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.

How tomakea workshop (4)

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….

How tomakea workshop (3)

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!

one more move reset on zingahart.com

One More Move: Reset

Hi everyone!

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.

we can't be afraid of change. you may feel very secure in the pond that you are in, but if you never venture out of it you will never know that there is such a thing as an ocean a sea joy bell c quote found on zingahart.com

How do you approach big changes?

 

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

Brain Dump

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.

one more move reset on zingahart.com

 

How Writing an Ebook Automatically Boosts Your Microbusiness Success

We are doing an exciting new challenge for our meetup group this month! Many of us are small business owners or nonprofit leaders and writing for planning, marketing, or sales is something that we will always do.  So inspired by NaNoWriMo we are spending time writing an ebook, which roughly half the word count of a nonfiction novel.

Some of us are still participating in the novel challenge as well because honestly, we are a really flexible group! Write what you want as long as you write is what I say!

Why? Well, there is something very powerful about writing AND even a  good rough draft it helps improve your business.

Here are some good reasons to write:

Long-term marketing tool:

Where do your customers get to delve deep into your business or organization? If you are a micro-business, like I am right now, a lot of the delving deep comes from one-on-one meetings. Imagine giving your community a review of what you do by giving them a book that explains their problem and/or how to solve it. Having a place to point clients, customers and investors so they get to know your brand better and saves hour long meetings for priority initiatives.

Long-term strategy tool: 

When you write, as a focus on your purpose, you have to think it through. The act of writing allows you to actively reflect on the deeper connections that you know exist in your business. Writing allows you to realize your subconscious guide in a safe way. Have a mapped out philosophy behind the product or service you offer is a safe step towards playing out your business before taking a bigger risk.

Teach others 

Sometimes people are not fully prepared to use your product or services. By organizing an ebook you give yourself and your community a logical path to the solution you provide. Use your ebook to educate others so they are prepared to work with or buy from you.

Save Time

Break down the ebook (25000 words) into 25 (1000 word articles) An article for every week for over 6 months or an article a month for two years!! While fresh content is useful, having a backup reservoir of posts in the form of a past ebook can save you a lot of content production time.

There are four good reasons, although I am sure there is plenty more! If you’ve written an ebook for your business before drop a link to it in the comment section and share how writing it has benefitted you. 

One Thing Your Goal Absolutely Needs For Success

Welcome to a new week everyone!  I’m happy to know you are still present.

I’m still here sharing what I can, my everlasting reminder that YOU are the key to your success. How you nurture, care, comfort, and create your Self over time will determine much of your outcomes on your success path. Of course, the only way to work on oneself is to spend time reflecting inwardly on who we are, why we are who we are, and who we are becoming. So I’m glad to have you here reflecting with me. If you ever want to share, comment below or send a message.

Now back to my life’s call-to-action of nurturing humanity’s Self-success, there are many quick tricks a success seeker will learn over the years. We adhere to the importance of following up, strive to listen to others, and remember to stay focused, but many of us have an essential go-to move that we know will ensure we make it happen.

Here is my go-to:

_
Write it down.
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Yup, that is one absolutely, positively essential move needed to make sure you get your big goals done.

Now wait a minute, Zinga, I don’t care for writing… 

Okay, maybe you don’t. Maybe you are so attuned to your learning style that you have transcended the most basic tools for retaining human memories: the paper and pencil. I get it and I understand. If you must; find another medium, but the message remains the same. If you want to achieve your goals, you must first bring your imagination of a goal into reality, by any means necessary. This means making a physical prototype of your goal. Writing is a basic, yet effective way of prototyping your vision. Of course,there are other ways, and I am an avid advocate of working within your learning style to get things done.

In fact, I created an infographic on ways to keep your vision (i.e. the long-term goal) ahead of you.

Zinga Hart Success Quote

But there are some key benefits from solely writing down your goal to make sure it gets done. One study covered by NPR and conducted by the University of Toronto demonstrated that when students wrote down their motivations and faced their obstacles on paper, the achievement gap disappeared between genders and races. This powerful act of writing our goals into being allowed typically underachieving student groups gets us to organize our thoughts, which allows us to resolve stressors while finding the mental fuel for our passions.

So our One More Move for this week is to do just that. Write down those goals, and if you’ve already written your goals down go over them again and perhaps refine the sentence even further.

But..Zinga…What about me the non-writer? 

First,  you should send me a message with your the goal you have in mind or schedule a 15-minute chat, we can customize a solution together. Then there’s that infographic I created just to get you started right away. Let me know what you think and if you have any tips for keeping your goals ahead of you!

 

 

Feel Your Vision (1)

 

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.

one more move sustain small business success

Sustaining Success for Your Self

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.

solve problems find success zinga hart quote from einstein - we can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them

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.

Overview:

  1. You can achieve your success- Find ways to remind and affirm this belief.
  2. A system will allow you to sustain success long-term
  3. 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.