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 🙂
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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.
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.
Do you get off track easily?
From time to time, you may find that distraction is winning a lot of battles in your fight to stay motivated and push towards your success. Whether it is building your personal brand, building a business, or achieving any other goal, there is a key to staying focused and persistent.
Luckily, there are simple, and free, ways to quickly get back on the priority task at hand instead of logging another hour mindlessly scrolling Facebook to do…”research” . While these moves can be done alone, they also work together in a sequence. Use them as a quick routine when you realize that your are avoiding your valuable tasks for an unproductive ones.
MicroMove #1 Take a deep breath
If you are losing focus on a task you know you have to finish, then there is probably something about that task that causes you stress. This stress triggers your “fight/flight” response which turns you to your coping mechanism: distraction. This subtle behavior is rewarded with the removal of the stress, which is a positive outcome and so you are not easily persuaded away from your flappy bird marathon because it feels better than writing a 10-page marketing piece or presentation for your big pitch night. Whatever it may be, struggling through the cumbersome and complicated process that is reaching long-term success comes with no guarantees. Meanwhile, your favorite reality show comes with a very real and very now satisfaction.
That is why taking a deep, and I mean, deep breath is a micro behavior to first take when you truly want to disrupt the pleasure vortex. According to a Harvard Family Health report, deep breathing triggers us to relax, which releases the stress sensations that were eliciting the fight/flight response in the first place. So, if you wanted only one more move to help you get focused fast then you can stop here. If not, keep going…
MicroMove # 2 Check the Time
Sometimes a project is really stressful…
Honestly, you just know it is going to take forever and you have an entire to-do list to get through, plus the day is just etching away…
These are thoughts that definitely run through my mind if I feel as though I am distracted through the day. How are we supposed to fit so many priorities into such an infinite amount of waking day?
Often, when this happens, I find I really don’t know the exact time. How much day do you really have ahead of you?
By checking the time you afford yourself an opportunity to make a rough sketch of how all of what you want to do can play out, and if you are short you are forced to prioritize to the essentials. This helps focus you in relationship to your present situation.
Once you know how much day you have ahead of you, pick a priority for every 1-2 hours left.
MicroMove # 3 Set a Timer
So you are feeling less stressed and prioritized, but stiiiillllll…..getting started on that project isn’t any more motivating. No matter how calm you are or how important you rationalize it to be, the energy to get you going just isn’t sparked. So what to do next?
Set a 10 or 20-minute timer to complete the first priority. Set the timer before you are even sure what you want to do next. This creates an external incentive to commit a small amount of time to devote from the time you have left.
By incrementing time even further, you’ve placed bite-sized boundaries on this once insurmountable project.
MicroMove #4 Check Your Goal or Write a Goal
Next if you don’t already have one, set a goal or check a goal. For example, I have a command center that I created a while ago, which lists my major priorities. Helping grow a non-profit, developing my business, and contributing to the higher education profession are the top three. From there I would pick one for the next hour or two and I would work on one goal.
For someone writing it may be to write a chapter, edit a chapter, research 10 sources. Whatever it may be, make sure your goal contributes to advancing your priority.
MicroMove #5 Make sure your goal is SMART
One of the things that trips me up, is sometimes the goals I write are not easily processed by my mind. I teach this in many goal setting workshops. Our minds are very much like programs processing lines of code and interpreting it into action.
If I set a goal that is something like : “Create packet”
When I return to complete the goal, I can be completely oblivious to exactly what the parameters of packet creation will be. Furthermore, if it is an older goal , I may complete lose why and what I wanted when I wrote “Create packet”.
So it helps to make goals as specific as possible, and the SMART acronym is a tool used to refine your goals into a way that we can process easily.
“Create packet” becomes “Make a rough draft of a 3-page marketing packet for our latest workshop offering on MeetUp within the next 17-minutes (your timer is still going).
MicroMove #6 Say an affirmation
Affirmations are a simple way to promote positive thinking around your priority project.
Great affirmations for focus:
- I have all the time I need.
- My work is a priority and I work my priorities.
- Staying focused is easy.
Here are some more great affirmations for focus. Just pick one though and move on to your final move.
MicroMove #7 Do it
Jump in there! You have reduced stress, prioritized, specified, and affirmed! There’s nothing left to it but to do it no matter how unpretty it may be. Get in there and get it done. The clock is ticking.
- Always be aware of your triggers – Brainstorm a list of triggers and build your awareness by noting when you are engaging in a trigger. Playing Call of Duty when you know there are chores to complete or diving into an hour-long debate to avoid finishing that first draft. Gently note this times and realize you can take the micro moves above to get back on track.
- Write if-then statements and keep it nearby – If then statements are great tools to use with your awareness of distraction triggers. For instance at an old job my boss had us all say the motto “If there is time to lean there is time to clean” – plug in your trigger with your priorities and use it as a verbal reminder to refocus using some of the moves above.
- Have a reward system handy – When you do get back on track and finish your work in the time you devoted know of 1 or 2 rewards you can give yourself a positive experience and reinforce the satisfaction of being focused.
The smallest steps lead us toward success. When you recognize that the small moves that you take contribute toward your overall achievements your destiny becomes much richer and simpler. You can relish in every note you write and every goal you set which will keep you motivated in the long run. Appreciate your micro moves and use them to keep them keep you focused today.
For more moves toward your success visit zingahart.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a personalized strategy for you.
Being an entrepreneur can be exciting for people who are comfortable risks. Starting Career Champs has been a major learning curve, but it is inspiring hearing from other entrepreneurs building their visions into realities. Nana and Natasha, are the respectively the founder and CEO team that runs Micah Specialty Foods
Nana and Natasha, are the respectively the founder and CEO team that runs Micah Specialty Foods. Their signature dish the Supreme Sauce has been appetizing pallets across Northeast Ohio with its international Ghanian flare.
Hear all about how they take risks in their business, work together across international lines, and use their past experiences to get their business right.
Thanks for viewing! If you are interested in being on career champs, email me at email@example.com
- 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!
- 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.
- 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?
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
One of my clients is a visionary. Her passion for setting bold goals and creating constant possibilities to current situations is thrilling.When we meet, I find sometimes she feels discouraged by all her organization has not achieved, and quickly overlooking all the small victories she did accomplish. She isn’t the first person I’ve known to do this, and at times, I’ve been guilty of getting discouraged about where I am not instead of remembering and celebrating how far I’ve made it.
So for our next move forward, we’re going to take a look back on how far we’ve made it.
Here are five ways you can relish your achievements today.
- Think of 3 ways you have grown in the past five years. Remember yourself from five years ago. You probably made mistakes, struggled to achieve something, or achieved something that made you proud. Consider this growth. If five years is not enough then think over the ten past ten years. You graduated, got that job, started a blog or business. Take a historical scan of your past and thank yourself for taking those successful steps.
- Check off parts of your vision board that you have lived. I had on my vision board to be bold and hang with the best. This year I’ve met more CEOs, executive directors, and other business leaders than ever. What is on your vision board that you find is a quality you are currently exhibiting? The point of a vision board is to help us define our desired reality. When you begin to live those desires you have acted in successful alignment with your vision, so take the time to celebrate. Don’t have a vision board? Make one.
- Go through your social media and celebrate your successes. Visit your Facebook page, LinkedIn account, or other social media channel and look for a time where you posted something you were happy about or found to be a particular achievement. Tell yourself good job again and remember that you have been successful in the past and are on the right track. Can’t find anything? Then think of a moment where you shared good advice that someone liked. There, you made an impact, which is a successful action.
- Remember something small you did successfully and do it again. If you are having a hard time remembering an significant successes then think every smaller and consider the daily achievements we make. Did you remember to take the garbage out on time? Or call your mother after you set the goal 3-weeks ago? These little acts are acts of success and worthy content to from when your memory banks feel fuzzy.
- Share your goal/purpose/mission. Celebrate. Taking ownership of our success means being able to be held accountable. When you share what you want to do with another you have taken a victorious step towards being more accountable, while improving your path to your long-term achievement. It’s a win-win move that you can use anytime.
Celebrating our successes over time is just as important as learning and growing from our failures. Both success and failure keep us humble and motivated on our personal or entrepreneurial success path.