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Thinking Resourcefully with Sasha Simmons


Most people have been conditioned to make New Year’s resolutions and set goals from a young age, but many of us have never been taught how to set goals the right way, how to track our success, and how to best set ourselves up to accomplish our goals. That’s why on this episode, Sasha Simmons and I are talking all about defining better goals using OKR’s and thinking resourcefully to achieve those goals.

Sasha is an Empowerment Activist and Motivational Speaker who believes that anyone can achieve anything; it’s just a matter of how bad they want it! Today, Sasha speaks to students and young professionals nationwide about leadership, self-esteem, and the power of imagination to encourage them to take charge of their lives.

So, are you ready to set better goals and start thinking resourcefully? Check out Sasha Simmons on the full episode right now!

You’re always welcome to send your thoughts and feedback to me directly by emailing steven@decisiveleap.com, but now you can also leave a review for the show by going to ratethispodcast.com/IgnitionPoint. All of your thoughts, feedback and suggestions are appreciated, but please be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts to be notified every Monday when new episodes drop.


FULL TRANSCRIPT

Hey! What’s going on? I’m Steven Miller – and this is Ignition Point.

I’d be willing to bet that every New Year, you make some resolutions or set some new short-term goals, but how many of those goals have you completed? How many times have you given up or altogether stopped paying attention to the goals you set?

Here’s the thing. We’ve been conditioned to make New Year’s resolutions from a young age, but many of us have never been taught how to set goals the right way, how to track our success, and how to best set ourselves up to accomplish our goals. That’s why for the next three episodes, my guests and I are focusing on goal setting and getting fired up about follow through. So, if you’re ready and want to get after it, make sure you follow the show to be notified when new episodes drop.

Unless you’ve been taught otherwise, your current goals might be a bit ambiguous, like, “launch a new website,” “apply to grad school,” “lose weight” or “free up more me-time.” But if you want to set goals you can stick to, you need to make them specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely, and defined by written OKR’s. Essentially, OKR’s break your goals into objectives that are attached to key results, lighting the path from where you are now to where you want to be.

Let’s say your New Year’s resolution is to save more money. If you wanted to define it into an objective, it could be something like, “accumulate $7000 in Savings by depositing a portion of every paycheck I receive.” Once you’ve got the objective written, you can add Key Results like “deposit 10% of each paycheck January through March,” and “increase the deposit percentage by 5% quarterly until reaching the goal.”

But even if you’ve got a rock-solid goal, that doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to achieve it. Sometimes you’ll need to get creative and be resourceful in the pursuit of your goals, and that’s exactly what my friend Sasha Simmons is here to talk about.

Sasha is an Empowerment Activist and Motivational Speaker who believes that anyone can achieve anything; it’s just a matter of how bad they want it! In fact, she’s living proof of it.

Sasha was brought up in the Jacksonville Projects under an oppressive religious institution, but she was determined to transform her life and conquer the cycle of poverty that plagued her family. So, through hard work and determination, she made her way to study at NYU and went on to earn her Master’s in Public Health from the University of Northern Florida.

Now, Sasha speaks to young professionals and students nationwide about leadership, self-esteem, and the power of imagination to encourage them to take charge of their lives.

I’m so excited for you to hear her perspective on thinking resourcefully, so let’s get after it! This is Sasha Simmons.

THE WEEKLY MONOLOGUE WITH SASHA SIMMONS

Most of us live inside of some sort of a box, but I believe that each and every single one of us can create the life that we want for ourselves. So, I’m going to take you back to the first time I learned how to be really resourceful and how to be really creative.

It was December 25th, 2004. I was 17 years old. It was Christmas Day for most Americans, and many of you that may be listening, but not for my family. We did not and still do not celebrate Christmas as a family. And I hated Christmas Day.

I was so upset. We were poor, we didn’t have anything. It was cold in our house. I was feeling alone, and I was really having a good old-fashioned pity party for myself.

And at some point, I stood up, and wiped the tears away from my eyes. And in that moment, something triggered inside of me and I realized that it was my responsibility to create my life. And so, I went to our computer and I typed in, “how to go to college,” because I had learned and heard that by going to college you could change your life.

I became so focused on going to college. It became like an obsession.

I wasn’t hanging out with any friends, I wasn’t going to senior skip day, I wasn’t doing anything that did not have to do with me going to college. I was getting up at five, six o’clock in the morning writing essay after essay after essay, applying to scholarships, staying after school, working with teachers. I was doing everything in my power to make sure I was able to go to college. Ultimately, I ended up winning over a million dollars in scholarships to go to college.

I like to tell that story because I don’t want people to think I’m just this amazing dope person – which I kind of am – but that’s not the point of this story. The point of this story is to show you that when you are so focused on something – the one thing that you want – you are able to change your life. You are able to put your life in that direction, but you have to use the resources available to you.

I had the internet, I had teachers, I had friends who were editing essays for me, I had mentors who were supporting me; and I tapped into all of that to make sure I was able to get what I wanted.

One thing in particular I remember is that I had to send off all of my essays and during this time things were still being mailed and I didn’t have money for a stamp. And I think back in 2004-2005, stamps cost like maybe 32 cents or something; and my family didn’t have 32 cents for a stamp. And so, I had no idea how I was going to get my next scholarship essay in the mail.

During this time, I was receiving all these letters from programs and from schools and on one letter there was a stamp that did not have a mark on it. And I thought, “I wonder if I can peel that stamp off and put it on the envelope to mail it.” And so, I peeled it off really, really carefully and stuck it on my envelope, nervous and scared, and I walked to the post office, and I went up to the counter and I asked the guy in the post office. I said, “can I mail with this stamp?” And he looked at it and he said, “where’d you get it?” And I said, “I just got it.” And he said, “this is a presorted stamp. Usually large corporations have them, but you can absolutely mail with it.” And I said, “okay, well then I want to mail with it.”

And I actually won one of the scholarships that that was! And so, I tell people this story because it’s important to think like there is no box. You are only as limited as what you can imagine. And a lot of times it’s mostly the limitations that we put on ourselves. I did not even have 32 cents to get that application into the mail, but I thought about it and I looked around and I said, “okay, what do I have?”

I charge everyone who’s listening to look around and see what do you have?

We have unlimited access to so many resources, so many things; yet, we find excuses. We can’t figure out solutions. We’re stuck. We’re just not using the resources available to us!

In the age of YouTube University and the College of Google, as I call it. There’s no reason why we should be stuck. There’s no reason why we can’t get what we want.

You have to get out of your comfort zone. If I’m uncomfortable with something, but I know it will lead to my growth, I intentionally put myself in that space because if you are a leader – if you think you are going to be a leader in anything in your life – you have to think creatively about it. You have to have a certain boldness that’s going to come with you and building your brand and building your business and building your product.

No matter what you have going on; no matter what you feel like you don’t have; what you’re missing – it doesn’t matter. It simply does not matter.

And some folks say, “oh, how can you say that? There are so many obstacles,” and there are!

We all have challenges though. Yes, it’s easier for some people. Maybe you were born into the lap of luxury and it will be easier for that individual versus someone who’s not, but one of the things I always like to say is that life has a curve ball for all of us.

So, we have to work hard and go hard for our dreams. It doesn’t matter how much you’re missing. Please, go out there and find your solution and find your strength, find your story, find your next opportunity.

One of the things that it starts with is understanding what I call the assessment of you. “Where am I in my life and where do I want to be?”

We struggle with assessing ourselves. “What am I good at? What am I not good at?” Have that real conversation with yourself because that will allow you to understand the types of individuals that you need around you to help you go further in life and then you build upon that.

Identify all of the resources you have available to you. Some of those will be obvious. Some of those not so obvious. You are only limited by the limits that you put on yourself.

I call BS on all the limitations that individuals are trying to put on you right now, because we do not have to subject ourselves to that, and this is why I tell folks that yes, “you can create your life.”

I’ve had people who attempt to argue with me that you can’t create your life. And I tell them, “yes you can.” It’s all in decision making. We have to make good decisions.

And so, I understand that sometimes we can get caught up. We don’t necessarily think thoroughly through decisions that we are making, but we have to think, “what are the outcomes?” And if that outcome may be – in large part – not congruent with where you want to be in life or the direction that you want to go in in your life, it is a decision that you should forego.

The challenge becomes having this conversation with yourself in the moment. Be aware of your life and the trajectory of your life. “Where is my life going? Is this a resource that I’m going to be able to use? Is this a good decision? Will it benefit me in some type of way?”

Because a lot of times it’s us. We fall into these situations from the people that we associate with, from the things that we eat, from the habits that we do or do not have.

I can’t say I want to be a fitness model and eat cheeseburgers. I can’t say that because that action is not in line with the goal of being a fitness model and so ultimately you just want to make sure the decisions that you are making are in line with where you want to be.

If you want to be the best, but you’re not willing to show up in the gym every day, you’re not challenging yourself. You’re not pushing yourself further. You’re not saying no to the things that you know you shouldn’t be consuming.

If we are not doing that, you will not be the best.

What if it has the ability to change your life, the life of your children and the life of your grandchildren in a positive direction by 75%? Would you still not care about it so much?

We have to be very conscious about improving our lives. Now, this is only for those of you who are really, really, really ready to create your life. If you are not ready to create your life, if you are not the person who’s ready to take authority and take control of your life and say, “I am going to walk boldly in the direction of my dreams and I’m not going to be shut down by anybody or anything or any obstacle.” If you are not that person, then perhaps it’s not for you or at least maybe not at this time. But if you are that person who’s ready to challenge yourself, who’s ready to improve your life, to improve the lives of those around you; then yeah, create some good rituals. Create some good habits. Be consistent; and here’s the word that scares so many people.

Research. Research. Research.

People will research everything except for the thing that’s going to help them. Yet, when it comes to researching something about business or something that’s going to help me grow as an individual, I want to cut corners.

You can’t cut corners with research. You just have to do the research. By doing the research, you will find the resources that you need.

If for some reason you can’t find it, that’s when you have to create it, because there are times where you just create it for yourself. But there are people who are willing to help you in that creation because everything that we know, everything that we see today; your computer, the microphone, the car that you’re driving, the AirPods that you have on, was imagined by someone and then created.

We get to exist in the comfort of the world that we know today because someone executed on their dreams. So, all of us should be working to execute on our dreams.

It’s not about what you feel like doing. It’s about doing what you know you need to do because it’s going to help benefit your life. That’s what it’s about.

It’s not about, “oh, I’m just going to do this because it’s comfortable.” Comfort is going to stop a lot of us from achieving our goals but start with one thing. Start with two things. Don’t go and try to do everything all at once.

Your solution, your resource, your next opportunity is right there. Look around. Look at the people in your circle. Look at your email list. Look at what it is that you have and find your solution. Because I promise you, it’s there for you.

STRATEGY FOR SUCCESS

Let me start by giving a big thank you to Sasha Simmons for contributing to this week’s show. Her stories emphasize how important it is to be resourceful, especially when you’ve got big, ambitious goals. 

I think one of the most important takeaways is that thinking resourcefully doesn’t just come into play when shit hits the fan. It’s a skill that can serve you when you’re planning, when you’re on track, and even when you’re forced out of your comfort zone.

When it comes to setting better goals, you shape your objective by making it specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely, but think about those Key Results that guide you toward achieving your Objective. When you’re determining those Key Results in the planning process, assess yourself, your surroundings, your network, and your existing tools.

Do you have strengths that you can tap into? Can a peer or colleague possibly lend you their strengths if you ask them for their help? Is there some sort of tool that you might have that you’re not making use of? Is there an app for that?

If you discover untapped resources from answering those questions, find a way to incorporate them into your written Key Results. When you’re about to tackle another Key Result, you’ll be prepared to take action and make use of that resource in the moment.

Personally, I like to set out time to review and reset my goals quarterly. As I record my goal completion, I’ll also record updates to show progress in reaching my Key Results because doing so gives me the opportunity to see how close I am to the finish line and how I can accelerate without cutting corners.

But for every example of where thinking resourcefully comes into play when you’re on track, there’s probably a dozen examples of why you need to apply this skill when all of a sudden, your plans are careening off the rails.

Think of a movie. Seriously, just about any movie. Does the main character just kick ass and take names the whole time? Or is there a point in their journey where they’ve got to take a look around and figure out how to get their plan back on track?

We see characters across pop culture being resourceful all the time. Why is that?

It’s because the screenwriters know that uncertainty puts us on edge when the stakes are high.

But here’s the kicker. The stakes are sky high in the real world. You’re both the screenwriter and the main character on the road to achieving your goals, so there is no better time to start making the most of your resources.

So, this week, take the time to evaluate your goals. If they’re not detailed and built around OKR’s, make your objectives specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely, and then think resourcefully to determine the Key Results that can push you in the direction of your objective.

If you enjoyed hearing from Sasha, please take a second to connect with her on Twitter and Instagram. Her handle is @theSashaSimmons, and if you want to learn more about Sasha and her work, you can also check out sashasimmons.com.

For easy access to all those links, extra resources and more, check out this episode’s Show Notes up at DecisiveLeap.com/IgnitionPoint.

If you’re fired up about raising the bar for your Personal Brand or you want to develop a comprehensive Brand Strategy for your business in the new year, let’s connect! I help individuals and businesses to make the most of their brands, and I would love to help with yours. To reach me directly and discuss your next leap forward, just send an email to steven@decisiveleap.com.

You can also use that email to tell me what you think of the show, but now you can also leave a review by going to ratethispodcast.com/IgnitionPoint. I appreciate all of your thoughts, feedback and suggestions, but please be sure to follow the show wherever you get your podcasts to be notified every Monday when new episodes drop.

Well, that’s going to do it for this episode, so stay motivated and keep moving forward.

If you put in the hard work right now – one day – you could be the one motivating the world with your story.

I’ll look forward to speaking with you next time on another Ignition Point.

Now get on out there and win the week!

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