If we think we are the best we can be,
then we will never be the best we could have been.
On September 27, I have a wonderful opportunity to deliver a TEDx talk in Jacksonville, Florida. I get fifteen minutes to present an “idea worth sharing.”
During my time on the 10 x 10 carpet I will focus on the power of confronting and going beyond our limits. For any of us to accomplish this, we must focus on three things:
- Raising AWARENESS of what we are currently doing.
- Understanding ASSUMPTIONS of why we do what we do.
- Creating ACTIONS for movement to improvement.
For this week’s blog post, I want to drill down on the first step for any meaningful change to take place: Awareness of what we are doing. Do you really know what you are doing in any given space in your life? What strategies can help you become more aware of what you are doing?
Video recommendation for the week
First, understand that there is a difference between Reflecting IN Action and Reflecting ON Action. I know there have been too many times when I thought was reflecting on what I was doing but ended up getting distracted by the very doing I had hoped to evaluate. This can happen during a class activity. Or during a deep conversation. Or while I am working out in the gym. Consider the following ways to get reflection ON action—and thus raise your awareness.
- Use video. This can be particularly helpful in a professional setting. Either set up a camera on a tripod or get a colleague to do the “shooting.” With video cameras so readily available, this is quick, easy and effective. Later in the day, upload the video clip to your computer and watch your performance. I have also used this in the gym to take a look at my form. It’s funny how I think I am doing so well while I reflect IN action. I think my form is great while I am doing the exercises. It’s only when I give myself the opportunity after the fact to watch and reflect on what I actually did that I can then grow with the feedback.
- Work with a coach. This week I spent ninety minutes with a speaking coach. Paul critiqued my content and delivery for my TEDx talk. When I told friends and colleagues about the coaching session, they were a bit confused. “Why do you need a coach? You do this for a living.” Paul allowed me the luxury of getting another perspective—and he proved to be powerfully helpful. We can always use a coach. If we think we are the best we can be, then we will never be the best we could have been. I have another coaching session scheduled this week. (Thanks, Paul Hendrickson!)
- Talk with a close friend or mentor. A few days ago I spoke with a close friend and colleague who has been instrumental in my publishing success. She has never been too busy to offer her perspective on my writing and speaking. In fact, she has pushed me to tackle subjects I might never have broached on my own. Our recent conversation brought us to the topic of crafting stories to make a presentation point. While the strategy was not new, the context helped me see one of my upcoming university presentations in a new light. (Thanks, Amy Judd!)
- Journal or blog—and then re-read. Take time to write or type your thoughts. This blog has been helpful for me. I get to go back more than four years and see how my perspective has evolved. Another example of reflecting ON action.
- Meditate. I am a work in progress here. When I practice, meditation allows me to slow down for a few minutes, quiet the mind, and refresh my perspective. Awareness is heightened.
In his book, The Talent Code, Daniel Coyle issues the challenge “Stare at who you want to become.”
That requires awareness of what you are doing.
Here is your call-to-action for the coming week. Pick one area of your life where you would like to gain (or begin to gain) a clearer awareness of what you are really doing. Choose one of the strategies above (or another that fits your situation) and begin the work of reflecting on action. Let me know how it works.
What do you want to become?
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.
(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.