(#390) A Seven Week Challenge for Purpose and Growth


May you finish 2017 with clarity, peace, and vision
for your future as well as those in your life.

I am offering you the chance to engage in a seven week journey.

Over the past four or five years I have developed a model for growth. My journey started with a review of student success literature to help my students stretch. I eventually expanded beyond the classroom to the workplace, teams, and more personal intimate relations. Seven interrelated areas for personal growth took shape.  (My most recent book uses The Seven Rs as its foundation.)

I have come to view these seven principles as more than just a clever and clichéd mnemonic. The more I connected with audiences, event planners, friends, neighbors, and family I came to view these as core values—the seven areas that guide my life’s focus.


Seven Core Values for Purpose and Growth

  • Surround yourself with RELATIONSHIPS that will help you grow as a person.
  • Discover and use RESOURCES of RELEVANCE for your journey toward your RAINBOWS—your dreams and aspirations.
  • Set aside time for frequent REFLECTION about what you do, why you do it, an adjustments you need to make. Remain curious!
  • Act with RESPONSIBILITY toward others and yourself.
  • Pay attention and foster self-care and RESILIENCE.

Since each core value deserves its own attention and care, let me offer a seven week challenge.

As of today, Sunday, November 12, we have seven weeks remaining in 2017. Choose one “R” each week. Examine it as it relates to your fitness, family, friends, faith, function (career), or finances. Use each week to see what sustains and nourishes you and what does not.  For instance, you might consider this format:

  • Week 1: RELATIONSHIPS. Which relationship(s) do I need to focus on this week? Which do I need to pay more attention to, strengthen, renew, establish, or minimize? How do I know? Who might be able to help me? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?
  • Week 2: RESOURCES. What assets do I have to help me grow my purpose? What assets do I need? Who might be able to help me? Where do I need to look? How do I know? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?
  • Week 3: RELEVANCE. What can I do this week to expose myself to experiences, people, and places that are relevant to my growth as a person? Who might be able to help me? How do I know? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?
  • Week 4: RAINBOWS. What steps will I take this week to move me closer to my dreams? Do I need clarity regarding my dreams? How do I know? Who might be able to help me? What is pulling me toward this dream? How does it make me feel? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?

  • Week 5: REFLECTION. When will I sit and be still so that I can de-clutter my thoughts about my journey? How can I create regular (even if short in duration) moments for me to breathe and disconnect from the world of distractions and noise. Who might be able to help me? How do I know? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?
  • Week 6: RESPONSIBILITY. What gentle act of integrity can I commit this week to demonstrate my care and concern for another being? What gentle act of integrity can I commit this week to demonstrate my care and concern for myself?  How can I make or continue to make this a part of my daily work? Who might be able to help me? How do I know? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?
  • Week 7: RESILIENCE. What small step can I take this week to help myself adapt to, learn from, and grow due to adversity? Who might be able to help me? How do I know? What would I like to accomplish in this area by the end of this week? When will I start?

Whatever format you consider, make it work for your growth and your developing purpose. Stay curious. Stay focused.

May you finish 2017 with clarity, peace, and vision for your future as well as those in your life.


Video recommendation for the week:

Perhaps this short video (185 seconds) will help you decompress and begin your first week of the challenge.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network® (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast(http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in accountability, Appreciation, Appropriate Behavior, assumptions, authenticity, awareness, Choice, fitness, focus, fortitude, Grit, intentionality, Life lessons, Life's purpose, mindset, Motivation, Personal Wellbeing, resilience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#389) Create Your Own Breaking Alerts!


Start small. Start local. Do nothing.

In a recent edition of The Story of Telling, Bernadette Jiwa noted that a Google search of “how to create a sense of urgency” found nearly thirty-five million hits.  Yesterday, I typed in “breaking news alerts” and found almost fifty-seven million results!

You get the emails—we all get the emails—advising us to “click now!” and “time is running out!” and “your account will be locked!” and “video proof that [insert celebrity name] had a meltdown!” And, we hear the “news” screaming (!) at us if we let it.

The intrusions into our Inbox are at once obnoxious and laughable.

Suffice it to say that the media—in its various forms—has mastered the art of raising clicks and heartbeats. If we give permission, they can influence and set our personal agendas.

Last week my wife and I enjoyed the quiet solitude of the Arizona desert. We remained off the grid for 5 days. No TV, no email, no social media, no Internet, no news, no interruptions. Just time to be with each other, ourselves, and our thoughts. The only alerts came from nature and the horses that led us through the desert passes.

What did we miss?

Nothing that could not wait.  Nothing that was urgent. Nothing that required our lives to stay on alert.

Did meaningful and significant events occur in the world? Of course they did. Did we need to know about them immediately or as soon as possible after they happened? Did we need to spend energy on them at the moment of impact? Did we need to scan the endless social media posts to stay abreast of what was important to us?

No.

Nothing.

And the nothing was mind-expanding. I brought a journal to the desert in case I had any epiphanies. After 36 hours, ideas started coming to me. They did not have to compete for cognitive resources. Within the next 72 hours, I had completed 16 journal pages of ideas, musings, directions, and creations.  These thoughts became my “breaking alerts” and will influence my agenda moving forward. Not some marketing tactic geared to scare, entice, and grab attention.

Once we raise our awareness of what (and how much) we allow into our swipe-left-swipe-right world, we then need to understand the assumptions behind why we do what we do.

And…you do not need the desert or an out-of-town trip.  Start small. Start local. Do nothing. Experience the wonder of your thoughts.


Video recommendation of the week.

Click here and see one “experiment” that suggests that “nothingness is actually important.”


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in amplifying, assumptions, awareness, core values, creating your future, Creativity, Discipline, Gratitude, health, Life lessons, Mindfulness, resilience | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#388) Connectors. Dividers. Adopters. Resistors.


We have to know who “gets it, wants it, and has the capacity for it.”

A community has many attributes. For me, it’s hard to conceive of a community without unity.

  • You cannot spell community without unity.
  • A community represents a common unity.
  • Comm(on) unity = Community.

Building community goes beyond the issues themselves. True, issues cannot be ignored.  The bottom line for all of those, and more, remain the people.  Who is there to help, hinder, organize, and oppose?

Perhaps you have heard of the term C.A.V.E. people: Citizens Against Virtually Everything. They can be frustrating.  On the other hand, there might be another version of C.A.V.E. people: Citizens Adopting Virtually Everything.  They can create disharmony as well.  But a mix of the two—when there is true dialogue—can be powerful.

Consider my chart below.

Think about something you are working on now within your community, organization, team, or family. Who have the skills and inclination to be the connectors, and who trend toward the other end of the spectrum? Who understands what you need and want to accomplish? Who sees the vision? Who can contribute? Who will create noise? Who will be the haters? Who turns the status quo on its head?

Where would you place your people (team or organization) within the above chart? Where do you need your people? Where do you stand on the axes? Where do you need to be located in order to lead effectively or follow with purpose?

As Gino Wickman says in his book Traction, we have to know who “gets it, wants it, and has the capacity for it.”


Video recommendation of the week.

Understand what you need, who you need, and when you need it to build your community.  Why not make that move sooner than later?


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in amplifying, assumptions, awareness, change management, coaching, collaboration, collegiality, Goals, Haters, influence, resilience, Stress | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#387) Lessons from Elementary School


Adults, are we listening?

Three lessons from elementary school this week.

(1) Mrs. Hullender teaches 1st grade at the Atlantic Beach Elementary School. Last Tuesday I had the opportunity to visit her classroom during a mini leadership conference.  That’s right. 1st grade students learning about leadership, writing goals, reviewing their goals, sharing their goals, and answering questions about their goals. Impressive.

On Wednesday, I visited a 3rd grade class. The students and their teacher, Mrs. Farinella, proudly spoke about “goals, goals, and leadership roles.”  One student walked me through her notebook tracking her goals for the school year.  She showed me her goals poster hung in the hallway with pride. One of the goals had her thinking about college—and what she would be doing ten years after college.  Perhaps these kids need to help adults set financial and wealth management goals!

(2) The students and the teachers amazed me with their energy and sense of direction. Consider Mrs. Hullender’s classroom for a moment.  Personalized notes. Word lists. Art. Student names. Photos. Drawings. Manipulatives. Listening (reflecting) areas. Personalized name plates. Books. Technology. And so much more.  In fact, all of the teachers take pride in developing their rooms and creating environments that encourage teaching and learning.  I taught middle school, high school, and college.  I’m not sure I could have kept pace with these amazing, creative, and resourceful teachers. I wonder if the average community member understands the time, effort, thought, and (teacher) money that goes into creating an engaging and interactive classroom for elementary school students. It takes more than just “showing up” for class.

(3) Among the many learning aids, reminders, and enticements in Mrs. Hullender’s room you will spy a multicolored sign with six different reinforcement messages. From top to bottom, the messages read

  • You’re Awesome
  • Way to Go
  • Ready to Learn
  • Slow Down
  • Don’t Give Up
  • Think About It

It appears that at the beginning of each day, the student names (on clothespins) all start at Ready to Learn. (Isn’t that the option we all have each day we awaken? What do we do with that gift?) Depending on what they do, the student markers move up and/or down the scale. In this way students receive feedback about their actions creating consequences for not only themselves but for those around them. Leaders learning about leadership on a daily basis.

I’d bet you know people who deserve to spend a bit of time in the “Think About It” level.  Just watch the news and you will find plenty of candidates.

Set and monitor your goals.  Create excitement. Everyday provides opportunities to grow.  Lessons we can all live and grow by today, tomorrow, and the rest of our lives. Lessons from 1st and 3rd Grade.

Thank you Mrs. Hullender and Mrs. Farinella.  Our world needs more people like you and your students.


Video recommendation of the week.

More lessons. This time from 5th Graders at ABE.  These young leaders took time to share what it means to be a leader.  In this short clip from the longer podcast, they share lessons about stress reduction.

Again, adults, are we listening?


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in accountability, action, Being REMARKABLE, Goals, Gratitude, habits, happiness, initiative, inspiration, Teaching, teaching and learning | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#386) The Paddle Out


Sometimes we have to plow through rough water to find our happy places.

The first part of each ocean kayak adventure involves the paddle out. Before I can enjoy the smoother ocean waters, I have to get through the breakers coming to shore.

I have learned the best way for me to stay afloat is to lean forward into the incoming waves and keep paddling.  At times, I need to shift my direction a bit to better navigate the swells. If I stop paddling, lean back in the seat, or fail to adjust my direction, I increase my chances of rolling and being dumped into the water.

To keep moving toward my destination I have to lean in, maintain momentum, and shift as needed.

The same for our goals.

Once we set our goals, we have to take action.  We have to move forward.  We must begin paddling.  We will run into obstacles.

Shift happens.

How we handle the shift creates consequences.


Video recommendation of the week.

You will notice in this video that after I navigate three waves crashing into the bow I seem to finally be beyond the breakers and in the calm waters I sought.  However, after a few moments a fourth—bigger wave—appears.

I see it as another part of the metaphor. Obstacles can appear at any time. While, like the waves in this video, the challenges may be small, they will continue to come. How we handle them determines our outcome. Will we let them interfere with reaching our happy place?


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in accountability, Failure, Goals, Grit, growth, resilience | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

(#385) Don’t Let Anyone Discount Your Agenda


Your agenda is important.
Your issues, trials, tribulations, strife, successes,
collaborations, family, friends,
and resilience mean something to you and to others.

Last week I saw a Tweet that read, “Please don’t bring your agenda today. Bring your love, prayers, heart and support to those who have been hurt and are hurting.”

The first part of the tweet, for some reason, stayed with me.  “Please don’t bring your agenda today.”  I assume only the best intentions by the tweeter.  Something, though, kept bringing me back to those words.

I remembered a conversation I had (nearly 40 years ago) with a chaplain. On that day I had sought Bob’s counsel about an issue that was bothering me. I remember saying to him that I felt a bit silly talking to him about such a small issue.  (And since I have absolutely no recollection of the issue I brought—I’m sure it was small.)

I said, as a way of apologizing for taking his time, something to the effect of, “Isn’t there a verse in the Bible that speaks about feeling bad for yourself because you have no shoes. Until you see someone with no feet. Then you recognize how insignificant your issue is.”

I do remember that Bob responded something to effect of, “Yes, that may be true. But those shoeless feet, they are still your feet.”

In essence, he told me not to short-sell my agenda.

While others may (and do) suffer far more than you, you still can have pain at the same time.  It’s not about comparatory suffering. It’s not about being cavalier about others. It’s not about shining the spotlight on you for a self-congratulatory, self-centered me-me-me moment.  No, I’m talking about paying attention to your core needs that resonate with your core values. This is not about selfishness.  It is more about your life, relationships, growth, and resilience. You can still have empathy and continue to care and advocate for yourself.

Regardless of what happens in the world today, your world continues. Your agenda (your list of things to be done) does not disappear.  Your issues, trials, tribulations, strife, successes, collaborations, family, friends, and resilience mean something to you and to others.  Your children. Your community. Your healthcare insurance. Your significant other(s). Your debt. Your food insecurity. Your suffering loved one. Your savings account. Your community activism. Your ….

This past week I attended a celebration of life for an area musician/businessman/family man/friend.  The church was SRO. The celebration was not about the agendas of people in the seats. It was about our friend who had left us far too early—and about all he had accomplished. However, after the service there were long hugs, warm kisses, and meaningful conversations about appreciating life to its fullest.  About appreciating all of our lives.  The celebration became an exclamation point for us, the living.  Our agendas moving forward.

Don’t let anyone discount your agenda.

Video recommendation of the week.

Are you “full of yourself”?

Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in Appreciation, awareness, Being selfish, Choice, Civility, core values, Discipline, emotional intelligence, empathy, fortitude, Friendship, Gratitude, growth, resilience | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

(#384) Without Relationships What Do You Have?


These bureaucrats failed to establish a basic, meaningful, and
respectful relationship with us.

My latest appearance on The Morning Show (TV 4) in Jacksonville, FL explored a strategy to examine life goals: The Second R.E.A.D. The video of the week clip below provides the details for the strategy (Relationships. Enthusiasm. Authenticity. Difference).

Both on and off camera, Bruce Hamilton (The Morning Show anchor) and I agreed that RELATIONSHIPS remain the key ingredient for success.

A friend posted a Facebook comment about the TV segment:  “It’s always about relationships! Yes. It’s the heart of everything. Without that, you have…?”

Let’s complete that thought. Without relationships you have…

  • Collective monologues
  • Poor to no communication
  • Lack of soul
  • Mindless motion without consideration
  • Inertia
  • People doing a job (poorly) rather than pursuing a calling
  • Mind-numbing chatter
  • Mind-numbing silence
  • Misdirection
  • Indifference
  • Disconnection
  • Separation

The past few months I’ve been involved in a life-sucking series of emails with bureaucrats from one organization. They proved to be excellent at avoiding questions, holding hard to questionable procedures, failing to respond in a timely manner, and engaging in self-congratulatory behavior. Soulless. I don’t blame the bureaucracy. I blame the people and what passes for management.

These bureaucrats failed to establish a basic, meaningful, and respectful relationship with us.

Relationships build connections. Connections bring about growth and progress.

When the relationship is disrespected, trust is lost. Community suffers. “No” becomes the mantra.

I once heard something to the effect that when one person has a good experience, she will tell another about it.  When she has a bad experience, she will share that with ten people.

Guess what? In the age of social media, that number has dramatically increased.

Remember the situation of the broken guitar and United Airlines? More than 17 MILLION views.  Maybe it’s time for me to write a new song about another set of bureaucrats who, in this case, broke a relationship. Hmm….

It really does not have to be that way.


Video recommendation of the week.

Pay attention to the discussion about Relationships at the beginning and toward the end of the clip. Filmed September 27, 2017 at the WJXT studios in Jacksonville, Florida.


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

My podcasts: The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

My programs and webinars: website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) and (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in assumptions, awareness, collegiality, Communication, Life lessons, Relationship, relevance, resilience, respect | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment