Reset

Writing is a calling, not a choice.

-Isabelle Allende

I’ve written less since spring season.

New job, new challenges, and a big focus on the day-to-day of my passions pulled me into my introverted nature to sit back and take in my new surroundings.

So I made a decision, to give myself space from writing, while I adjusted to these rapid, yet pivotal, life changes.

After a while, though, the yearning returned. My true passion, writing to draw out your success. To make you, us, the world feel the inspiration and magnitude of pleasure from doing our greatest good.

These words do not come out, they escape, as if they were always there, a kyuubi, waiting for me to tap into its infinite power.  No matter how far I push it away from my deepest desire to write it pummels back to me.

What is a calling that you can not ignore?

Finding your calling may not always be easy, but following your calling is twice as hard, but you HAVE to do it for it to be realized in your life. So what do you do as an alternative to putting-it-off forever?

Take a break.

Find time to walk away in a calm, controlled, and consenting manner.

You may think …now Zinga…how could you suggest putting-it-off as a remedy to putting-it-off?

At first the idea does seem like a contradictory, but taking a break, involves some key factors to keep it from falling on the dark side of the procrastination line.

Here are some quick factors to taking a break:

Have a reset time. The main difference between taking a break and procrastinating forever is that you get back to doing what you were doing. Maybe you use an exact date and time, maybe you use an event in your life, or maybe you have a season in mind. Just know, visualize, and even write down when you will return to your original activity. Please note, the length of your timeline should be set realistically to how important it is that you get back to what you’re doing. For instance, if it’s your goal to get an A on a test in two weeks, but you need to take a break, then a two week break wouldn’t make sense.

Choose honor over guilt. Find the admirable reasons for making your choice instead of reasons that make you feel guilty. If you are in a state of rest then respect your wish to let your body restore itself. If you need to reshift your priorities for pressing matters, then appreciate your ability to adapt to new situations and see things through. Whatever narrative you build,  it should be one that is from a positive perspective.

Use what you learned. During your break, try to find one-to-two learning nuggets you can implement once you reset. Maybe it’s a shift in your schedule or reaching out to form new partnerships. This sets up two bonuses to your break:

1) You can be assured your break fits into your larger master plan

2) Your break serves an immediate purpose of helping to improve your your path to success.

So…this is how am I making an honest reset with writing for this page. I allowed myself to adjust to the pace my new situation before getting back to get back to writing. I committed to a goal to write again before the year was over. During my break, I learned that given the new responsibilities to be consistent, I will give myself time to ease into it, starting with twice a week! 

Are you ready to hit the reset button on something in your life, what is it?

Til the next time,

Zinga

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.

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

 

3 Time Saving Tools for Entrepreneurial Parents

Kids definitely have their future cut out for them. I, as a young Millennial parent, still have hope for them. Sure there is strong evidence of deep flaws in our systems of civilization, there is still hope that the human spirit will overcome, create, and innovate in response to the needs of the world. The spirit of the entrepreneur lives strong.

But what happens when the entrepreneurial spirit collides with the child spirit? Suddenly the burning obsessiveness that Napoleon Hill says we need to focus on to truly transmute our thoughts into reality, is interrupted, by tiny hands that want to type like Mommy on her keyboard. Those tiny hands love to explore, to help, and to just be, and as someone who doesn’t want to suppress her inner spirit, I have to find ways to fit in time for goal work and family time. Luckily, there are some tricks of the trade to help balance nurturing her and my purpose.

Tool 1 # Baby Gates

One big tool has been using baby gates, not to wrap her up, but to wrap up our stuff. us the baby gate to place around the entertainment systems and other places where she prefers to reach and grab. This way what is freely available she is okay to play with and the glowy electronic buttons are off limits.

Tool #2 Timer

One great quality about a good entrepreneur is we could just do stuff all day. When focused, we do and do and do and the effects are amazing. Yet, balancing our time takes an accounting of our time. When feeling pressed for time, set a time limit and focus happily and completely on what you want to do. For instance, when I get home from work spending time with my daughter is a key source of happiness, but I also have signed up for responsibilities that require me to respond to people, so I set a timer for getting things done. Whether it’s 40-minute session for story time or 20-minute email crafting for my team, by setting timers I am freed from time. One of my favorites is the Pomodoro timer, which sets the time to 25 minutes.

Tool #3 YouTube

Yup, I said it, YouTube has some pretty useful educational videos for toddlers and children. One thing I like to focus on Baby Einsteins. As a double benefit, a lot of the music could double as white noise, which has a minimal distraction for a parent who needs to focus. Just check out one of the episodes below:


Of course, there are plenty of other ways to use tools to help with raising kids while living up the entrepreneurial lifestyle.  What do you use? How do you balance? Like, I’d really love to know…I’ve spent 1.5 decades raising kids and have yet to find the perfect formula.

 

 

3 free paths to clarity

3 Paths to Clarity

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.

 

3 paths to clarity for international and northeast ohio leaders

 

micro moves to focus fast get productive improve success

7 Micro-Moves To Focus Fast w/ 3 Free Bonuses

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.

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.

Bonus moves

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 zingahart@gmail.com to discuss a personalized strategy for you.

One More Move: Sustain Your Momentum

Agendas, fundraisers, programs, networking and this is just the volunteer work?!?! As a passionate creator that presides over a startup non-profit, #LimitlessAmbition, 2 businesses, a higher ed profession, and a beautiful growing-so-fast family surfing the wave that is seeking success could easily crash, but when we do what we love…love finds a way. As entrepreneurs,  we often find ourselves swimming deep in a variety of projects, responsibilities, deadlines, and commitments that could easily have us feeling burned out, overwhelmed or just swamped. Our ambition won’t let us give up and the people we serve rely on us to be leaders, mentors, and overall figures of what our purpose stands for. So how can we ensure we sustain ourselves while completing complex projects and timelines?
Here a three key factors to take into account:
  1. 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!
  2. 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.

celebrate victory zinga hart

  1. 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?
What goals are you sustaining in March? Share them in the comments below.

One More Move: Automate Some Emails

One more move: On the journey of building a successful enterprise, as leaders we must be a consistent presence behind our brand and organization. Automation provides that presence and your brand develops its authenticity. Connect the two and draw out your abundance.

Over the course of a year, I handle hundreds of emails helping adult learners who are beginning or ending their graduate degree careers. Fresh from school myself, I realize it is important to deliver quick, user-friendly responses to help them continue their paths with one less roadblock. Anyone who has to consistently answer familiar questions will find relief in e-mail automation. Taking time to direct anyone who approaches directly to valuable links on the website helps students while boosting your brand as a service leader.

Here’s how:

  1. Think of common links you share with others.
  2. Group them around frequent questions you get on a daily or weekly basis
  3. Use your email service provider to create link snippets:
  4. Take time to write a 1-2 sentence response and provide helpful links in your message for each and every person.

This blend of human response and helpful links elevates your email customer service, while shaving time for high order activities.

Do you automate your emails

What are your favorite tools?

Another simple step to take this week. Check out more moves on the site or send an email to weigh in on being an authentic leader in a branded world.

One More Move - Sounds out the word omm which is a common chant in yoga

One More Move: Solidify Your Top 5 Values

Knowing what values we hold dearly saves us a lot of time in decision making. Take a moment one day to set your top five values that motivate you towards your chosen success. One exercise I like a lot was one shared by Warren Buffet. Here are some tweaks to his prioritization system, which focuses on goals versus values.

Choose Your Values: OMM Against Green Bamboo Backdrop

Check out this list of values, that I found on a great blog post. Choose your top 25, then choose your top 5. It’s a simple exercise, but you will build character strength upon completion.

Lists of Personal Core Values photoshop

So what are your top five values?

I ended up choosing: Beauty, Connection, Creativity, Abundance, and Wisdom.

Take 1 Hour To Automate Your Social Media

I manage the social media as a part of my role. It is a small percentage of my day so to stay consistent with my schedule I set aside 2 hours a month to plan and organize posts I like on HootsuitetEREUy1vSfuSu8LzTop3_IMG_2538With the ups and downs of working in higher education, it can be easy to forget to reach out on a daily basis. Using a social media management system can help you to share your own content and build your brand by displaying what interests you value. Here’s how I would split up the time.

10:00  Review my annual social media plan – Make any adjustments and add in any new creative ideas around the events happening in my local area.

10:05 Scan through Feedly and look for articles that match the month’s theme and my brand’s values. I right click through the ones I like and write relevant reviews with a short link going back to the original post. Read through the articles, write a short summary, and find a relevant picture to represent it. Sometimes there will not be a picture that represents well enough, so I will often find a better article or create the picture myself using Canva  or find one on Photopin.

10:35 It averages about a minute per post to get the month scheduled for one post per day. Doing this grew the social media page by 300% over the past three years. It’s small, but steady, growth, and engagement averages around 27% percent of organic views, where organic reach for a page my size benchmarks at around 11%. So once I’m done I check to make sure every day is posted and review for typos.

10:40 For the rest of my time, I scan my social media feeds on Hootsuite and share relevant content from my community, specifically from other social media contributors within our organization, such as what’s happening in the Facebook groups, on our Listservs, or other events emailed to me.

10:50 Finally, I will add in a few posts supporting initiatives I have in my department.

When it comes to social media marketing, what you share from others should balance to four times of what you self-promote. Linking together is key to building a strong voice and vision with your social media brand.Finding time to consistently post is a matter of scheduling and automation. There are plenty of tools to use but Hootsuite is definitely tech I pay to have.

What are your biggest social media management challenges?