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.

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.

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!

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.
One More Move @ZingaHart take command of your life like this mountain peak using the computer hack described in the article at zingahart.com

One More Move: Use your favorite command everyday

@zingahart

Happy Monday! It’s been a wonderful week, almost like a sense of renewed outlook on living, yet the same one of seeking authentic leadership in an ultra-produced world. What is different today from most? I realized my most subtle, yet productive, method for active habit building. I changed my password. What better way is there to affirm and command ourselves on a daily basis then to set our passwords to exactly what we most need from ourselves?

When I homeschooled myself in high school, I could have easily sunk into the endless world of the early semi-anonymous Internet and Sims, but I didn’t because then my password was some form of I need a to-do list for everyday. With that in mind, my mind went to work. I to-do listed my way through finishing my self-taught HS diploma in three years, my college degree in four (even after dropping out a semester), and my master’s degree in two (while working full-time and diving into a bunch of entrepreneurial ventures). Now while this is a list of accomplishments, it’s not the point. What kept me steady through these lively years was my to-do list and repeatedly reminding myself I needed one. So for your one more move towards a path to success with a little less stress, find time to do this: Set your password to the command you most need. 

For example: Let’s say you need to call your mother more often.

First make it an affirmation by placing yourself right next to the action.

I [yourself] will call [the action] my mother on Sunday. Another example is, I call my mother every Sunday.

Then take the first letter or first few letters of the command into letters and change some obvious letters into numbers. In this case our first example will change from:

I will call my mother on Sunday to

1Wcmm0nSunday  – I like to spell out the last word for added length. This not only creates a strong password that is unique to you, it also affirms and reminds you of what is truly important. Some motivating commands I’ve used in the past have been:

I need a to-do list for everyday –> 1natdl4evryday

I will do it.

I write for 15 minutes everyday.

etc. My current one, I won’t share, but let’s just say it was a needed change in my life and I am pleased.

Do you have any useful motivational hacks? Share with me on Twitter @ZingaHart or comment below. 

person starting at the cosmos wondering how the will manage their time and achieve complex project objectives

OMM: 5 Ways to Squeeze in Good Work

@ZingaHart

Life is complex. Work, school, family, career (which is separate from work), brand, relationships, and, oh yeah, our passions. As complex humans we tend to want to achieve complex goals (e.g. goals made up of many tasks). For instance, I have a friend Tia who works in education, serves on a nonprofit in her free time, is starting a business, and still manages to rise as a brand leader on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This along with the other dimensions of being a superb daughter, reliable sister, active community leader, and woman growing into her own creates a week that ebbs and flows, and sometimes feels like an intense juggling act. Finding balance as she leads as a nonprofit board member (her first time around btw) means is fitting in one more complex role into her life. How could she possibly squeeze in everything and still maintain her brand of composed and in control?

It’s taken me years to refine a time management system that ensures I am meeting the goals that matter while living the life I want. Although, I am still adapting and trying new systems, there are a few key principles that matter consistently.

1. Commit to something

A nonprofit that strives to grow a powerfully empowering networking of women means that you have face a lot of goals to chew through before the vision is fully realized. Meetings, deadlines, worksheets, and email correspondences can quickly come before you and it can feel comforting to ignore it and hide. Yet, part of you made the decision to be a part of the mission in the first place, which means there is a reason behind you decision. Within that reason is your motivation.

Write down the why behind your commitment. This is the something that you can turn to when you are forgetting the motives you had.

2. Set goals

Writing down or otherwise documenting your goals gives your brain something simple and concrete to solve. Your mind is a powerfully calculating tool and you are the command master. Set small SMART commands and your brain will do the work for you.

goal achievement

3. Put it in Your Face

How do you make sure the things you really want to get done actually get done? You have to constantly remind yourself until you have it finished. To keep your tasks at the top of your mind, find a place you look at often and place those goals there. For me its my homepage, a small notebook I keep in my purse, and a calendar on my desk.

4. Measure It

Review your history and cross off what you successfully completed. You’d be amazed. Once I stumbled on a five-year goals list I made for myself in high school and I had completed about 80% of the tasks even though I left it at my dad’s house when I moved away to college. When you celebrate your small successes you rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit to continue doing more.

goal achievement

5. Talk about it regularly

It can take a while, but even the most stubborn of individualist must admit humans cannot exist alone on an island for long. We need others to grow us, to support us, and to hold us accountable. Set goals and share them with others and then return and share your achievements and failures. Communicating is the first step to bringing the ideas inside our heads into reality.

How do you manage to squeeze your passion into your daily activities? Let’s chat. 

friends connecting by a campsite like one would find in northeast ohio especially if you were on a retreat and wanted to connect with your leadership team

One More Move: Connect

friends connecting by a campsite like one would find in northeast ohio especially if you were on a retreat and wanted to connect with your leadership team

Image source

I had lunch with a colleague yesterday and the weather was delicious. When in Northeast Ohio one must bask in the sun’s rays for winter is always a whisper away. My colleague was a woman I’ve been meaning to have lunch with since last year. It took twelve months for our schedules to align so we could breath and meet for lunch’s sake. She was a mentor to the Executive Director of the non-profit I am helping to grow, and when she spoke in one of my graduate classes I could tell she was a kindred spirit.

Tweet: Persistence pays. Follow up on the people you mean to meet. You meant to meet them for a reason. @ZingaHartTweet: Persistence pays. Follow up on the people you mean to meet. You meant to meet them for a reason. @ZingaHart

Meeting for leisure can be rare in a world where agenda’s are pressing and calendar days stream past us. Yet, leisure is the glue that sticks business together. It is where we find the human in all the services, activities, and products we offer. It keeps us orbiting around where our purpose belongs. It is imperative that all personalities find ways to connect. My lunch was a bonus because she was an acquaintance so we had much to discover about each other. When we met, I got to remind myself of why I got into higher education, the renaissance career path I have taken over the past decade, and the complex life history that makes me who I am. She got to speak about her path as well and the art of leadership today. We didn’t focus on the mission, yet we refueled for the long haul.

zinga hart paulo freire only through communication can human life hold meaning

Here are three simple ways to connect this week:

  • Remember that person you’ve been meaning to call? Send an email or Facebook message. Sometimes it takes a build up to get to the call stage.
  • Respond to someone’s comment on LinkedIn. If they reply back keep the conversation going.
  • Schedule 1 lunch meeting with a person you would like to know more. Schedule it for 2-3 weeks out so you don’t feel rushed into the challenge.

Connecting with people is the cornerstone of building trust. Therefore human connection is the cornerstone of our economy. Authentic leaders will find time and space to facilitate human connection and allow for it to grow in organic ways. How do you take steps to grow your connection with others? I would love tips – as an INTP it is a worthy challenge for me.