(Issue #591) Offering a Question or a Judgment?


We do not start the dialogue discounting the other person….

I’ve written before about the importance of authentic questions and the power of epistemic curiosity. They inextricably connect to one another and lead to sustained cognitive effort to learn and expand our worldview.

Perhaps you’ve heard of rhetorical questions. Such inquiries do not seek an answer or conversation. More than likely the questioner wants to make a point rather than begin a dialogue. Or the so-called (inauthentic) question has been tossed so that the speaker can judge the audience in front of her. Questions like:

  • You wouldn’t think of doing that, would you?
  • Did you eat inside the restaurant? I’m sure you didn’t because you know that isn’t wise currently!
  • You didn’t vote for that candidate, did you? I never would!
  • So why is that your college major? Do you really want to do that with your life?

You can add others that you have heard—and that you have asked of someone else.

The eloquence of well-thought out and authentic questions is that they can lead to conscious-raising conversations. One with give-and-take. One that may bring about a change in mindset. One that helps us grow.  Sure, we more than likely have an opinion entering the conversation. But we do not start the dialogue discounting the other person by offering a question that is really our staunch opinion that immediately throws the other person under the rhetorical bus.

You wouldn’t want to do that—would you?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

This video pokes a little fun at rhetorical questions. You may have seen a few on Geico commercials.

~~~~~

Make it a great 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in authenticity, Communication, listening | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Community Bright Spots! Skate Parks


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here.

Atlantic Beach (FL) and Jacksonville Beach (FL) each offer a space for the skate enthusiasts.

First, Atlantic Beach and its Oceanside Rotary Skate Park located in Jack Russell Park.

And a few shots from the South Beach Skate Park in Jacksonville Beach.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

My weekly blog can be found here.

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

(Issue #590) 115 Years Ago


Little did they know in 1924 that, in about the time it took them to finish high school,
they would enter sixteen years of sacrifice.

Among the memorabilia at thee Fernandina Beach Schoolhouse Inn is a photo of the a 1924 high school class. If these smiling faces were 18-year-old seniors at the time the shutterbug posed them, that puts their birth year in 1906.

115 years ago.

A year before they entered high school, World War I ended.

They were leaving high school during the Roaring 20s. The Wrigley Building was just completed in Chicago. The Washington Senators won the World Series. Two US Army planes flew around the world. (It only took them 175 days.) France held the first winter Olympics. It was a Leap Year. Our nation implemented the 1924 Immigration Act which established a quota system for immigrants based on national origins.

Framed photo hanging in the Schoolhouse Inn

Looking at the faces I thought of the dreams these students might have had moving into their post-high school life. What would the future hold for them and their families? What future would they create for themselves and their communities? What surprises, twists and turns awaited them? Were they hopeful or resigned? What would be their bright spots and not-so-bright spots to come? Would they recognize weak signals around them?

Just five years after that photo, our nation would begin the Great Depression which lasted twelve years. That was followed by World War II; another four years.

Little did they know in 1924 that, in about the time it took them to finish high school, they would enter sixteen years of sacrifice. Almost as long as they had been alive to that point of the photo.

I thought of my parents who lived during those sixteen years of sacrifice. I heard of the bread lines, ration stamps, neighbors not returning from war. My father dropped out of school in the 8th grade to help support his family. Not an uncommon story as I came to learn. Neighbors helped neighbors. The New Deal came into existence. Government programs proliferated to help citizens. Young people volunteered to fight for freedom. More than 116,000 would not return home to the USA.

Individual sacrifice for the family and community good.

115 years ago.

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

When we look back, do we regret not doing what we wanted to do? Do we put off life until tomorrow? In 1924, those students were looking forward to their tomorrows. Did they get there? Will we? Here is a reminder.

~~~~~

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

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

Community Bright Spots! Public Beach Accesses


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here.

I have posted a few of my (recent) favorite photos of beach sunrises. Always a peaceful and reflective time of the day to get in touch with one’s senses.

But to enjoy the sand, surf, sea breezes, and sun, one has to be able to access the beach.

I am fortunate to live in an area that provides access to the shoreline. (Now, parking at some accesses can be an issue.)

If you were to peddle your bike or jog from the northern end of Atlantic Beach, through Neptune Beach, and end up at the southern end of Jacksonville Beach, you will pass more than eighty (80) public beach accesses. Some offer a fair number of parking spaces others a few street-side spots. You will find benches, bike racks, trash cans, and showers. Some access points have sand paths through the dunes. Others have walkover structures. Click on the links above for specific information on the location of beach access points.

Public access to a wonder of nature. A true community bright spot!

Enjoy a few of the these access points below.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

The next expected bright spot: Public Skateboard Parks in the beach communities.

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

My weekly blog can be read here.

©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

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

Issue #589) Fill the Gap


When we reach out to fill a gap in our community (large or small) what we do is
see a need, acknowledge that need, and act to address that need.

Scrolling through my Instagram feed, I saw a re-post of the following message:

“My dad died when I was eight.
Every week a few of the dads on my hockey team would offer to tie my skates.
Not in a big showy way, in a quiet kind of way.
They filled the gap.
Find a way to fill the gap for someone.
It will make you both better.”
~attributed to Jonathan Torrens

Those poignant words reminded me of a few life lessons.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2021
  • There are gaps all around us. From neighbors needing a hand with home repair, to a child searching for a mentor, to a friend suffering through a family crisis, or, maybe, a family member with whom you need to reconnect. Before we fill the gap, we have to recognize it exists. Eyes wide open.
  • The quote above notes the gestures were made “not in a showy way [but] in a quiet kind way.”  Those dads stood out for their gentle connections. They did not have to bloviate and say. “Look at me and what I am doing!” No, they stood out by not standing out.
  • When a gap exists sometimes the best action is to address it head on. Like a suggestion I offered in a previous post on this blog: Rather than ruminate on “Why isn’t our community a better place?” we would be better served (and serve better) to ask, “What can we do to make our community a better place?” Yes we have to know the why–just don’t let it get in the way of the what that is needed in front of you. The child in the quote above needed the love of tied shoelaces more-so than a dialogue on why the shoelaces were not tied. Tie the shoelace and that may lead to deeper conversation addressing the nature of the gap.

When we reach out to fill a gap in our community (large or small) we see the need, acknowledge the need, and act to address the need. Why? Because in that moment we remember the gap that separates provides an opportunity to create bridges.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2021

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

One of my favorite podcast episodes came when I had the chance to sit down with centenarian Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne. Her life motto speaks to filling the gap by bridging connections: “Life is not about me, it’s about others.” Enjoy!

~~~~~

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

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

Community Bright Spots! Seawalk Pavilion


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here.

Perhaps you have been here. Maybe to enjoy a music festival. Or visit an art vendor. Or savor an offering from a food truck. Or enjoy the ocean breezes and sound of the waves as you jog, stretch, or bike. Or marvel at the holiday spectacle of lights and decorations.

Just a block off the ocean, Jacksonville Beach’s (Florida) Seawalk Pavilion and Latham Plaza provide a venue for a plethora of community activities. The photos below capture its charm early one quiet summer morning. At other times it generates energy and fosters connections. Like here and here and here.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

Next week’s expected bright spot: Public Beach Accesses.

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

My weekly blog can be read here.

©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Community | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Issue #588) A Different Kind of Principal’s Office


Got me thinking of the good-natured fun you could have
naming drinks in your workspace or community group.

Maybe even for a family get-together.

Last week, we visited the Schoolhouse Inn in Fernandina Beach, FL. Built in 1886, it housed the first school on Amelia Island. 131 years later (2017), the building was renovated into a cozy 17-room inn with quaint decorations, furnishings, and accoutrements. Cozy accommodations in the historic district.

When you walk in the front door, you will find “The Principal’s Office” off to the left. Unlike what I remember the principal’s office to offer, this one served up alcohol.  And it had a sense of humor.

The bartender told us there have been various incarnations of the drink menu, each adding a little twist of an educational term or practice. Like: Teachers Aide, Paperplane, Spring Break, Hall Pass, Burnout, and TGIF.

Of course, our imaginations began to kick in with new names for the menu. You know, like The Valedictorian or Schoolyard Crush or After-School Party or Teacher’s Pet or Merry-go-round or The Scholar or Time Out! Or ……

Got me thinking, also, of the good-natured fun you could have naming drinks (alcohol and non-alcohol) in your workspace, book club, or community group. Maybe even for a family get-together.

You know, like one named for those gosh awful meetings we have all been subjected to: The Sleep Inducer. Or The Goofy could conjure up the office jokesters. Top Dog could feature top-shelf servings.

So what names are popping into your Egg Noggin right now? (OK. Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

Quick video featuring drinking quotes, with a splash of humor!

~~~~~

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Community Bright Spots! Sunrise on the Beach


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here.

Roxie (my canine companion) make our way to the sand just about every morning to take part in one of the brightest bright spots of our community: The rising sun over the ocean.

On occasion I’ve heard someone remark, “Oh, the sunrise? They all look the same to me.”

Really?

I never tire of the peace, serenity, colors, texture, sounds, and scents. And each sunrise is different-even only for the promise the new day holds for each of us.

For this post, I have gone back and pulled a few 2021 sunrises that Roxie and I have enjoyed. Enjoy! Some of the brightest spots present themselves each day.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

My weekly blog can be read here.

Posted in Life lessons | 1 Comment

(Issue #587) Serendipity, Beshert, and The Red Thread


Does serendipity lead to destiny or create destiny?

In April of 2017, I delivered a keynote address in Caesar’s Palace on the Las Vegas Strip. My topic: Purposeful Collaboration in the Workplace. One of the examples I shared with the audience in that ballroom came from Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos. 

April 2017

Hsieh wrote that we need to “maximize collisions to accelerate serendipity.” That is, we need to put ourselves in the position to connect with as many pertinent resources as possible in order to increase chances for progress, growth, learning, and connections. Unthinking isolation can create separation.  

Zappos office complex. Old Las Vegas.

Laurie and I spent the next afternoon touring the architecture and history of Downtown Las Vegas. Also known as Old Las Vegas, this area is a few miles north of the famous Las Vegas strip.  We were fortunate to explore the area with Paco, the Art Curator for Zappos. I had been hoping for a chance encounter to shake hands and get a photo with the legendary founder of Zappos.  Chances were slim.  However, during the last five minutes of our more than two-hour walking tour, who did we bump into on the sidewalk? Tony Hsieh.

Tony Hsieh and me. April 2017. Serendipity.

Serendipity or destiny?

A few nights ago, I was introduced to two concepts that reminded me of that serendipitous meeting on a Las Vegas sidewalk: Beshert and The Red Thread.

Beshert is a Yiddish term that can be translated as fate, destiny, that something is meant to be. Like the inevitability of a relationship developing.

The Red Thread can be found in the Chinese and Japanese cultures. With slight variations, the read thread is what connects those who are destined to meet. The thread remains throughout life, pulling us toward a situation like a relationship that we felt destined to find. In tough times and in good, the thread connects.

When I heard the explanations of Beshert and The Red Thread I thought of Hsieh’s “collisions” for “serendipity.” If we remain walled off in an office, our home, or some self-imposed isolation, we limit our collisions. We minimize our chances to “bump” into someone or an idea.

Do we, as a consequence, tinker with our destiny?

Think of a serendipitous community connection that introduced you to a project you knew you were destined to lead. Or a blind date that led to a lifetime relationship.

Coincidence or destiny? Meant to be or up to your actions?

Does serendipity lead us to destiny or create destiny for us?

~~~~~

Video recommendation for the week:

A video explaining The Red Thread.

~~~~~

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found 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.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

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


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in beshert, destiny, fate, Relationship, serendipity | 4 Comments

Community Bright Spots! Beaches Town Center


NOTE: You can find more information about the mission of this page here.

Travel east on Atlantic Blvd and you will find Beaches Town Center where the ocean meets the road. Shops, restaurants, boutiques, and more wait for you to enjoy. During the day and into the evening it buzzes with energy from Atlantic Beach (FL) and Neptune Beach (FL) residents, visitors, and the good vibes of business owners.

At dawn, BTC also provides a breath of serenity. I took these photos at sunrise. At that hour you will find the streets with joggers, walkers, canines with their humans, and the quiet of a few coffee shops getting ready for the daily bustle. And you will hear the ocean waves. A serene backdrop to start your day.

I encourage you to go to the BTC site and see what it has to offer.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021

Expected post next week: Beachfront Sunrises.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

And if you’d like to hear about bright spots from the mouth of a dog, check out Roxie’s bi-weekly blog. WOOF!

Posted in Life lessons | 1 Comment