(#367) Understand Your Goal Motivation

June 4, 2017

Create a space for transparency, authenticity, and accountability for yourself.

During the life of this blog, we have examined often the power and purpose of goals.  In addition to the “what” we have looked at the “how,” “when” and “why.”

Last week, when I facilitated an Austin, Texas workshop, I encouraged the audience to consider The Six Ps when it comes to why they want to speak or publish.  The same steps easily apply to other professional or personal goals.  Consider how each of the following may act as goal motivators.

  • Publish, Present, or Perish.
    • In the world of higher education, publishing may be a requirement for contract renewal. In your case, your motivation may be to lose weight or suffer a heart attack; save money or never enjoy a comfortable retirement; or find affordable healthcare or face the prospects of life without basic coverage. Does your goal have a distinctive and critical sense of urgency?
  • Promotion.
    • Perhaps a professional goal will help you advance to another level of development within your calling. Maybe you need to promote a community resource for a specific service area. Or maybe you finally decided that you need to promote a non-digital, distraction-free hour every night for your family to re-connect. When you reach your goal (or while you journey to your goal), what core value(s) does the goal advance?
  • Passion.
    • It might prove beneficial to do a “passion check” for your goal. What compelling emotion or desire moves you in this direction? Is it your goal or someone else’s dream for you?
  • Personal Connection.
    • A young woman in a recent workshop shared with the group that she wanted to write a book about breast cancer. She believes she has a decided vantage point as someone who has experienced, survived, and grown because of the cancer that touched her life. Her passion and a personal connection are twin motivators pushing her forward.  Can you clearly articulate how your personal and professional goal personally resonates for you?
  • Profit.
    • Maybe the pay range for the new job listing caught your attention. Or perhaps the pitch at a seminar on how to flip houses sounded promising. Pause and ask, “Is money the motivating factor here? Will it be enough to keep me moving forward? And will the goal of profit connect with my core values?”
  • Prestige.
    • Some people want to publish a book just so they can see their name on the cover. The ego boost becomes the drive. Do you find that your goal direction connects directly to status, standing, and reputation?

The Six Ps can help you clarify the “why” of your goals.  One is neither better nor worse than others are.  Each item can create a space for transparency, authenticity, and accountability for yourself.


Video recommendation for the week.

Consider the message of this TED Talk about understanding why we do what we do and the impact that has on our authenticity.


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

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

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) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#347) Clues At The Tip Of My Nose

January 15, 2017

The little child had returned to remind and reassure me
to believe in my abilities and myself.

A few months ago, I sat on a balcony three stories above the Gulf of Mexico in Key Largo, Florida.  The pre-sunrise morning had a calming stillness about it.  As I sat alone, I listened to a guided meditation.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

One of the suggestions during the practice asked me to imagine looking in the window of my childhood home and describe the scene.  How old was I? What was I doing? How did I look? And, how did I feel looking at “little Steve”? On the other side of the window, I saw my younger self, sitting there.

On that balcony, with my eyes closed, I saw this unfold in my mind’s eye, at the tip of my nose. I distinctly remember experiencing a flood of emotions. Some happy. Some not so joyful. At one point of the meditation, young Steve, turned toward the window and looked at his older self, staring at him from the outside. As I looked into his eyes, little Steve looked hopeful, fearful, joyful, and tearful.  He appeared to need reassuring.  What would it be like on the other side of that window his eyes seemed to ask?

A few days ago, during my morning meditation, a host of random thoughts attempted to crowd into my bid for peace in the gap. All at once, I experienced a blur—kind of a fast-motion video—at the tip of my nose. As I focused, the image slowed down. I saw faces of smiling innocent little children pass by. Finally, there was little Steve again. Looking me straight in the eye. Why was he back? Had he ever left?

I searched for a message—what was the little person looking for?

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

At the time, I had been grappling with a few major decisions and challenges. More so than normal (for me), I had been feeling a bit anxious about the next steps. When I thought about my younger self, I remembered all of the times little Steve felt anxious about the future—sometimes, just about the next day. Back then, I found a way forward. At times with help from those near me and, at other times, by my own grit. (Though, at the time, I had no idea what “grit” or “resilience” meant.)

So, maybe, the little child I saw at the tip of my nose that morning had returned to remind and reassure me to believe in my abilities and myself. In his child-like way, he knew I was the one needing reassurance.  He had my back and he reminded me of all I learned years earlier about courage, fortitude, and appreciation for myself.

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe,
deserve your love and affection.
– Buddha –


Video recommendation for the week:

Enjoy this video reminder of what children can teach us…if we only pay attention.  While I cannot speak about the book promoted in the video (I have not read it), the video packs a lot into a brief few minutes.  Enjoy.


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

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (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) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#346) Video Outtakes: Finding Humor And Moving Forward

January 8, 2017

Enjoy three-minutes-and-fifty-one-seconds of my miscues.
And consider how each miscue you make can strengthen you and maybe help someone else. Don’t be ruled by fear of failure.

President Theodore Roosevelt had a way with words. Growing up as a spindly and sickly child, “Teddy” would become an adult exuding energy, purpose, confidence, and resilience. Whatever your view of his politics, his fortitude stands out.

Nearly three decades ago, as I was navigating a major life transition, I gravitated to one of his quotes:

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”

The quote reminded me of the importance of not allowing the fear of failure to rule my decisions.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

This week’s blog does not purport to be as heady or profound as our former Rough Ridding president. Nor am I discounting the disconcerting reality of life traumas.

But at times, a bit of humor can remind us to lighten up. Especially when we stumble.  Such was the case recently as I recorded forty-two videos to accompany my newly released book Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island.

My wife, bless her soul, served as the videographer.  We actually shot each video twice. Once as a “draft” to see how they looked. The second time was the final shoot.  So, in reality, we shot eighty-four videos over a four-month period.  (Did I mention how much I love my wife’s patience?)

And each video had a number of “do-overs” due to errors on my part, environment interference, or technical glitches.  I decided to gather up some of those clips and put them into one video of outtakes.  More than three minutes of my mistakes and frustration. And each time I watch it, I howl with delight.  I have to admit, there were times during the video sessions that I felt like giving up. For a variety of reasons, I’m glad I didn’t.

Again, Teddy Roosevelt said, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.”

Or as Anthony Burgess is reported to have said, “Laugh and world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.”

So, enjoy three-minutes-and-fifty-one-seconds of my miscues. And consider how each miscue you make and encounter can strengthen you and maybe help someone else.


Video recommendation for the week:

So, you think it’s easy to make videos?


Make it an inspiring week, a wonderful holiday season, and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (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) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#339) Learning From The Low Vibrations

November 20, 2016

At times, we find ourselves caught up in the low-vibrations of negativity and defeatism.
Draw on the strength within, around, and above.

Nine words. As I read my editor’s comments and reread my entire manuscript, nine of my words jumped from the page.

This particular part of my soon-to-be-released book about teaching, learning, and resilience, encourages readers to reflect on their personal and/or professional journey and think of:

  1. The challenges (and maybe even hardships) they have encountered, experienced, and endured.
  2. Their mistakes, miscues, and meanderings.
  3. Their accomplishments, achievements, and attainments.
Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Regardless of your particular calling, take a moment today and do the same for yourself. Your journey holds power.  At times, we find ourselves caught up in the low-vibrations of negativity and defeatism. Some of that comes from those around us; some originates within ourselves. We make mistakes, lose direction, and maybe, worse yet, abandon hope for our dreams.  We doubt our movement forward.

A friend of mine shared her insight about those low vibrations: they can cause a lot of unwanted and non-productive noise in our lives. If we let them. The first step out of that noise is to do what my friend did—become aware of the noise and its source.  Then, do something to eliminate (or, at least muffle) the noise.

Milton Berle reportedly said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.”  Well, in your case, if the path ahead is not clear, maybe it’s time to create the path.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

As you consider your week ahead and your movement forward on your continuous (and eventful) journey, ask yourself what you can learn from all of those moments you have encountered, experienced, and endured. You may feel like you have accumulated more mistakes, miscues, and meanderings than you would like to remember. All encounters (the low vibrations included), however, have helped make you who you are. And have contributed to your accomplishments, achievements, and attainments.

All of us have so much within ourselves to move to our next level. Whatever and wherever that may be. Draw on the strength within, around, and above.


Video/song recommendation for the week:

Josh Groban and “You Raise Me Up.”


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

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#311) Grade Inflation: Have We Arrived In Lake Wobegon?

May 8, 2016

Grade inflation/distortion has consequences for
self-efficacy, self-awareness, and self-competence.

For most colleges and universities around the nation, graduation time has arrived. Professors have evaluated the final exams, grades have been submitted, and students anxiously await their grades. Or, more to the point of this post, they await their expected “A.”

Grade inflation

The condition that, if you stop and think, moves toward making everyone average.  If “A” is supposed to represent “Superior” or “Stand Out” but the majority of students are getting As, doesn’t that mean that the “A” has become more average than a rank of superiority? After all, if 40%, 50% or more of the students have inflated grades, how do the truly exceptional stand out and how do employers identify the great ones from the less-than great?

Maybe, we now live in the land where everyone is superior.  Doubtful.

Image: prakairoj@FreeDigitalPhotos

Image: prakairoj@FreeDigitalPhotos

Does grade inflation actually exist?

One extensive study pinpoints two eras of high grade inflation: The Vietnam War Era and the Student as Consumer Era (1980s to present era). The grade of “A,” according to this research (and more) is the most common grade now at both four and two-year institutions. A few years ago a Harvard professor “stirred up controversy by criticizing rampant grade inflation at his institution.”

The obvious question: Why does this exist?

While each institution may differ, some of the reasons put forth for grade inflation include:

  • Inflated high school grades do not equip incoming college students with the experience of receiving grades other than an “A.”
  • The student as “customer” mentality where the customer is always right creates expectations that have to be fulfilled.
  • Higher tuition costs are a fact and, thus, parents clamor to get what they paid for (high grades).
  • Student evaluations of faculty—and the use of those evaluations for tenure, promotion or renewal of contract can intimidate faculty.
  • Students have become obsessed with receiving (not necessarily earning) nothing less than an “A” for their graduate school application.
  • Where there is a larger reliance (at community colleges, for instance) on adjunct instructors—their concern for job retention may influence grades.
  • A lack of consistent standards across a department or discipline can create a wild west of grade distribution.

Video recommendation of the week.

In this video, The Economist takes a look at forces associated with grade inflation.

Inflation or Distortion?

But does grade inflation actually exist?  If we follow an economic argument, it does not. In true economic inflation there is no cap on prices. They keep rising. But in what passes for grade inflation, there is, in fact, a cap. There is no grade higher than an “A.” So what we really have is grade distortion.

Time for Question-storming

Whatever we call it, it exists. But what or who causes it? Certain departments? Particular courses? The same instructors?

Interesting anecdotal observation: When the charge of grade inflation is leveled, it generally appears to be aimed at the previous classes or instructors. The finger tends to point to another colleague, another campus, or another school as the culprit.

Can grade inflation be attributed to “academic freedom”? That is, each instructor can establish the best way to gauge and rank progress for her students.

If a student got an “A” in a feeder course and is struggling in the next level, is that because of grade inflation or does the current instructor deserve some scrutiny as well?

If they do not already exist, would agreed-upon departmental objectives, standards, performance benchmarks, and/or assessments help eliminate or prevent or, at least, minimize grade inflation?

What is the connection, if any, between grades issued and faculty evaluations? If a relationship exists, can it be transparently proven? If a relationship exists, should it be discontinued?

What have been the consequences of grade inflation? Does it lead to a poorly-prepared and a deceptively-delivered product (diplomas or certifications) for the future employers?

And will students who have come to expect inflated (or distorted) grades come to expect the same on employee evaluations, salary raises, and promotions? After all, if I got top grades should I not get top dollar as well?

If we believe the research, we find ourselves where more and more students are average and it’s not a fictional town. It has consequences for self-efficacy, self-awareness, and self-competence.

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#298) Do You Have “Hell, Yeah” Goals?

February 7, 2016

When you establish new goals,  consider these four components.
Give your goals a second R.E.A.D.

During one of my recent podcast recordings, film producer Pepper Lindsey posed an intriguing question:  “What does success look like to you?” (This podcast will air on March 15, 2016. Click here for more information.) What a wonderfully thought-provoking query.  Consider it for yourself. Is success for you measured by money, fame, a certain title, ego, an opulent life style, a simple lifestyle, making a difference in your community, driving a larger car, or taking trips? Something else?

Derek Sivers, in his book Anything You Want: 40 Lessons for a New Kind of Entrepreneur, asks a similarly interesting question:  “How do you grade yourself?”

Does success to you only matter if other people notice? Does success only matter if (for instance) you have your name on a park or building? Or is it more connected to the programs you helped start in that park or building—programs that will live well beyond you and your name recognition?

sivers

Both of these questions tie directly to why we want to do what we want to do—our goals.

Goals can be powerful motivators. They provide direction, purpose and energy.  And, if we are not clear on the what and the why of our goals they can lead us in unhealthy directions. We may even beat ourselves up because we have not achieved a certain goal (“Life is passing me by”; “I’m not getting any younger!”).

How are we grading ourselves? How do we define success?

Have you had a remarkable career (read: you have made a difference for those around you) but because you have not reached the “next level” (however you define that) you do not consider it a success? What is important—the difference made or the title not achieved?

Do you take on projects and tasks that you’re truly juiced about or do you settle for anything with the hope it will bring you something.  Sivers proposes you only consider those goals to which you say “Hell, yeah!” Projects that give you energy and purpose

We all have different versions/definitions of what success looks like and how we grade ourselves. The point: Be aware of  and understand the assumptions you make when establishing your goals—and ask whether they meet your definition of success. Allow me to use a personal example.

I learned early on to carefully weigh whether I will take on a speaking or writing opportunity.  I use what I have come to call my R.E.A.D. principle. That is, for me to take on an engagement (a new goal), four components must be in place.

  • Relationship. I have to work with people I enjoy and respect. This requires validation by and for all parties and not manipulation by any party.
  • Excitement. I have to have enjoyment preparing for and doing the event. This is a major piece of the “Hell, yeah!” factor.
  • Authenticity. I have to be allowed to be my authentic true self. Don’t ask me to be something I am not. Yes, the event is about your needs and your people. However, if who I am does not fit that need, then we should not sign a contract. (Why would you even ask me?)
  • Difference. I want my participation to make a difference in the lives of the people in the audience. I don’t want to waste their time with exhortations and clichés.

You see, my goal is not to have an engagement. It goes beyond the numbers. My goal is to have the right engagement. If the potential gig does not have a proper R.E.A.D. for me, I will no longer agree to it.

When setting and re-evaluating your goals give them a second R.E.A.D. and determine if you can enthusiastically yell, “Hell, yeah!”

Video Recommendation for the Week:

While this video clip looks at entrepreneurial decisions, consider where and when you can apply this in your life. Yes, when you “work for someone else” you may feel you have fewer options to say “Hell, no!”

And then, that might provide reason for another conversation to have with yourself.

Make it a wonderfully successful week as you pursue your “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#278) Common Goal-Achieving Challenges

September 20, 2015

Treat yourself with respect on the way to your goals.

Just about one year ago, I wrote a blog post titled “Motivation: What Gets You Going—And Keeps You Going?”  and I encouraged the readers to identify a motivational best practice that had helped them in the past—and that could be applied to a current dream.

Today, I’d like you to examine your goal achieving challenges. That is, what seems to stop you on your way from here to there?  What kills your momentum?  Take a few moments and write your top two or three goal roadblocks.

My top three goal challenges are

  1. ________________________________________________________________________
  2. ________________________________________________________________________
  3. ________________________________________________________________________
Image: Stuart Miles@ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Stuart Miles@ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In an article for Mind Tools, Sarah Pavey outlined eight common goals-setting mistakes.  As I read her spot-on list, it was obvious (again) that goal setting, while commendable, needs to give way to goal achievement. Some of these mistakes can easily stop you before you even get started. Others can knock you off course during your journey.  Which of the following match up to your top three above?

You can sabotage yourself if your goals are:

  • Unrealistic. Is the goal realistic with your current skill set?
  • Unrealistic (part 2). Can the goal realistically be achieved within the timeframe you have stipulated?
  • Unbalanced. Do your goals give attention to just one or two areas of your multi-dimensional life (say, just work or social while ignoring physical, emotional and spiritual elements)?
  • Derailed by failure. Does a roadblock or two (or more) put you in a tailspin and move you from an achiever to a quitter?
  • Not Yours. Do you have passion for the goals you pursue—or do your goals “belong” to someone else who is telling you what you “should” do with your life?
  • Lacking Evaluation. Do you gather consistent feedback about your progress—and do you evaluate the feedback and learn from it?
  • Negatively worded. Do you focus on what you should not do or what you should eliminate rather than more positively looking at what you should do or add to your life?
  • Too many. Do you overwhelm yourself with far too many goals in far too short of a time period in far too many areas of your life?

Once you identify your challenge or challenges it’s time to take action.  One strategy is to apply my S.O.A.R. ™ model.

Identify one of the above challenges that apply to you. What one step can you take immediately to minimize or eliminate your goal challenge? Then do the following:

  1. Write the SPECIFIC step you can take. Use clear and precise language.
  2. What resources (people, things, time, money, and/or places for instance) will you need to ORGANIZE so that you can make the step above a reality?
  3. When and how will you take your ACTION?
  4. What is the REASON behind this particular goal and step? Why do you want to go in this direction?

Once you complete that, repeat steps 1 through 4 for the next challenge…and the next…and the next…until you reach your goal—while, at the same time, treating yourself with respect.

Video recommendation of the week:

Don’t let anything steal your passion. Least of all, don’t short-circuit your great intentions. Stay true to yourself.

Make it a wonderful week—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

Check out my website  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


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