Choose well, my friend.
QUESTION: What do you think would give first-year college students the best advantage for success when they arrive on campus?
QUESTION: What do you believe would give new employees the best advantage their first day on the job?
ANSWER: The environments (school v. office) are clearly different. But both the students and new employees need to focus on the same choices for success. Five choices for success.
I had the opportunity to outline these principle choices for success this past week in Boston at the annual National Conference on Student Recruitment, Marketing, and Retention with my P.R.I.D.E. ™ Model.
Beyond content knowledge and basic skills, I have found when students and new faculty have faithfully practiced these choices, they found it easier to stay the course; to continue the journey; and enjoy growth and resilience.
Purpose. Understand why you are doing what you are doing. The “what” is important—but know the “why” behind the what to help motivate you and keep you moving even in those tough days (students: mid-semester blues; employees: lack of tangible progress in the job itself).
- Students. Your “whys” could include: Why am I in college? Why do I want to be a ______ [fill in your career interest]? If that is too broad, focus on the smaller picture. Why am in this particular class? Why am I here when I could be so many other places?
- Employees. Your “whys” may examine: Why did I take this job—beyond the financial reward? Why this particular job and company? Why do I get up and come to work each morning?
Resources. We all struggle in our chosen callings. The seasoned songwriter and author hits the wall and comes up dry from time-to-time. The prolific salesperson experiences a slump. The straight-A student runs into her toughest professor ever! The successful ones don’t roll over, complain and quit. They choose to look for resources that will help them move beyond the obstacle.
- Students. Tutors, writing labs, professor office visits, classmate study groups, extra time in the books and/or a talk with a mentor can help move beyond the challenge.
- Employees. A one-on-one with a colleague or mentor can help. Online research focused on your particular field could yield a breakthrough for you. Connecting and networking with a professional group can give you fresh perspective.
Integrity. It’s obvious (isn’t it?) that we should treat one another with integrity (trust, honesty, and respect). And it should be just as obvious that we need to treat ourselves with integrity. Years ago, Parker Palmer (Courage to Teach) reminded us that when, “The work we do lacks integrity for us, then we, the work, and the people we do it with will suffer.”
- Students. Einstein reportedly said that “Education is not the learning of facts. It’s rather the training of the mind to think.” Memorizing facts for your test might get you an “A”—but what’s the bigger issue here? You are more than your GPA. See PURPOSE above. Are you building a transcript or a life?
- Employees. You will be good at what you do if YOUR SELF is invested in what you do. The effective employees are more than technique. The great teachers I had the opportunity to observe and learn with were more than a bag of techniques and strategies. What they did connected with whom they were. Think of the people who have served you well professionally. More than likely they loved what they did because what they did feed them (with more than dollars to buy groceries).
Discipline. I have met a lot of people with ambition. I have worked with individuals who had potential. But I have found that without initiative, the first two will not amount to much. All three are needed: the desire (ambition), the ability (potential), and the drive (initiative). The sweet spot: the intersection of all three. This takes discipline.
- Students AND Employees. Don’t confuse the stories you tell yourself with the stories you are living. The stories you tell yourselves are those things you say are valuable on campus/in your company. The stories you are living can easily be found by looking at how you actually spend your time each day. How big is the gap between what you say you value and where you invest your time?
Equilibrium. Every one of us is multi-dimensional. We are not “just a student” or “just a teacher” or “just a [you fill in the blank].” While labels might differ, we essentially have six dimensions to our lives: social, occupational, spiritual, physical, intellectual, and emotional. We have to keep them in tune and balanced.
- Students AND Employees. Pay attention to your energy levels. Get your sleep (enough of it), exercise, and proper nutrition. Tony Schwartz says it best with the title of his book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working. You can find some ideas to consider here.
Choose well, my friend.
Video recommendation for the week:
This clip comes from a keynote I delivered at Northern Virginia Community College.
Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.
I am venturing into the realm of podcasting. Check out my first one “Powerful (Mindful) Preparation. Powerful Presentation.”
(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.