. Experiment, commit to success, and stick to your values and you will find your vision growing clearer all the time.

photo credit: Workings #1 via photopin (license)

3 Phrases That Hurt Your Vision Statement

blurred photo representing a blurry vision statement The way you think drastically affects the way you act.So the way we communicate with ourselves, the way we write or draw, all contribute to the future actions we will take. Positive talk moves us forward while negative talk can keep us frozen or sliding back in the progress we make. Here are three negative phrases to look out for in your language.

I feel…

Talking about your feelings and being emotionally intelligent is an important skill, but when it comes to taking action or solving problems, it tends to muddle our thinking and, therefore, our decision making. When you place the word I in front of it, you turn inward as opposed to the outside world. You become the subject of the issue.

For instance if your vision statement is “I feel the world’s people should all have food every day”, you are the subject of the sentence, meanwhile the real subject [the world’s people] is lost in the predicate. Everyone’s brain, even your own, processes this as you are at the center.

Solution: BE

Whatever your vision statement is, put the action first. To provide food for all. Clarifies and strengthens your vision to yourself and others.There are tons strong action statements to employ. Find the ones right for you and put them as close to the start of your vision as possible.

I don’t know…

This is one I struggle with when it comes to talking to my sister. This statement stops your thinking and weakens your creative muscle. Your imagination is one of your most powerful leadership tools and passing off an opportunity to imagine weakens the tool.

Solution: Make it up

When it comes to your vision statement, you do know! It’s just not a complete picture take the time to talk it out and eventually you will hone it into a work of art.

…won’t I?

“I’ll change the world, won’t I?” Can you see what’s wrong with this vision statement? Clearly asking a question at the end of a command adds doubt.

Solution: Drop that tagline

Questioning yourself is  appropriate sometimes, but when it comes to your long-term vision it only hampers your progress. Let it go so that you can focus on the real actions you have to take.In addition, questioning what you say causes others to lose confidence in your certainty and capability to carry out the action.

Language plays a great role in our leadership skills. Be aware of how your language may be affecting your progress

photo credit: human league via photopin (license)

Manage Your Success

I recently gave a workshop for my non-profit organizational Limitless Ambition, where I discussed Managing Your Success for the Purposely Chosen Women’s Leadership Program. It was a very valuable event, not just for the participants, but for me as well. Hearing about the women there and the need they have to be successful was inspiring and reminds me I do this because I truly value bringing out the success in others.

Nzinga Hart Leading a Workshop on Managing Success

We sat equally in a circle

Success skills they learned

On Management and Leadership

Management and leadership go hand in hand, but they are not the same. Leadership is the vision, the end-goal, and all the attitudes, materials, and skills needed to get there. Management is the day-to-day grind and staying on task. This workshop focused on the management side. How do we as entrepreneurs and business leaders feel in control of how we manage ourselves towards what the leader in us desires?

We must communicate with ourselves, but also respect that these are dual roles needed to be fully successful.

On Communicating With Your Leader

The women went through an important value exercise. Knowing your values is what it takes to be able to know what YOU and your leader desire. So we went around and analyzed how everyone’s values fit into their larger vision for themselves. This was an important discovery for some who could not see a connection, but by the end of the session we realized all of our values were connected in some shape or form.

On Priorities
Prioritize Your Day. Like it was 24 ounces of water and your car is stranded in the desert.

Prioritize Your Day. Like it was 24 ounces of water and your car is stranded in the desert.

Next we prioritized what we could do today that would feed into our larger goal. Going from values to priorities is how your inner manager connects with your inner leader. It is important to keep the discussion going in order to continue the forward balance towards success.

My next workshop coming up will be June 27th: The anxious entrepreneur: A overview of how our greatest asset can be our biggest progress blocker.

Why My Vision Statement Stays The Same

Image of dancers depicting a dynamic core and representing how a vision statement should be built.

Last week, I posted an article on my blog about vision statements and why they should be dynamic. This week I continue the conversation with why they should also stay the same. A documented vision is much like the itinerary for your best vacation. It shows what you want your end destination to look like. It can be very detailed and rigid, full of all the activities you want to achieve or very simple and open, but at of the day your vision will and should align with your most important values.

As I mentioned, your vision should be flexible, just in case you are offered an upgrade on your trip, but it should also have its end goal in mind. Iy you successfully want to complete it. If your end goal was a fun family vacation, you would be amiss if you spent your time alone back at the hotel room working.

So how do we keep our code in mind while being dynamic at the same time?

Stick to your values

Knowing what you value in life helps keep you constant and in touch with your desires.  When writing your vision statement, analyze which value of yours are present, and ask if those are the most important to you.

Remind yourself often

Recording your vision and values attached to them so you can look at them often will keep you consistent. This will keep it in your mind, and allow your subconscious to look out for ways to act.

Build your value vocabulary

Consistently improving your language is a great way to enhance your core vision because as it grows you realize that you are progressing to new levels and increasing the intensity of the values that act with you.

Your core vision will provide you with a fulfilling success. Your dynamic vision will make it an adventure. Keep in mind these two parts to balance the path of progress.
photo credit: CO0P4240.jpg via photopin (license)