(#364) Your Legacy

May 14, 2017

Whatever you build, destroy, hand down, create, or undo will be your legacy.

Legacy: Something handed down from one generation to the next; from one person or group to another. Whether for good or ill someone or some entity passed something along. It can include a memory, an accomplishment, a deed, a message, a financial donation, or a physical resource.

A sports team, for instance, that wins a championship creates a legacy. No matter what follows, the team will always have the title of champion for that particular year.  I find it odd when I hear people say something like, “The Chicago Cubs will defend their championship this year.”

One defends something he or she may lose. The Cubs can NEVER lose the 2016 championship they won.  They may not repeat as champs, but they will always be 2016 World Series champions. No one can remove that distinction.

Every so often, I hear a report that so-and-so’s legacy will be eliminated.  I am not sure how that can happen.  The handoff occurred.  You cannot “unhand” it down.  If someone changes or eliminates a program or service, that becomes the legacy of the eliminator.  The person who created it will ALWAYS have the legacy of the creation.  Someone else can amend or end it but the previous act stands as part of history.

What you do today, tomorrow, or in ten years becomes part of your legacy. One experience, one dot, one moment, and one day at a time. You (and with whomever you collaborate) create a legacy. You can add texture and color to it. You cannot un-create it.

Whatever you build, destroy, hand down, create, or undo will be your legacy. What will your legacy be?


Video recommendation for the week.

Building and meaning of legacies. Check this view.


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.


(#362) Small Acts of Gratitude

April 30, 2017

“Silent gratitude is not much use to anyone.”
– Gertrude Stein –

Saying “thank you.” Giving a cheerful “good morning!” Expressing appreciation. Providing a hug, emotionally if not physically.  Each of these requires a tiny investment of energy.  The result compounds in ways we may not anticipate.

I have been spending time lately listening to my podcast episodes and reacquainting myself with the wonderful insights of my guests.  After I re-listen to an episode, I take a few minutes to send an email thanking the guest for his/her contributions to the community.  Literally, the email takes about 180 seconds to create and “send.”

The goal is simple: recognition and validation of a person. A small act.

Almost to a person, their responses (which I was not expecting) said something along the lines of “you don’t know how much your email means to me.”  One individual was having a particularly rough week (which I had no way of knowing).  The email told me, “Thanks for the email…appreciate the little things in life!”

Five years ago, I dedicated myself to a year a gratitude. You can read about here.  I committed myself to a simple daily discipline—and it continues to give back to others.  (I still have people, to whom I sent a gratitude note, share that they have kept and cherish my handwritten note.)

Think of the small acts of kindness done for you—and that you do for others.  It does not take much effort to say thank you or recognize a job-well-done.

Thank you for reading and sharing my blog. Thank you for the gratitude you share with your community.

Thank you.

P.S.  A few hours after I wrote this blog post, I received an unexpected “Thank You Note” from a friend. She simply wanted to thank me for being in her life.  A card that I will tuck away in my gratitude file.

Nice.

Thank you!


Video recommendation for the week.

I have shared this video before.  It never gets old because it helps us connect with one another on a personal, meaningful, and authentic level.


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.


(#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.

 

 


(#249) A Life Well-Lived

March 1, 2015

Yesterday, our Buddy arrived at the end of his nearly 15-year journey
and crossed over the rainbow bridge. To say there is a hole in our hearts at the moment is a gross understatement. But,  we have to remember that Buddy touched us as he did so many others he met on his journey.  He leaves lessons and a life well-lived.

Years ago I read Tuesdays with Morrie the story of a dying professor and one of his past students.  The reader is taken on the emotional journey of Morrie’s slow demise. There were moments of humor, tears, and life lessons. The author, Mitch Albom, weaves a tapestry of life with meaning.

In one scene, Albom asked Morrie how he envisioned his final day of life here on earth.  While I don’t recall the exact details, I remember that it was simple.  A walk in the park, time with friends, hugs with family.  And then it would be time.  A life well-lived.

Yesterday, our Buddy arrived at the end of his nearly 15-year journey and crossed the rainbow bridge. As often happens with “old age,” Buddy had physically and cognitively slowed down considerably. He could no longer enjoy (or make) his way to the beach. In the last two months it was becoming increasingly evident that he was not going to recover from his many maladies.  But his spirit kept him (and us) going.

Buddy

(Buddy in his younger days.)

Heck, on this past Christmas Day he showed his good nature and neighborliness by dressing up as Santa’s “Rein-dog” to help deliver holiday cheer to our neighbors.

Buddy 001

A few years ago on this blog I wrote about lessons that Buddy taught us. The short list:

  1. Treat each experience as the first.
  2. Explore often.
  3. Be curious.
  4. Smile, greet, repeat.
  5. Don’t miss a meal—or a snack.
  6. Bark as needed.
Image: kangshutters @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: kangshutters @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Pull at the leash.
  2. Nap as needed.
  3. Enjoy a massage.
  4. Unconditionally love.
  5. Hold no grudges.
  6. Licks of love.

In his last couple of days, Buddy got to meet and greet his four-legged friends at his favorite renewal hangout (Pooches Playhouse) and spend peaceful time with his family. And we were able to recount and be thankful for the life lessons he taught us. To say there is a hole in our hearts at the moment is a gross understatement. But,  we have to remember that Buddy touched us as he did so many others he met on his journey.

Indeed, many lessons taught and a life well-lived.

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.

 


(#245) Courage

February 1, 2015

What we do in these situations
defines our characters and our destiny.

Courage.  How do you define it? How do you exhibit it in your daily life? Probably the best way I ever heard it defined did not see it as blind fearlessness but, rather, as movement toward a goal in spite of the fear.  Many times we see acts of courage on TV or written about in books.  Such situations, usually, show extraordinary moments in time in which someone acted in an extraordinary manner.

Courage. Most of us will never experience being on patrol in insurgent territory on foreign soil. Nor will we hold on to a dear friend as he dies in an Afghanistan firefight.  Lt. Colonel Michael Waltz did.  His story is told in Valor and his new book Warrior Diplomat. (Note: Lt. Colonel Waltz was a high school student of mine who has gone on to make a mark on our world as a Green Beret and advisor to the Vice President of the United States.  All net proceeds from his current book go to veterans’ charities.)

Steve with Lt. Col. Waltz

Steve with Lt. Col. Waltz

Courage. Can you imagine being 14 or 15 years of age and encountering a hostile mob just because you wanted an equal education?  The Little Rock Nine did.

Video recommendation for the week:

Courage. Samuel Adams, one of the fearless leaders for the American War for Independence said,

“If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.” 

And he went on to fight against immense odds for a cause he was willing to sacrifice his life for.

While most of will never be in situations like Waltz, the Little Rock Nine or Adams, we still have situations every day that allow us to step up and demonstrate courage. To ignore the fear and move forward.  Consider the following examples:

  • Stepping up for someone who is the victim of a bully (I recently heard a young girl singing a song about how she helped a school friend back down a bully).
  • Standing up to corporate bullies even when a job (your job) might be on the line.
  • Speaking up for a just cause when you are a lone voice in the wilderness.
  • Facing a debilitating illness.
  • Bouncing back from a setback—and continuing to move toward your goal.
  • Admitting that you made a mistake, accepting the consequences, and learning from your actions.
  • Asking for assistance—maybe even admitting failure. And again, learning, growing and moving forward.
  • Befriending the unpopular kid in class or co-worker in the office.
  • Pointing out that gossiping about someone who is not present is, in fact, cowardly. And you lead the way by walking away from the gossip.

We have so many opportunities each day.  We engage in little acts of courage that we may not even be aware of when we do them. What we do in these situations defines our characters and our destiny.

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.

 


(#244) Do You Have Your Own Board of Directors?

January 25, 2015

I remain focused on surrounding myself with knowledgeable
and skillful people 
who will have my back—and
kick me in the butt when needed. Who do you have on your Board?

Corporations have Boards of Directors.  Institutions of higher learning have Boards of Trustees. Non-profits have boards to advise them. These boards can provide oversight and guidance.  They may be made up of passionate people who are deeply committed to the mission of the operation they advise.  Some may be very active; and others mere window dressing acting as rubber stamps for the organization’s leaders.

Perhaps you already have a mentor or a coach. Do you have your own Board of Directors (B.O.D.)?  A group of people who can advise you on various aspects of your career—and your life?

Image: David Castillo Dominici @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: David Castillo Dominici @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Over the last few months I have been taking this notion of a B.O.D. seriously.  As I move into a new phase of my life and career, I am recruiting those who can offer guidance, direction, and pointed questions.  Below you will find a few of the “slots” I am filling.  As you can see, I’m having some fun with this—but remain focused on surrounding myself with knowledgeable and skillful people who will have my back—and kick me in the butt when needed.

Video recommendation for the week:

I’ve listed ten (10) Board members you might want to consider for your own B.O.D.

    1. CHAIR. This person is the choreographer of the Board. You need someone with vision and a depth of experience.
    2. COO: Chief Outside Officer. It is easy to become myopic if we only look at our industry/business/calling from within those boundaries. Get someone with a fresh pair of eyes who may not know much about what you do but who will be able to see opportunities or shortcomings you have long since overlooked.
    3. CQO: Chief Questioning Officer. Get someone who knows how to—and is not afraid to—ask the tough questions. Instead of brainstorming, this person will lead you in “question storming” on a regular basis. This person could double as your Chief Creative Thinker (CCT).
    4. CMO: Chief Marketing/Messaging Officer. How will you market your service, product, or cause? Find someone who has such experience. You need someone to help you get your message before the right people.
    5. CCO: Chief Content Officer. Marketing (see above) won’t help you if your product or service is crap.  Find someone who can help you with depth, research, and credibility.
  1. CEO: Chief Entertainment Officer. Who will help you keep things light?  Humor lightens the day…and keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously. Who will mix things up for you and your “people”? Don’t forget to have a little music in your day as well.
  2. CLO: Chief Logistics Officer. This person can help with daily tasks and travel arrangements. If you are immersed in the tiny details of day-to-day operations you may not have the time to work on what your true talent is. You may never be able to grow your talent into a true strength if you remain neck-deep in minutiae.
  3. CWO: Chief Wellness Officer. Maintain your balance and well-being. If you don’t already have an exercise and diet plan, this person can help jumpstart that part of your life. If you have one, your CWO will keep you on task.
  4. CFO: Chief Financial Officer. Like it or not, we all need a bean counter or two in our lives.  Not only for the day-to-day operations but for our long-term wealth building.
  5. CO-NOBS: Chief Officer of No B.S. Please do not surround yourself with YES people. You need folks who will constantly hold you accountable—and call B.S. when needed.

What other slots would you create for your B.O.D.?

Whomever you choose, make your board functional. It should move you forward in the service of your calling. It should help you develop your talent and skills.  It should help you keep your passion stoked!

Consider: And why stop with your business or professional side?  Consider a family B.O.D. as well.  You might not be the chair–but there are plenty of other positions for which you  have a talent.  Call an organizational meeting tonight!

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.

 


(#175) What Legacy Are You Creating?

September 29, 2013

Each of us creates a story –our story. Our thoughts become
our words which influence our actions. The sum of our actions creates
our destiny—our legacy.

The September 23, 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated carried a cover story on Mariano Rivera.  Rivera—known as Mo to baseball fans—is the unparalleled closer for the New York Yankee pitching staff.  After 23 years in professional baseball, Mo is retiring.

Mariano-Rivera-covers-Sports-Illustrated

As I read the article I kept thinking of one word: “legacy.”  His teammates and opposing players to a person had nothing but great things to say.  Beyond platitudes and catch phrases, the words had reverence and respect. This man has built a solid career on disciplined work, ethical behavior, and mentoring of young players.


Video recommendation for the week:

On the last night he pitched in Yankee Stadium, the love was palpable on the field and in the stands.  The fans knew they were in the presence of greatness.  Mo did not need to showboat, pound his chest, pull out his shirt or otherwise call attention to himself.  He simply did the best job each night for his team. He has created and will leave an enduring legacy of class and athleticism.


Years ago, when I taught high school psychology, I remember explaining the concept of “generativity”. Erik Erikson said it was the drive, in the later years of life, to leave something to the next generation.  In short, to make a difference; leave a positive mark.

Each of us creates a story –our story. The story is not created by one event, one day, or one year. Your story, my story—all of our stories—are the sum of the small yet consistent choices we make and do each day.  Our thoughts become our words which influence our actions. The sum of our actions creates our destiny—our legacy.

In many ways I feel so fortunate to be in a calling that allows me the opportunity to leave a mark each day in the classroom, on campus and around the nation. The sum of all those actions is still to be determined.

Thoughts, words, actions, destiny, and legacy.

What legacy are you creating?

Choose well. Live well. Be well—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. Make it a wonderful week!

Check out my upcoming webinars for October.  Click here to register now for the webinar.  Or go to my website for registration information.  My October titles: (1) Student Motivation: Practical Strategies that Will Increase Engagement, Learning and Retention; and (2) Priority Management: An Action Plan for Managing Work and Life (complementary webinar). Both of these webinars are part of the Innovative Educators’ webinar series.

(c) 2013. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


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