(#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.


(#342) Let’s Review

December 11, 2016

This week spend some time looking in your rear view mirror. 

In a few weeks, the calendar turns to 2017.  For some, it will be “good riddance” to 2016. Others will have fond memories and gratitude of the past twelve months.  And then there will be the innumerable New Year’s Resolutions that will be broken before January turns to February.

 Photo SteSt

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

If you follow this blog with any regularity, you have read my thoughts about the importance of goals. I have shared strategies and urged you to stretch yourself. Above all, I encourage you to believe in who you are and who you can become.  None of us has to be a finished project. Look to the future and all it holds.  Be a cheerleader for your future—and find others who will push and pull you along toward your dreams.

This week spend some time looking in your rear view mirror.  Do you know how you have spent this year? I mean, do you really know what you have done with your time on your way to your goals?

We have often heard that “experience is the best teacher.”  In reality, “evaluated experience” will be a better teacher.  We have to take time to reflect not on just what we have done, but also on why we have done what we have done.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Here is an illuminating practice I started doing five years ago. During the last week of December, I conduct a 52-week review of my life.

  • I print out the previous 52 weeks of my calendar.  All my personal appointments and my professional opportunities.  Everything. I color-code my calendar appointments during the year so that I can easily see categories and projects (like: writing, program development, program rehearsal, program delivery, house projects, community connections, meetings with friends, dates with my bride, and so on). If you want to save a tree, forego the printing and review your e-calendar from your phone, tablet, or laptop. Caution: If you do this e-review, shut off your incoming messages. You really want to have undivided attention on this process. You are worth it!
  • I typically go to a local beach coffee shop, find a quiet corner, and start my 52-week review. You can do this any place. I suggest a place where you can focus and have some “you time.”
  • I make notes about which activities got most of my attention, which ones did not get much time on the calendar, and what did not appear to make it into my life.

Every time I do this, I learn something about myself.  While I know in the broad terms how I use my time, this exercise helps with specifics.  One year, I “learned” (really, became more aware of) what was NOT there on the calendar.  Or at least, what was NOT there ENOUGH times.  I found that important things like lunch with friends was not as prevalent as I had thought.  And while my wife and I spend quite a bit of time together, I felt like we could have done more special things.

Photo c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

The exercise, in short, re-emphasizes the importance of balance and integration in life for me. It helps me clearly see where I have been on the journey for the past year. 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?

Before we can adequately plan, we need to have a firm understanding of where we have been.  We do not need to bog down in what ifs. Just an objective view of the journey so we can better prepare for the next part of the road.


Video recommendation for the week:

Sometimes goal setting can become a passive activity.  We list a number of goals and then we see what happens.  In this video, I suggest that rather than “wait for” we “work for” our goals. Start working for 2017 with your 52-week review of 2016.


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.


(#341) Drop And Leave

December 4, 2016

I have witnessed people play a disappointing game of
“drop and leave” with their goals and dreams.

Have you ever looked at your desk and wondered, “How in the world did it get in this condition?”  What with books, papers, empty cups, and last week’s mail, things tend to pile up.  Wait, what’s that over there? A half-eaten sandwich? From last week? Oh, my!  If not your desk, maybe you see your kitchen counter or the garage.

My mother gets the credit for instilling discipline early in my life.  She taught me that it would be easier to keep up—plug away—a little at a time rather than have to play an overwhelming game of catch up. You know, clean up your room each day and you will not be looking at a time-consuming unpleasant chore at the end of the week when you want to be outside playing with your friends.  Invest five minutes along the way and save an hour down the road. (Thanks, Mom!)

When we drop and leave now, we can end up with one hell of a mess that just compounds. We eventually have to return later and pick it all up.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli.

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli.

I ask that you consider applying the same discipline to your dreams.  Last week, this blog proposed when it comes to our goals and dreams what we accomplish rests with us. Don’t beat yourself up if you come up short. Understand why, and just keep making forward movement.

I have seen people, though, end up playing a disappointing game of “drop and leave” with their goals and dreams.

“Oh, I didn’t get to the gym this week—or last week, or the week before—but I’ll get there.” Or, “I know we need to meet with a financial adviser for our retirement plans. But, heck, we got lots of time.  We’ll get it done soon enough.”

Hmm.

Last week, I also suggested that you list a personal goal for each of my Five Fs (fitness, family, faith, finances, and function). Did you do it? Or did you say, “I’ll leave it be for now and get to it tomorrow.” Tomorrow becomes next week. Next week turns into next year. And so on.

Great intentions end up in overwhelming piles that we may never get to in a timely fashion, if at all.  Are you dropping and leaving until tomorrow?

Whether you call it procrastination, postponing, ignoring, or dropping and leaving, remember today is the tomorrow you created yesterday.

How does it look to you?


Video recommendation for the week:

This short video, while “old,” still packs a powerfully simple message.  What do you do or not do about getting your stuff done?


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.


(#302) Show Muscles

March 6, 2016

We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash
while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.

My trainer, Charles, recently introduced me to a new (for me) exercise in the gym.  The Multi-Hip Extension machine allows me to focus on important muscles that help support posture, lower back, stability, tone, and leg strength.  I now do 200 reps four or five times per week. I have noticed increased flexibility and improved strength.

Charles reminded me that these exercises do not work muscles that we normally see—or at the very least, they are not what he termed “show muscles.”

“Show muscles” typically get a lot of emphasis in the gym. Biceps and pectorals come to mind.  These are what others will see when a tank top is worn for emphasis and, well, show. Same for quads or well-defined calves. When developed they “show” well in shorts, skirts, or high heels. Nothing particularly wrong with that,

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic                                     @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Often,though, the “support muscles” do not get enough attention.  And if you ignore the “support muscles” long enough it will become difficult for the “show muscles” to continue to show off! As I understand the concept, a strong and well-developed bicep will do better (be healthier/stronger/toned so to speak) with attention paid to the opposing triceps. Pecs benefit from strong back muscle groups. Quads get help from healthy hamstrings.

And there are a host of smaller and deeper muscles that further help the “show muscles” prosper. I think of the rotator cuff muscles I have had repaired in both shoulders. These are critical to my movement and fitness even though I don’t necessarily see such muscles.

As I thought more and more about this label of “show muscles” I thought of applicability in so many other parts of our lives.  We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.  At some point, we have to pay the piper.  Consider a few examples:

1.  A few days ago, I washed my car and put the type of spray protection on the tires that make them shine. The vehicle looked great for an impending road trip. This was the “show muscle.” The next day, when I started the car I noticed a slight hesitation. It was, I thought, a warning of a weakening battery (the “support muscle”).  An hour later I had the results of a diagnostic test that showed the batter was OK—and while it could last 6 months, it may die in a few days.  I decided to beef up my “support muscle”—bought a new battery.  Better, I thought, for my car to look good and be moving on my trip than to look good and broken down on the side of the road.

2. How about the “show muscle” of expensive clothes, jewelry and other consumer items?  Is the “support muscle” of wealth building (the disciplined, unseen and sacrificial offerings made for savings and retirement) getting attention?

3. Houses can have “show muscles.” Great curb appeal. People ooh and ah as they drive by.   Unfortunately, the “support muscles” of regular maintenance—regular caulking, painting, and wood repair that might not be very sexy—may not get as much attention as the “show muscles.”  Who really notices that? No one does, until critters and moisture start undermining the structure and appearance (the “show muscles”) of the house.

4.  The person who sacrifices mightily to climb the promotional ladder at work may be going for the “show muscle”—the title, prestige, power and/or money.  In the meantime, what toll taken has been exacted on the “support muscles” of relationships and personal well-being? Is he or she even aware of the physical and emotional impact? As Charles, my trainer, reminded my listeners on a recent podcast, “How do you walk around in something you were born with and  not know anything about it or not be aware of what affects it?” 

Video recommendation of the week: This week’s spotlight turns to one of my podcast episodes about fitness and discipline.

 

6. Turn on your PC or open your tablet and all sorts of “show muscles” appear right there on the home screen.  We dig in and start using all of these great conveniences.  But what happens when we receive a notice to update our anti-virus program or install the latest OS? We tend to ignore these “support muscles” until a more convenient time or wait until the computer shuts down on its own.   (Yep, I’m guilty.)

7. My blog posts, podcasts, live events, and writing projects can fall into the category of “show muscle.”  Nothing wrong with being proud and continuing to make a difference in lives. That is great!   However, I need to pause and think of all the “support muscles” that allow me to show my stuff. A short list of “support muscle” gratitude looks like this:

· the computer tech who designed and put my computer together
· the IT people who help me at every live stage event
· the people who take the time to reach out and engage me to come to their campus or corporation
· the people in production who made my books look good (“show muscle”!) on the bookshelves
· the marketing and sales reps who sell my books
· my colleagues who inspire me
· my wife who inspires me more than all others, and
· my car that recently got me to Raleigh, N.C. for a speaking engagement this week…see #1 above.

And I can go on and on with the metaphor. You can think of even more.  Your Call-to-Action for this week is to give thanks for and be proud of those “show muscles.” Then make sure your “support muscles” get their due consideration. Those “support muscles,” after all, keep those “show muscles” strutting their stuff!

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.

 


(#253) Bridging the Gap: The Stories We Tell Ourselves and the Stories We Live

March 29, 2015

Stories we tell ourselves vs. stories we actually live.
What stories are you telling yourself?

For years I’ve been using a professional and personal growth exercises with my students and audiences.

  • Start with one piece of paper and a pen or pencil.
  • Draw a line down the center of the page.
  • At the top of the left column write the word “VALUE” and at the top of the right column write the word “TIME.”
  • In the VALUE column list the three things that are the most valuable/the biggest priorities in your life right now. (You could do this with 5, 10 or more items.)
  • In the TIME column list the three things that take most of your time each week—not counting sleep.
  • The final step ends up being the eye-opener as I pose this question: When you look at what you say you value and how/where you actually use your time, do you see any disconnections?

I think you see the point of the exercise.  All of us can talk about what is important but when it comes to walking our talk, do our actions match what we say?

Image: tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: tiverylucky/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The VALUE column represents our intentions; the stories we tell ourselves about what is important.

The TIME column indicates the stories we actually live.

Inspired by Tony Schwartz’s book The Way We Are Working Isn’t Working, I have added a third column to the exercise. (I rolled this out in a reflective practice session with my faculty colleagues this week.)

Video recommendation for the week:

Go back to the two-column page and do the following:

  • In the VALUE column, rate how important in your life each item is. Use the scale of 1 (not particularly important) to 10 (extremely important).
  • In the TIME column, rate how much of week is devoted to this stated value/intention. Again, use the scale of 1 (nearly no time) to 10 (a great deal of time).
  • Label the third column THE GAP.
  • Subtract the number you wrote in column 2 from the number you wrote in column 1. This is your gap between intention and reality.

The bigger the gap, the more work you need to do.  The “work” could be a re-evaluation of what you actually value (as opposed to what you say you value). Or it could be a re-commitment to your stated priorities by re-arranging the way you spend your time. (Personally, I’d rather invest my time than spend it.)

One final note.  About six or seven years ago I did this exercise with a group of students.  One young woman became quite perturbed with the exercise.  When I talked with her, she announced to the class, “I don’t like your activity!”

When pressed as to why, she said her job took most of her time each week—and she hated her job. “According to you,” she said, “I should value my job.”

I said, “Then why don’t you quit.”

She informed me that was not possible as she was a single mother and needed the money for necessities of life.

After careful thought I offered that it appeared the job was indeed very valuable to her.  The exercise did not ask what she liked—but what she valued.  She was telling herself one story while living another story.

What stories are you telling yourself?

Make it a great week. And H.T.R.B. as needed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) with friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment.

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).

Information on my book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

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

 


(#237) Core Values

December 7, 2014

What guides your personal and professional life?

This week’s blog post challenges us to examine what guides our actions.

For the past several years I have become a lot more intentional about my direction.  I have always been goal directed—but I have become aware that I can be a bit “fuzzy” on my journey. It really does not matter if I have admirable intentions.  Those intentions need to be clearly stated and clearly connected to who I am and what I desire to accomplish.

Image: StuartMiles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: StuartMiles/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am constantly seeking input and game film to help me with my movement toward improvement.  In the next few days I will be meeting with a trusted mentor and advisor to chart the coming year’s professional activities.

The first thing on our agenda: Core values.

I have always had these—but I have never committed them to paper.  As I started the process, I first started by listing my broad goals for the coming year.  It dawned on me, though, that the first step had to be for me to identify what I hold dear and important.  Without a clear awareness of that, how could I chart goals and direction for the future? The values provide the “whys” for my “whats” (goals).

We all need to be aware of what guides our actions?  Is it the chase for financial wealth and security?  Meaningful relationships? Intimacy? Health? Significance? Legacy?

What guides your personal and professional life?

Set aside some time this week to write your top ten core values.  There is something about seeing them in print that makes them very real. For me, the process quickly led to self-examination about how true I am to these. Where do I excel and where am I a major work in progress.

One last note.  I tussled with whether I should use (above) the singular “life” or plural “lives.”  While I believe there need to be clear boundaries and limits in our professional and personal lives, I also have come to understand that they are inextricably connected. One constantly affects the other. Do your core values reflect that connection?

Video recommendation of the week:

Consider the message from Tony Hsieh of Zappos in this video.

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

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).

Information on my newest book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


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