(#446) What Serves As Your Fuel?


W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?

Clean out an overstuffed desk drawer or dig into the rear of the hall closet and you might say, “Darn, where did that come from?” Or, a slight smile might crease your lips, “Yeah, that brings back memories!”

Last week I found a stamp in my office. You know, the self-inking type that you might have for a return address or to mark a check for deposit.

My stamp had “W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?”

I had it made one semester for my students. More specifically, for their papers.  After readying their initial assignment of the term, in addition to my written, long-hand comments, I would stamp “W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?” on the bottom of the page.  Occasionally, I would share the message again at midterm and end of term.

“W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?”

“What Are You Doing To Get What You Want?”

Each student came to campus with dreams. Some laser-focused; others a bit scattered. I challenged them to add action to their dreams.  Without initiative, all the potential and ambition in the world can come up short.

As you review your goals for this past year, you will find times of progress, stumbles, misdirection, success, learning, and growth. Take a moment and dig deeper. What happened because of your consistency and inconsistency?  Did you take your eye off your dream? Did you get tired?  Did you get sidetracked because you paid attention to distractions and detractors? Did you find you needed assistance? Did you seek that assistance?

What served as your fuel and what depleted your reserves?

“W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?” is more than a clever technique. It reminds us that our dreams need attention, assumption-checking, alacrity, and action.

As you review 2018 and move into 2019, perhaps “W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?” can provide the little push you need—we all need—to stay true to our core values.


Video Recommendation of the Week:

This 60-second video reminds us of the importance of establishing, recognizing, and honoring boundaries and limits.  If we fail to do this, we risk sabotaging our journey. Consider, as part of your “W.A.Y.D.T.G.W.Y.W?”, how boundaries and limits fit into your action plan.


For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in amplifying, assumptions, authenticity, awareness, boundaries and limits, emotional intelligence, Failure, growth, resilience | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#445) Endings. Beginnings. Beginnings. Endings.


How will the ending affect your beginning?

Sunset. Moonrise.

Moonset. Sunrise.

December 31. January 1.

High school graduation. College first-year experience.

Diagnosis. Recovery.

Digital detachment. Digital detachment.

Relationships. Relationships.

Death. Birth.

Winter. Spring.

Rainbow bridge. Puppy adoption.

Open door. Closed door.

Letting go. Moving forward.

[You fill in the ending.  You fill in the beginning.]

Endings. Beginnings. Beginnings. Endings.

Once a month, Roxie and I can witness a full moon descending over the beach dunes while the sun peaks over the ocean waves. At once we can see the ending of the preceding day and the beginning of the new.

The past yields to the present. We build on our progress and learn from our stumbles. We can move forward or curl up.

In 30 days, the calendar turns. What matters to you before the year ends? How will the ending affect your beginning?

Video Recommendation of the Week:

A poem (with Native American flute accompaniment) reminds us that
“For sometimes things must end. Try not to cling tightly.
Fearing what is around the bend. Endings and beginnings.”


For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,

due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in amplifying, assumptions, authenticity, awareness, change management, Choice, confidence, core values | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#444) Mouths and Ears


Discourse. Dialogue. Debate. Diminished?

In an interview with Bill Moyers, writer and political analyst Sam Tanenhaus addressed the challenge with current-day discourse or dialogue or debate.

The people around the table “have many mouths but they don’t have many ears…
The sign of a true statesman is the capacity to listen…
to try to inhabit the thoughts and ideas of the other side.”
(p. 261)

A lot people talking. Not many listening.

When these collective monologues turn to gossip and insults, the mouths without ears end up killing people’s dignity and assaulting their souls according to psychologist Brenda Shoshanna.

From the lack of listening to the talking over one another, one would think that to even consider meaningful discourse somehow diminishes one’s self. Shoshanna blames it on ego domination. We diminish conversation, others, and ourselves. She states,

One way for the ego to protect itself from being insulted is to enjoy insulting others.
This is the basis of gossip and slander…
However, what we do not realize is that engaging in these
practices not only harms others but also harms us.
We keep ourselves thinking negatively; we keep upset alive within.
(p. 62)

Before we can collaborate, we must converse. Before we can do that, we need to consider the subject before us. Consideration (that is, careful thought over time) requires work; listening; questioning; listening some more. Bridge building–or at least authentic efforts to construct a connection. No short cuts.


Video Recommendation of the Week:

In his 1960 hit, Joe Jones, sings “you talk about people you don’t know….you talk about people wherever you go.” You just talk too much!


For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book,
Community as a Safe Place to Land,
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in Appreciation, Appropriate Behavior, awareness, boundaries and limits, Civility, collaboration, collective monolgues, Communication, Community, conversation, ethics, growth | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#443) Why Did We Form This Band?


There are some things that really matter, like a shared vision.
If the singer wants to be a star, the guitarist wants to play a different style and the bassist and drummer are in it to smoke weed and jam…
might not work out.—Crucial Eddy Cotton

Last week, I crafted a musical metaphor for a community group. I wanted to address the challenge of establishing a shared vision for our group.

A few days later, I asked musician friends to share what they have found makes for a successful band.

The parallels between what makes for meaningful community activism and a successful band struck me as poignant.  Lessons right in front of us.

First, the metaphor I shared with the community group:

Consider a group of talented and accomplished musicians forming a band. For the band to be successful, several components must fall in place. Among them:

  1. Determining what the band’s genre will be. Blues? R and B? Classic? Jazz? Pop? Rap? Something else.

o   I liken this to the band’s core value. Why does it exist?

o   Metaphor for a community group: You have come together. You are the musicians, if you will.  What “music” do you want to play as a GROUP?

  1. The band must figure out its purpose beyond style of music.

o   Is to be a dance band? Concert band? Club band? Background music? Is it to record and sell CDs?

o   Metaphor: What is your purpose for forming your community “band”—your group?

  1. The band needs musicians that believe in the band’s reason for being—and each member must understand and live this. See #1 and #2 above.

o   If the band says it is a Blues Band and the bassist plays ¾ time jazz, the guitar player performs a 4/4 country slide lead, while the drummer pounds out a Reggae beat, and the keyboardist decides that the audience really needs to hear Bach, well we got a lot of talented people—but no one is playing together.  No music. Just cacophony.

o   Metaphor: Your group may have lots of ideas and actual programs moving forward.  Are they all connected to a common purpose? See #1.

  1. The band talks about a promoter or record producer. It wants to be HUGE!

o   If the band has not considered carefully the above (and much more) it can end up going with a promoter because the band believes he/she has experience and will make them big.  Unfortunately, if the band does not have a handle on what it wants to do, why it wants to do it, and how to do it….the band can lose the ability to direct its destiny.

o   Metaphor: Maybe your group has spoken about having a main driver/key donor to help make it big.  But, what do you approach them with? A bunch of parts and pieces of an amorphous being? A clear vision?

Now, for my question to the musicians:

What is the “IT” that makes a band work? If we were to move beyond the (obvious?) expectations for instrument and/or vocal talent, what keeps the band moving forward? What keeps the band together, playing, reaching goals, enjoying, making a difference for the members and the audience? Is there an “IT” that make the band work/click/gel?

Every musician’s post reminded me of the power of finding and loving what we do.  And recognizing those who help us make our “music” whether it’s on stage, in a classroom, serving in a restaurant, working in an office, or organizing a group of people.

Here were four of the many posts to my Facebook query. The bold emphasis is my emphasis of their words.

o   “The best music happens when the people making it respect and care about each other and the music.” – John Mortensen

o   “I’ve been in many bands and the best ones were always the ones where the band members liked and respected each other and worked together to create great music. I know, this may sound corny, but it’s true.”—Roy Peak

o   “To me, bands mirror the same dynamics of personal relationships. It’s easy to fall in love; they take work to sustain; they require clear alignment on goals. I believe that’s why so few live very long.”—Alan Gross

o   “There are some things that really matter, like a shared vision. If the singer wants to be a star, the guitarist wants to play a different style and the bassist and drummer are in it to smoke weed and jam…might not work out.”—Crucial Eddy Cotton

This week consider a community with which you work. Whether it concerns itself with political action, elimination of  a food desert, connections for shut-ins, or literacy training, does a clear vision exist—or just a bunch of pieces and parts of an amorphous being?


Video Recommendation of the Week:

While I have referenced this video in a few past blog posts, its musical message connects to this week’s post. As my friends above reminded us, we need vision and respectful relationships to get to that vision.  People supporting and standing by one another for the greater good of the group’s purpose.


For more about community building and sustainability, look for my new book Community as a Safe Place to Land
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in authenticity, awareness, Being REMARKABLE, change management, Choice, Civility, collaboration, collegiality, Communication, Community, community development, consideration, conversation, core values, resilience | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#442) Community Building: Beyond Why to How


The question, in my mind, moves beyond why we need community
to how we go about building and sustaining it.

While dichotomies can be simplistic, they can also help frame a conversation. When you seek a community, toward which end of the scale do you feel more welcomed and able to flourish? Which of the following have a better chance to build respectful, inclusive, nurturing, and resilient networks?

  • Sharing visions or sharing your vision?
  • Sharing decision making or sharing your decision?
  • Authentic questioning or leading questioning?
  • Dialogue or monologue?
  • Conversation or collective monologue?
  • Informed debate or ideological diatribe?
  • Compassion or comparatory suffering?
  • Respect or denigration?
  • Lessons or excuses?
  • Risk-taking or fear-mongering?
  • Listening or distracting?
  • Lifting up or humblebragging?
  • Building or talking?
  • Us or me?

Community building requires considered, conscious, and collaborative effort. Sustaining community requires the same. It can be daunting, frustrating, and empowering.  A vibrant, communicative, and respectful community builds its strength and cohesion on solid core values. Each community needs to identify, discuss, commit to, and live according to its recognized values.

A functioning community, though, must go beyond listing and reciting core values. How does your community share and live its values? What about differences of opinion? Does the environment—the atmosphere—of the community allow people to speak what is on their minds? Can they share their vulnerabilities without fear of chastisement or marginalization?

Perhaps, at its core, we require community to satisfy a need to connect with other souls. The question, in my mind, moves beyond why we need community to how we go about building and sustaining it.


Video Recommendation of the Week:

This “teaser” video clip from Episode #40 on The Growth and Resilience Network® podcast channel gets to the heart of community: Relevant and respectful connections developing meaningful relationships. Listen to the Reverend Billy Hester and the congregational Lay Leader, Preston Hodges, Jr. (pictured below) speak about what happens in their church.  The full episode goes “live” on November 15, 2018. Check my website for the link. And, their story will also appear in my new book, Community as a Safe Place to Land.


For more about community building and sustainability, look for my new book, Community as a Safe Place to Land,
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in acceptance, accountability, action, amplifying, assumptions, authenticity, awareness, change management, Communication, Community, community development, confirmation bias, Critical Thinking, leadership | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#441) It Means Something to Somebody


It got me thinking about those missed moments
when we think something isn’t “worth it.”

I often post sunrise photos from my beach walk with Roxie (B.D.E.). Judging from the “likes” and comments, people enjoy “sharing” the morning scenery with me.

Some days I don’t record the scene because I cannot find the right cloud texture.  Other times, in my judgmental mind, I believe it isn’t worth taking a photo because it “looks like yesterday.”  Well, that is never true. I know it. But if I don’t focus and appreciate, I miss it.

Recently, I received a request.  “You wouldn’t happen to have one from the 20th . My grandson was born on that day.”

Well, the 20th happened to be one of those days I decided the shot “wasn’t worth it.” I had photos from before that day and one from the day after. It got me thinking about those missed moments when we think something isn’t “worth it.”

Like that smile you might decide not to give to—or receive from—a passerby. Or the hello or good morning to the person on the elevator. Or the tasteful compliment. Or the student who needs the teacher to stop by her desk before class starts just to say, “How you are doing today?”

As for the photo request, I did share the one from the day after the grandson’s birth. While not from the day of his birth, it did represent the first sunrise in his life. The first of many in his life.

Remember, while it may seem small to you, it means something to somebody.


Video Recommendation of the Week:

Small acts of kindness will lift people up. Instead of yelling, name calling, scapegoating, and pushing your way to the front of the line, perhaps a random act of kindness will make a difference in your part of the world.

If you enjoy this video check out the other uplifting videos on this website.


For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book, Community as a Safe Place to Land, due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.


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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in action, assumptions, awareness, Civility, Community, compassion, intentionality, kindness, Reflection | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

(#440) What Matters Now?


When you set your goals you said to yourself, “These matter to me.”
As you review where you have been and where you want to go, ask yourself, “What matters now?”  And then act on it.

While we set goals throughout the year, New Year’s Day tends to be a starting point for many people. Whether the goal involves getting in shape, finding a new calling, saving more money, or working for social justice, we search for a better/renewed version of ourselves.

In about 65 days or so, we will be saying goodbye to 2018 and facing the entrance of 2019 and all it holds. I’ve written in the past about the 52-Week Review. I do it the last week of the year.  It helps to remind me of the journey I have traveled. And it holds my feet to the fire. Have I been authentic to myself? What stories have I been telling myself—and what stories have I been living?

A recent post by Michael Dolan titled the “Bottom of the 9th reminds us not to wait until the New Year to seek what we want or what we said we wanted 10 months ago. He said,

There is one thing you can do right now that could make all the difference as you put the finishing touches on the final two-months of 2018 and boldly head off into the uncharted waters of 2019: In the deep silent privacy of your own soul, remind yourself what it is you really want. Remind yourself what truly matters. Remind yourself what your biggest most important dream is and refocus on the ultimate vision you foresee in your future. Then ask yourself, “What am I really committed to?”

Remind yourself what your biggest most important dream is and refocus.

I used to send my students an email titled “Now is My Time.” They received it with about three or four weeks left in the term. It challenged them to double down on their semester goals; not to give up; believe in themselves.  With a few semantic adjustments, I offer it here as the challenge we all might need to remember moving toward the end of the year.

You have arrived into the homestretch of the year. Now, you can see what you have accomplished to this point.  Congratulate yourself. Understand where you came up short. And get ready to cross the finish line. 

Keep your energy and passion flowing.  Repeat the following out loud: “Now is MY time!”  Say it again. “Now is MY time!”

Yes, you may have lots of responsibilities with family, children, work, and community. You must always take care of the non-negotiable priorities in your life.  And at times you might have felt like quitting.  Remember, 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?

Say—and mean it—and be it: “Now is MY time!”

When you set your goals you said to yourself, “These matter to me.”  As you review where you have been and where you want to go, ask yourself, “What matters now?”  And then act on it.


Video Recommendation of the Week:

Sometimes, we hinder ourselves by not paying attention to, or understanding the importance of, boundaries and limits. As you review your goal progress, do you need to reset yours? Maybe this 60-second video will jumpstart that process for you.


For more about community building and sustainability,
look for my new book, Community as a Safe Place to Land,
due out the beginning of 2019. More information to come.

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

For information about and to order my most recent book, Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here. A few colleges and one state-wide agency have adopted it for training and coaching purposes. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same.

The paperback price on Amazon is now $14.99 and the Kindle version stands at $5.99. Consider it for a faculty orientation or a mentoring program. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

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) 2018. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

Posted in accountability, action, Appreciation, awareness, Being REMARKABLE, confidence, consideration, core values, Discipline, Dreams, Failure, Integrity, Making a Difference, Mindfulness, Personal growth, Personal Wellbeing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments