Keeping Yourself Accountable to Success: Tips from Jona and Ajarae

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Deborah SmithI have been surrounding myself with some seriously amazing women lately. Of course I am referring to my amazing co-writers and readers at Ms. In the Biz, but also the rock-star women that I have been interviewing for my column. If you haven’t read my last two posts I forgive you, and I hope that you will learn even more from my wrap up below!

I realized while writing my last interview that I did not have enough blog space to capture all their advice and then break it down into chunks that I could easily digest and translate into my own life. Basically, I realized that I wanted more blog space to turn their advice into practice. Hence, this post. After I’ve done a few interviews with badass women, I will recap some of their amazing strategies, come up with suggestions about how we can apply them to our own lives, and then test them out! Let’s test-drive their tips!

The first thing I asked Jona Xiao (founder of Career Activate) and Ajarae Coleman (founder of Workshop Guru) was how they defined success. Their summarized answers are below:

Jona:

So much of our success depends on our expectations. We set up certain expectations and we set ourselves up to succeed or fail. I think it is also important to already feel successful, because then you will attract success.

Ajarae:

I think that success is the ability to feel happy and fulfilled on a daily basis with what you are doing and constantly feeling like you are moving forward. For me, that has a lot to do with my businesses and my career but probably more to do with my inner work. It is all about how you feel and how happy you are.

After meeting with Jona and Ajarae, I was reminded about the importance of inner work, meditation and “gratitudes”, in order to grow my happiness in every day life. Both women had different ideas of success but both focused on the power that we have over our own success. We are successful if we feel successful and work towards personal happiness and empowerment. Ok, so what tools do we need to empower ourselves? I asked how they track and encourage their success.

Jona:

I do a few things every day. One of which is gratitudes. At the moment that is a nighttime practice and I just talk about what I am grateful for from the day.

Also on a weekly basis I try to look back at where I was vs. where I am now, because I think then you see how far you really have come.

Ajarae:

I have a gratitude journal, and I don’t journal every day but when I am starting to feel like things aren’t going well, I have a gratitude journal session and think about what I am grateful for. And every week when I am planning my week one of the things that I do is look back at the previous week and look at my wins. I do that on a monthly basis as well. I also recognize that there are things on my list that don’t get done, but I am ok with that. I focus on the successes and build from there.

Again, both women discussed similar strategies when it came to tracking and celebrating their successes. Ok, so now how do I bring their ideas and mold them into a strategy that will work for me? I am a huge techy and so apps for my iPhone seemed like a really great way to track my wins and my gratitudes. I believe that it is important to track our success but also to look beyond ourselves and examine how we fit into the outer world. I came across two different apps that I have started to use religiously, and I hope they will help you create a success strategy as well!

To track my gratitudes I use: Day One Journaling App

This app is fabulously simple and requires no techy brains at all. Basically it is just a space for you to journal about your wins for the day but I love it because I can just write one sentence and feel like I have accomplished something. My app notifies me every evening around 10:30 that I need to make an entry for the day. I have made it a habit that I stop what I am doing at that time and write in one sentence about something I am grateful for from the day. I can also attach a picture and it automatically geotags the post and adds the weather, which makes my nerdiness very happy.

Why this works for me: It is simple and does not require any effort on my part. I just open the app, think about my day, and record one thing I am grateful for and one thing I accomplished during the day. Go me!

To track my successes I use: Producteev

This is the best darndest to-do app out there. Of course, if you have something you are already thrilled with, keep utilizing your system, but if not… check this out!

I love Producteev because it has a platform for my computer and has easy ways to elevate tasks or create tasks from my email. The best feature is the ability to create subtasks, which don’t disappear. At the beginning of the week I send my accountability buddy an email with all my tasks for the week. Then I open Producteev, make one task labeled “Week (DATE)” and add all the tasks into the subtasks area. The best part is that they don’t disappear when you check them off so you can see all that you have accomplished at the end of the week!

Why this works for me: I love Producteev to track my tasks but you can use whatever app/paper-pen strategy you are currently using. The key is to write down your tasks and then check them off so you can see how far you have come each week, each month, etc. 

My main take-away from my interviews with Jona and Ajarae was the importance in self-reflection and feeling successful. It is important to track and celebrate our wins because we are all kicking butt. Day One and Producteev are how I track my successes but you should also find a system that works for you! Let me know how you keep yourself accountable to success and catch you next time for an interview with another awesome female entrepreneur!

Deborah Lee Smith

About Deborah Lee Smith

Deborah Lee Smith is an actress and producer whose love of performing, storytelling, and new experiences has led to filming projects around the world. Originally from LA, she studied Theater and English Lit at UC Berkeley before moving to Australia to pursue her master’s degree in Film Production. She started acting in the Australian film industry before returning to LA and diving head first into acting and discovered a love of producing. Currently, she has two films in post-production that she has starred in, and has received several awards for her acting and producing work. Additionally, she has partnered with another incredible female producer to create Deep Sea Pictures, a full-service production company that has several projects in various stages of development. She believes in working hard, playing hard, exploring the world, and supporting others to tell stories that expand our understanding of the world and the people, places, and things that reside within it!