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.
    ZingaHart

    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! 

 

 

The Simplest Way to Build a Discipline Map

Zinga Hart Success Quote (2)

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:

  1. Figure out what you want to do with your life (i.e. write your vision)
  2. Write out what you want to achieve in the next 10, 5,  and 3 years
  3. Develop goals to get done within 1 year
  4. Figure out what you need within 1 month
  5. Write down what you need by the end of the week
  6. Jot 3 things to get done by the end of your day
  7. 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.

professional picture zinga hart return on investment akron cleveland

Return on Investment: Get a Professional Picture

Most of my “One More Moves” are free. Honestly, most of our beginning desires for success in life can be achieved for free. Mapping a business plan, building a network, sharing your ideas, staying productive and motivated….there are free ways to do all of these things, the investment comes when you are ready to grow.

Like all good things that come to grow, you need to invest:

  • energy,
  • time,
  • and/or money

into getting to the next phase of your mission. While you could live in the very romantic world of hopes, dreams, and ideas, you will miss out on the fulfilling experience of creating your desires into a reality.

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So what’s one small investment you can make?

Adding a professional picture to your digital profiles.

I tell you! It’s an investment I made near the end of 2016 and the changes have been real and meaningful. Here are some immediate returns on my investment in a professional photo:

  • Improved level of connections on LinkedIn: Within days of updating my profile pic, I was invited to connect by a US Senator.
  • Impress colleagues: For my new role, I did an interview, having my own professional photo instead of the standard issue one given by the university, allowed me to bring my warmth and character into my first stamp.
  • Increase confidence: When building my website and creating flyers, I feel great sharing my face and brand because I am not doing an “in-the-car selfie”. I show that I could invest in the experience needed to do the job.
  • Better lighting: Improved lighting allows for you to use your photos in a variety of situations, you can cut and paste can add it to book covers, marketing posts, and plenty of other places.

A typical professional business headshot will typically be an investment of $100-$250.

Unless….

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You’re a Northeast Ohio (Akron Event) woman and a member of Empower NOW, the social enterprise group that empowers women to empower women through business development, creative connections, and resource sharing!  Get a professional headshot on March 25th for only $10 thanks to the generous donation of one of our members and the sponsorship of the Akron Microbusiness Center!

 

 

Have any tips on getting a professional headshot? Comment below!

automate your lunches - could include healthy yogurt and granola recipe

One More Move: Automate Your Meals

Happy Monday Readers!

success, meal planning, leadership

Last week, I posted an article about automating emails as a great way to cut down on email time while providing thorough service for any of your clients, customers, or contacts. Today to continue the trend of automation comes perhaps one of my most important processes: Automating my lunches (and dinners) for the week. I started doing this when I became a senior in college. I was living on my own with no dining hall plan and quickly finding my diet of ramen noodles, pizza, and Chipotle was not fulfilling my energy needs. One day I stumbled, on an article about Squirreling. Weird right, what do squirrels have to do with eating? We essentially squirreling is a technique where you cook food in large batches and freeze some for later. Hooked I was! What is this batch cooking and what tested recipes will hold up in my freezer?

After I graduated and became a full-time worker, the need for food available always became even more important. My office building had a wonderful café that sold peanut and banana smoothies for 4 dollars. Delicious, yes, but quickly my need for a quick delicious snack was racking up major fees. In a typical month 4 dollars every work day becomes $100 a month, which is easily a car payment or a wise investment. So, I stopped that and stocked up my office drawer with snacks, then focused on creating lunches so filling and so healthy that snack cravings we reduced greatly.

So for this week, consider how you can include some healthy meal automation in your life. Cooking your meals in batches, creating freezer meals, or even hiring a service for meal creation will help soothe you because it takes care of one of your basic needs, leaving time for you care for your higher-order needs like fulfilling your greatest purpose!

Here are some easy ways to automate your lunches.

Meal Delivery Service

I have yet to try this since my investment decisions are more for long-term needs over short-term convenience, but if I had the room I would consider doing this – even for just 1 week per month. Has anyone actually tried meal delivery and they enjoy the service? Let’s chat in the comments below.

Here are some options:

Cook Once a Month

This I have done! Unfortunately, my newest freezer can not handle such a bulk of food, so I dropped down to once every other week. Yet, when I did do the once a month meals there was one site I used and paid and happily paid for:

Once a Month Meals (Formerly Once a Month Moms) – They do everything! Meals, menus, grocery lists, and instructions to get your meals done for the month! They use a blend of foods for crock pots, baked goods, and menus for every meal.

I would recommend more, but I’ve only used them.

My hybrid – 2 week option

Every friday, I create an easy two-week menu by coming up with 4 dinners and 2 lunches. At the beginning of the week I will cook anywhere from 3-6 meals and then divvy them up into containers and toss them in the freezer. Dinners become lunches, lunches become dinner and we never completely eat all the food by the end of the week. I only have to worry about grabbing a container and going about my business.

Then there is always squirreling or cook every day, but get your groceries delivered.  Getting your basic needs covered delivers peace of mind so you can focus on the long-term vision. How do you fuel?

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Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”