(Issue #629) Flibbertigibbet Is My Name. Jabberwocky Is My Game.


May each of us help turn collective monologues into authentic dialogues
in which all in the room have a chance to be heard, understood, and questioned.

~~~~

“Hey, Sam. How are you doing?”

“I’ve been better, Jim. Just found out I have to have surgery.”

“Surgery? Let me tell ya about my surgeries. That’s right, plural! Man, it started with ….”

And he’s off!

One person asks a non-descript question as an opening for him or her to speak about himself or herself. The other person answers but that makes no difference. Our monologuist has started down his or her path. The conversation, while it never began, is over.

Flibbertigibbet is his name. Jabberwocky is his game.

You’ve probably been around people who cannot NOT talk. No matter the situation, they do not engage in a conversation. Rather it becomes a diatribe about what they have experienced, what they believe, what they believe you should believe, or what they believe you should or should not do. A question by them to you becomes an opportunity for them to continue the monologue from their perspective–ad nauseum.

Perhaps you attempt to steer the conversation with a statement about yourself but the monologuist can only revert to inarticulate silence.

Why do people do that? (Why have you done that?)

I encouraged a discussion (conversation?) on my Facebook page (June 27, 2022) searching for enlightenment. I asked two questions:

(1) Why do some people have such a challenging time with conversation and (basically) ignore the people in front of them?
(2) How do you deal with such solipsistic behavior? (In fact, is it solipsistic or something else?)

Thanks to all who responded for their insights. They reminded me that each person brings a separate bag of issues, agendas, needs, and expectations to a would-be conversation.

Here’s a sampling of the wisdom those respondents passed along:

  • “I think it’s deeper programming. I listen, and each time, I learn something new…”
  • “I use expressions like ‘you made so many good points excuse me, but would you mind if I weighed in now? Let me know your thoughts on my perspective….’”
  • “Loneliness can cause oversharing because they have been longing for connection.”
  • “Passion can cause oversharing…I’ll hop up on my soapbox for a few key arguments, but I try to not be too long-winded.”
  • “Dogma! We are surrounded by too many who are not independent thinkers. I encounter it every day. They regurgitate the tripe they hear from illiterate others who want them to follow blindly….”
  • “…Add in social media that provides a perfect monologue platform and national examples around us of this style of communication and we are TEACHING—whether intentional or not—a monologue communication style.”
  • “Honestly? For some, it may be social anxiety, and an inability, to figure out how to start a conversation.”
  • “Some might be narcissistic, others might be insecure or lonely. In my experience, the vast majority simply don’t seem to realize that a conversation means an exchange of talking and listening.”
  • “Having spent many an hour in bars and clubs being subjected to myriad conversations, I have learned that the people who speak the most are generally lawyers and teachers.”
  • “I agree with the position that if it’s not a chronic irritation in your life, just be pleasant.”
  • “My theory is that some people have a minimum number of words for the day that they MUST get out. Everyone’s minimum is different…I just think that they hadn’t had the opportunity to get those words out that day, and I helped them achieve that.”
  • “Repressed doubt.”
  • “Arrogance. They want to espouse their brilliance and are not interested in anyone else’s and afraid they cannot offer viable arguments to other views. “
  • “Some people talk on and on and on because of obsessive-compulsive disorder or some level of that… Some behavioral conditioning and or lots of interventions about TMI may help.”
  • “Ask questions and listen.”
  • “Some people simply don’t know how to have a real conversation. It’s too bad because if I find myself just listening to someone without a question about my thoughts or my life or the opportunity to answer them, I’m less likely to want to spend time with them in the future.”
  • “Some have been conditioned to not think, only repeat.”
  • “I find the best way to deal with narcissism is to give them positive words like ‘yes’ and ‘I know’ and ‘that must make you feel…’ and just let them talk about themselves. Then extract yourself with grace.”
  • “To the nonstop talkers, I listen, validate that I heard them, and move on. Why do some talk nonstop? Every brain is wired differently than the next, normal is just labeled normal because it’s the majority. It takes more than one color to make a rainbow.”
  • “Another perspective: some non-neurotypical people do what’s called ‘info dumping’ as a method of communication and to show that they are interested in the listener. It’s a ‘look at what cool information I brought you!’ type of thing. So it may come across as a bit narcissistic or self-involved when in reality it’s just their method of being friendly.”
  • “Fear, fear, fear. Fear of the unfamiliar. Fear of the unfamiliar also within the self.”
  • “Fear of not being seen or fear of being seen…the fear that no one will listen, fear that everyone will listen…fear, indeed. And what to do when you encounter this? Well, in my experience, love them anyway. Hold space for them to feel their fear—don’t match it, just allow it. Don’t fix it, just love them anyway.”

I am taken by how many of the above responses connect to critical thinking skills and civility. You attempt to listen, question, be heard, be kind—and if that doesn’t work graciously move on.

Critically thought-out conversations are crucial to our society. Something we have to continue to master—and according to some of the responses above, backup and relearn.

Thanks to all for sharing. May each of us help turn collective monologues into authentic dialogues in which all in the room have a chance to be heard, understood, and questioned.

Keep making a positive difference!

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Celeste Headlee reminds us that “we are not listening to each other” and that we have lost the balance needed for a conversation.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.

All photos by Steve Piscitelli. The Growth and Resilience Network®


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in collective monolgues, Community, conversation | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #628) The Story of the Fire


Right or wrong, never knowing what might happen,
she was on high alert most of the time.

~~~~~

As I remember, I was about six or seven years old. We lived in a second-floor flat. Mom had to go pickup Dad (he was drunk). It was late night/early morning. Rather than awaken me, she quietly left our inner-city New Haven (CT) rental, locked the door, and made the quick drive to pick him up. It would be a short few minutes.

By time they returned, a fire truck, flashing lights reflecting against the clapboard structure, was parked outside our home. Imagine the feeling of a parent at that moment. Luckily, the fire did not impact our flat and I had slept right through it all. No harm. As I remember Mom telling me (later years) she feared the authorities would take me from her because of neglect/abandonment. That, thankfully, did not happen—but it reminded me of all that Mom had to put up with just to survive from day to day.

Reliving that experience in my mind on a recent trip back to that childhood nieghborhood, I had and “ah-ha moment.”

Photo by Steve Piscitelli. 2022

Mom seldom lived in the present moment (as the term is often used). She had difficulty smelling the roses and savoring the moment. She had to constantly prepare for what might happen with Dad. Right or wrong, never knowing what might happen, she was on high alert most of the time.

What has become clearer to me is that Mom did, in fact, occupy a present moment. But it was a different kind of present moment. One that helped her prepare and survive for the future of when Dad came home drunk, or gambled too much, or lost his temper.

Her present moment was a place of survival. She did not sense opportunities to thrive and grow. Rather, she constantly circled the wagons. A defensive position for a presumptive attack.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

That got me thinking about how there may be two types of present moments—one a place for surviving and one a place for thriving.

  • The Present Moment for Survival does not allow much room for appreciation and joy of one’s surroundings and life. Worry, fear and anxiety rule. It can become easy to say one should “let it flow” or “breathe deeply” but Mom was preparing the environment to survive what would walk through the door so that we could wake up the next day and move beyond that high-alert status. But the next day began a new survival mode for the next storm. And as that happened repeatedly it set in motion the “present-as-survival-for-the-next-present-as-survival” moment.
  • The other present moment that Mom did not experience much (from what I can remember) was the Present Moment for Thriving. We hear about this often. Appreciate the moment and what you have. Feel what is around you. A place where one can explore, embrace, and enjoy a sense of growth and peace. In this present moment we understand there may not be much (anything?) we can do about what may be, but we take solace in what is—what we have.
Photo by Steve Piscitelli. 2022.

Perhaps one builds on the other. Maybe one stunts the other. Possibly one is the other.

And each leaves a mark.

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Listen as Eckhart Tolle and Oprah Winfrey tell us, “Life is always the now.” What do you think?

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Anxiety, Appreciation, awareness, parental guidance, parenting, present-mindedness | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

(Issue #627) Beginning-Ending-Beginning


Doing it just to do it so you can say you did it and continue to do it is not the reason to do it

~~~~~

Beginning

Twelve years ago today (the last Sunday of May 2010), with a bit of apprehension, I clicked “publish” and launched this blog. The first few weeks I posted to the Blogger site. After that I migrated to my current platform of WordPress. I made a commitment to post once a week for the “foreseeable future.”

That marked a beginning.

The weekly posts continued for (counting today’s offering) 627 consecutive weeks.

While most of my readers reside in the USA, this blog has reached around the world. The next nine nations (by number of views): Canada, Philippines, India, United Kingdom, Australia, Malaysia, South Africa, Germany, and Indonesia. And additional viewers from more than 100 other countries. (According to WordPress stats.)

Humbling. Gratifying.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Ending

Like the child who started the first grade in 2010 and has now (2022) reached his high school commencement, I, too, have arrived at a graduation of sorts.

Today marks the last of my weekly blog posts. An ending—of sorts. It is not the end of the blog. Just the end of the weekly posts.

While the weekly posts pushed me to continue to hone my writing skills and explore new topics, I found myself posting just to keep “the string” of consecutive weeks going. That became a chore at times. While I still received joy and a sense of satisfaction each time I hit “publish,” there were times during the last few years that I was more relieved than joyful. I found myself doing the blog because “I had to do it.” No one told me to do it. I just did not want to break the streak of consecutive weeks. Like the student who goes to school so she can get a perfect attendance award—not because school fulfills her.

Doing it just to do it so you can say you did it and continue to do it is not the reason to do it for me.

The well runs dry.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Beginning

In a quote attributed to Louis L’ Amour,

There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.

And so it is.

Time to for me to back away, gather a new perspective, and return to this blog with fresh eyes and thoughts. As I put more time into my pet therapy rounds with my canine companion, Roxie, and my other community service commitments, innovative ideas will incubate. A brief hiatus will give me the opportunity to reflect on what I can contribute (with my blogging) going forward.

One of the early posts on this blog spoke of the inspiration for my song Find Your Happy Place!

The song reminds us that we have to care for ourselves. Be it a spiritual touchstone, an emotional retreat, a community gathering, or an isolated getaway when we can find ethical ways to maintain life’s balance we help ourselves

That can lead to a beginning.

Thank you for following, reading, sharing, and commenting. I appreciate you and I will be back.

Every exit is an entrance to someplace else.|
~attributed to Patti LaBelle~

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Sunrise represents an end and a beginning. Enjoy this video I shot from my kayak. And don’t miss the dolphins!

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Gratitude | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #626) Control What Happens After What Happens


I know now that while I cannot control what may happen to me in life, I can control who I want to be after it happens. It’s a very simple, yet powerful statement. So instead of worrying about life and what it has in store for me, I throw my hands up in the air and enjoy the ride. You can, too.
~Jennifer Gilbert~

~~~~~

This week I circle back to February of 2014 when I posted “Honor the Past. Celebrate the Present. Embrace the Future.”  Something about it has resonated with my blog followers.

Today it remains, by far, the most popular post on my blog. With just shy of 20,000 views it outpaces the second most popular post by more than 3x the views.

In that Number 1 blog post (which I have included below) I provided a link to a Jennifer Gilbert article that describes a life-threatening event—and how what happened to her led to what happened later in life.

The past was horrific, but it did not create a permanent roadblock for her present or future.

Or as Toni Morrison (attributed) said, “You wanna fly? You gotta give up the thing that weighs you down.”

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Enjoy the most popular post on this blog (and don’t forget to click on the Jennifer Gilbert link within the post):

“Life can only be understood backwards;
but it must be lived forwards.” (Soren Kierkegaard)

In 2009 I was at Lynn University to facilitate a series of presentations for faculty and students. During one segment of a studio interview I reflected on what effective teachers do for their students. Beyond academic achievement, we need to help our students honor their past, celebrate their present and look to their future.

Honor the Past. The past, obviously, is our history. It has been the vehicle that has carried us to this moment. I encourage my students to understand and respect their past. Sure, there are moments, events, people, and issues that may be troubling at best and traumatic at worst. “Honoring” in this context means to recognize that from those times, you have grown into the person you are. It does not diminish what happened as Jennifer Gilbert’s story shows. The past should not be an excuse—nor should it be a shackle. It happened; cannot be undone. There is no mulligan.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

I have watched organizational managers state they were not responsible for the past they inherited. They would not be bogged down in memories. I agree. Of course, these new folks did not create the history of the organization. However, they are creating a new history. And to not understand and respect what their organization has gone through—the culture that their followers have experienced—is short-sighted and disrespectful. NEVER lose sight of institutional memory. How can the organization move forward? (See Embrace the Future below.)

Celebrate the Present. Dr. Leo Buscaglia once opined that “the past is a cancelled check, the future a promissory note, and the present is cash in hand.”  How true. The present is all we truly have. While there is wisdom in preparing for the future, we can get lost in it and miss what we are truly experiencing. The present is our time to live and coincidentally create our evolving history. When we hold on to the past (going beyond honoring to “stuck in the past”) it robs us of our present. When we live in the future, we vacate the present. We cannot get the present back.


Video recommendation for the week:

The time for life is today.


Embrace the Future. For some, the future is scary. For others, that unknown is cause for excitement rather than trepidation. There is, to be sure, a practicality in looking to the future. Think, for example, retirement planning. The crisis faced by the baby boom generation has been well documented. Planning for the future takes place in the present. Today is the tomorrow you prepared for (or not) yesterday.

Students enter college with their dreams—what they hope for in the future. In many ways, those of us who have the privilege to work in the classroom help coach these folks to their future. Inspirational and far-sighted leaders have a responsibility to focus on the future.

Soren Kierkegaard reminded us that “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

As you look to the new week that you will make for yourself be mindful to honor, celebrate and embrace.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #625) Do We Hold the Key?


I wonder what they might be thinking as they face
the last precious moments of their lives.

~~~~~

Roxie, my canine companion, and I have the honor to make pet therapy rounds at Community Hospice and Palliative Care. As with the other places we visit (here and here, for instance), Roxie brings smiles and starts conversations with every person she meets. Every. One.

I stand to the side and observe, happy to see the joy that a belly rub can bring. (That is, a belly rub for Roxie. The people are on their own when it comes to that. 😊) At the end of our rounds both of us have tired paws and renewed appreciation that comes with being allowed to serve our community.

Our hospice visits have brought the same feelings along with a deeper introspection on my part. We meet patients (nearing the end of their life’s journey) as well as their families and friends. Once again, smiles and conversations occur—sometimes through tears. The patients often talk about dogs they had or have. Happy times. Joyful memories. Other times they speak about hobbies or sports teams. Again, fond remembrances. Love for what they have had and still have in their lives. They thank us for stopping by their rooms for what will probably be the last time we will see them.

And each time I wonder.

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Recorded in 2010, “Love My Life” reflects on looking back–and looking ahead. (The link: https://youtu.be/_GeJKoEHgts) The late Rick “Hurricane” Johnson provided the keyboard for this track. We were fortunate to have his insights in the studio.

~~~~~

I wonder what they might be thinking as they face the remaining precious moments of their lives. What do they see in their mind’s eye? What memories resonate? What do they see as their legacy? What did they not do that, if they had time, they would go after? What did they do that brings a smile to their soul? Would they do anything differently? What lessons did they learn and what advice would they proffer?

I wonder, “What is the story their eyes are telling?”

Do we need to wait until the end of the ride to evaluate the experience? In their way, those eyes that Roxie and I see tell us not to wait. Examine the doors, paths, and choices in front of us, and act.

Last week I rediscovered a song I wrote for my Find Your Happy Place! CD. “Love My Life,” has a young man seeking counsel from an elder.

What do you regret?
If you could do it over
What would you forget?

The old man smiles, shakes his head, and reminds us that life is up to us. There will be regrets and there will be satisfaction. Simply,

Life can be filled with rain
And heartache and pain
Or it can be days of fun
With blue skies and sun
You can be at war with yourself
But don’t blame someone else
Because whatever you believe
That is what will be

Young man you see
It’s you who holds the key
Not as hard as it seems
To live a life of your dreams

So, do we hold the key? If we do, do we use it to open the doors in front of us?

I wonder.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #624) NOW is My Time (reprise)


When I spend time in the past and in the future, I miss the present.
I miss what is with me—and will soon become the past.

~~~~~

[NOTE ABOUT THIS POST: Excerpted from my blog post of November 24, 2013. The message holds true seven-and-one-half years later. Maybe with a bit of added imperative.]

A few days before Thanksgiving 2013, as my students approached finals week on campus, I sent an email encouraging them to celebrate what they had accomplished to that point in the semester (their past), what was ahead of them (their future), and asked them to remember what they had become by that point in the semester (their present).

Here is that email’s content. Maybe there is a morsel, a nugget of inspiration for you (your family, your colleagues, your community team) as you begin your day.

Good morning, young scholars!

You have arrived at the homestretch of the semester. Now, you can see what you have accomplished. Congratulate yourself. And get ready to cross the finish line with style and grace!

Here is a quick strategy to keep your energy and passion flowing. Repeat the following aloud: “Now is MY time!”  Say it again. “Now is MY time!”

Yes, you have lots of responsibilities with family, children, work, and/or school. (You must always take care of the NON-NEGOTIABLE priorities in your life.)  And at times you might even feel like quitting. Remember that each day brings you closer to your dreams—but only if YOU continue to move toward your dreams. This is your time…what will you do with it?

I look forward to a wonderfully energizing end of the semester. And remember to say—and mean it—and be it: “Now is MY time!”

Photo (c) by Steve Piscitelli

My inspiration for that letter came to me from a Deepak Chopra meditation session. His centering thought: Now is my time!

Chopra reminds me that constantly focusing on the result will cause me to miss the journey.

Speaking as someone who is very goal driven, I realize I spend far too much of my life either focused on what I have no control over (the past) or that which has yet to transpire (the future). When I spend time in the past and in the future, I miss the present. I miss what is with me—and will soon become the past. And when I ruminate on making the future better—again I miss the present. Do you see the endless self-defeating cycle?

Now is truly all we are sure of at any time. What are we doing with our Now.

As you prepare for your week ahead, embrace today. Tomorrow today will be yesterday. Now really is the time. How will you embrace and nurture it?


Video recommendations for the week:

Video #1. How a heart-felt hug can accentuate the present. Caution: The music in this video might bring a tear to your eye.

Video #2. Watch the beginning when a little girl steps forward and places a coin in the hat. The action created the now that continues to build into a powerful experience.


Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in present-mindedness | Tagged , | Leave a comment

(Issue #623) What Have We Learned in 12 Years?


NOTE ABOUT THIS POST: This week I have a repost with a twist. The post below (Issue #1 on this blog) went live on May 31, 2010. At the time, SOCIAL MEDIA was a bit of a new hot topic for the classroom. How to use it? What platforms to use? With whom? When? As you read this 12-year-old post today, it may bring a chuckle or headshake. After each of the bullet points/learning points from 2010, I posted my thoughts from 2022. I’d appreciate your considered reflections as well.

We have come along way—or have we? 😊

~~~~~

Here’s the 2010 post:

I am in Austin, Texas presenting at the NISOD conference. Yesterday I had the good fortune to facilitate an all-day pre-conference institute with Robb Sherfield (author of Cornerstone) and Amy Baldwin (author of The Community College Experience). One of the topics we discussed was how to use social media for motivation and engagement in the classroom. This was (probably) the 6th or 7th time we have worked with this topic in a workshop setting. This morning, I did a solo session titled “The Dot Commies Are Comin’ The Dot Commies Are Here!” Again, this was about social media in the classroom. No matter where in the country we facilitate this workshop, there are a few recurring points:

  • 2010: NO matter who your audience may be, when using social media KNOW why you are using it. In other words, don’t use it to be cute. Use it with a purpose. Match your strategy to the goal. This holds true for the classroom or the boardroom.
    • 2022 Reflection: How many presentations have you been through that could qualify for death by PowerPoint? Or Dizzy from video and graphics? And then you walk out of the room and say, That was the longest hour of my life! Have you found the message to get lost in the medium—or has the medium enhanced the message?
  • 2010: People are interested in SKYPE. The ability to video conference (two people) computer to computer for FREE and with decent quality is attractive. Audio conferencing with more than twenty people at a time is also available. One participant yesterday was excited about the prospect of using this technology to connect with students on various campuses.
    • 2022 Reflection: Wow, we have come a ways, haven’t we? How many Zoom meetings have you attended in the last twenty-four months? Or even in the last week? Connecting with students (colleagues and family, too) can be done in so many ways. Have you found this a positive or a challenge?
  • 2010: Digital video cameras allow you to develop quick (and high quality) learning objects for students, staff, community groups, and the like.
    • 2022 Reflection: My first thought went to the ever-present phone in ever-ready hand to snap whatever, whenever, and for whatever purpose. For the teachers reading this, has this been an enhancement or a distraction? How about outside of the classroom?
  • 2010: No matter how good the technology is there are bound to be glitches. Recognize that, accept that, and plan for it. BUT do not avoid social media and technology because there MIGHT be a glitch.
    • 2022 Reflection: Glitches exist. Like twelve years ago, it’s part of the process. Have you found faster Internet speeds helpful as well as the increasingly sophisticated platforms?
  • 2010: As a teacher it is my responsibility to let my students know this technology exists. They can choose to use it or not…but they need to know it is there. And it is not going away! Which leads to my last point…
    • 2022 Reflection: Truth. It did not go away. Do you see a time when social media goes away? See below.
  • 2010: As Eric Qualman points out in his book Socialnomics, social media is not a fad. It is not going away. We should do what we can to help shape the discussion about appropriate uses of the technology for teaching and learning. Again, this is important for the classroom and the boardroom.
    • 2022 Reflection: Truth (again). Social media has not gone away. Is there a conversation to be had about social media’s presence and influence or does it have a life of its own?

I welcome your thoughts on the best way to use social media to connect in education—and in the corporate and community spheres.

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Watch this cool video: “Most Popular Social Media Platforms: 1997-2020.” So many platforms about which I did not know. Which ones have you used? For grins, look at the platforms that pop up in 2004, 2016, and 2018. Have fun.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Communication | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #622) A Functioning Community is More than a Zip Code


Consider your community’s assets and needs. Consider the interlocking nature of the people, place, and purpose your community attempts to serve.

~~~~~

A community may be viewed as a point on the map—yet it is more than just a place on a map.

A community may be measured by its latest census count—yet is more than just the number of people.

A community may be known for a function it serves—yet it exists for more than just that purpose.

A community is all three. A functioning community brings together people, place, and purpose.

Richard Leider pointed out in The Power of Purpose that life is good when we can manage to have the Three Ps of our lives align with one another: People, Place, and Purpose. His book with David Shapiro, Repacking Your Bags states the good life is “living in the place you belong, with the people you love, doing the right work, on purpose.” 

Those three Ps, also, help us understand interlocking issues affecting a community’s health and wellbeing.

My latest community service sees me sitting on a council examining such topics with our ultimate responsibility to offer recommendations for further exploration and action as needed. As my fellow council members and I examined the initial list of potential topics, Leider and Shapiro’s work came to my mind.

No matter what topic is addressed, the intersection of the Three Ps is evident. For instance, when learning about community assets that address “Senior Programming,” we heard about

  • Housing
  • Food insecurity 
  • Transportation
  • Resource Centers
  • Health programs
  • Mentoring

Each topic connects with another topic. It is difficult, for example, to focus on mentoring if one doesn’t know when or where the next meal will be—or where the table will be for that meal.

Consider your community’s assets and needs. Consider the interlocking nature of the people, place, and purpose your community attempts to serve. A functioning community is much more than one event, one initiative, or one policy priority.

And it is so much more than a zip code.

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

As you hear Richard Leider speak about purpose, consider what a community (your community) can do to help people thrive in the place in which they live.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #621) The Most Boring People in the World?


Has hoping for an authentic question that leads to an authentic conversation that leads to understanding that leads to caring and connection become “old school“?

~~~~~

Ever wonder if it’s you or them? Or both?

For instance, you’re at a social gathering with friends, colleagues, maybe even family. Desiring conversation, you attempt to engage the others with thoughtful and authentic questions. Nothing controversial. Your questions about the others’ experience bring lots of comments.  And then the monologues begin—about their lives, trials, accomplishments, dreams, or disappointments.  Perhaps someone whips out a phone and starts flipping through photos of this, that, and them.

But…

…Not one question asked about your life, trials, accomplishments, dreams, or disappointments.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

You might think your expectations are too high. Or that you’re boring. Or maybe hoping for an authentic question that leads to an authentic conversation that leads to understanding that leads to caring and connection is old school.

Reminds me of a post I wrote more than four years ago about communication—or the lack thereof. Last week I watched (again) Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk on how to be a better conversationalist. Celeste asks early on in her thought-provoking presentation, if we are “engaged and inspired” or depleted by what is supposed to be a conversation. These ten pointers are important reminders for us. Maybe you can share them, as well. Please view her less-than twelve-minute talk below in the Video Recommendation for the Week section.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli
  1. Be present in the moment
    1. You know, listen and care about the person/people in front of you.
  2. Don’t pontificate—assume you have something to learn
    1. I’m sure you have wonderfully instructive e experiences to share. So do the people in front of you.
  3. Everyone you ever meet knows something you don’t
    1. But you won’t know it if you don’t stop and ask questions and listen.
  4. Use open-ended questions
    1. And keep them coming. See #1 and #3 above.
  5. Go with the flow
    1. Don’t be scripted with banal questions. Think about the people in front of you and ask questions that recognize and respect their stories.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs…this is not about you
    1. I’ve written about this before. Probably not the time for comparatory suffering or achievement.
  7. Try not to repeat yourself
    1. See #1-#6.
  8. Stay out of the weeds
    1. Yes, I want to hear about your story…but two hours later, let me come up for a breath of air.
  9. Listen
    1. Communicate. Have a deliberative dialogue.
  10. Be brief…be interested in other people
    1. See the above.

~~~~~

Video Recommendation for the Week.

Celeste Headlee’s TED Talk has more than 12 million views.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in conversation, respect | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

(Issue #620) Volunteer and Grow


You give of yourself because the giving makes the act about the other person,
not about you.

~~~~~

One of the organizations for whom Roxie and I volunteer asked me to participate in a video interview about volunteering. Why volunteer for the organization? What drew me to the organization? And so on. The bottom line for all the questions: Why is volunteering important?

Obviously, the act giving service helps the people and communities for whom you volunteer. You contribute a free service (for the most part) that provides needed assistance. You leave another being, hopefully, better than when you arrived on the scene.

You give of yourself because the giving makes the act about the other person, not about you.

When I offer time to my community, I think of giving back and establishing meaningful connections. And the literature supports that. For instance, Western Connecticut State University found that volunteering strengthens and makes a difference for your community and brings people together.  WCSU also found that stepping up to the line promotes personal growth and self-esteem. While volunteering aids the people around you, it benefits the volunteers as well. They learn more about themselves. They volunteered to help others and, concomitantly, they received a benefit. A symbiotic relationship develops.

Young people (think high school and college students) may volunteer to gain experience and build a resume. And in the process, they learn about their communities and continue to understand who they are, what moves them, and what skills they have that their neighbors need.

When we volunteer, we gain personal perspective on how we can inspire, impact, and initiate community.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week.

Listen to this moving TEDx talk about the importance of volunteerism for a community.

~~~~~

Make it a wonderful week and HTRB has needed.

You will find my latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story. Please, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

You can find my podcasts (all fifty episodes) here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2022. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
Atlantic Beach, Florida

Posted in Community, community service, volunteering | Tagged , , | Leave a comment