(#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.


(#333) Questioning Risk

October 9, 2016

It’s OK to go into uncharted and murky waters.
Diving in headfirst is optional.

When you think of the concept of “risk,” what comes to mind?  For some it may be bold and reckless venturing into the future. It could mean mortgaging the house, quitting a career, or some other such huge leap into a perilous adventure. You know, I’m all in or standing on the sidelines; no half-way; dive in the deep end; all or nothing.

In the October 2016 issue of Inc. Magazine, Jason Fried, distinguishes between “taking a risk—and putting yourself at risk.”

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

Fried suggests we examine the questions we ask ourselves when it comes to taking a risk. In his words: “Figure out where the bet falls on the risk spectrum, along with the consequences, if doesn’t work.”

As I write this week’s blog post, we are preparing here in Florida for yet another hurricane. We spent the day securing the house and packing for our evacuation in the morning from the island. We’ve monitored Hurricane Matthew as it makes its way through the Caribbean, Bahamas, and heads toward Florida’s east coast.

Should we stay? Should we go? Do we put ourselves at risk? I’ve heard some folks today say that they will just ride this storm out.  They will “risk” that the storm will not come ashore. All or nothing.

Coincidentally, Fried’s business strategy fits (at least metaphorically) our evacuation situation.  The questions about risk become more nuanced.  Rather than ask, simply, whether we should stay or go, other questions present themselves:

  • What are potential risks and benefits if we stay—to our dog, ourselves, and to our property (like cars)?
  • If we stay, can we do anything to stop the storm from damaging our property (beyond our already completed preparations)? For instance, if there is a storm surge that reaches the front door, what can we do at that point? Or a tree that falls through the roof.  Could we do anything about that? [I have added the photo below after completing the blog post. This is the house directly behind our house.]

    Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

    Photo (c) Steve Piscitelli

  • What if we decide too late to leave—and the authorities shut the bridges thereby halting any chance of evacuation?
  • What do we risk if we do evacuate? What do we lose by leaving our property for two days (or more)?
  • What happens if we decide to stay and the storm takes a turn putting us in the cross hairs of a direct hit with a five to ten foot storm surge? What are the consequences of that?
  • If we had children, would we ask different questions?

Whether you face a storm-related evacuation from your home, a business dilemma, an investment decision, a health concern, or a relationship conundrum, consider the spectrum. The situation (more-than-likely) will require more than either-or decision-making.

Believe in yourself.  It’s OK to go into uncharted and murky waters. Diving in headfirst is optional.


Recommended Video for the Week:

Rocky reminded us to believe in ourselves.


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/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.

 


(#328) Waiting For A Life Guard?

September 4, 2016

What have you been fearful of leaping into—but would really like to experience?
What are you curious about doing or exploring?

As I type this week’s blog post, Hurricane Hermine is about to make a Florida landfall.  Beaches and residents brace for the impact. In some areas, the beaches moved from red flag warnings to “closed.”  The lifeguards have left the beach.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

In spite of the warnings and the dangers, a few intrepid surfers will paddle out in search of the perfect wave. The danger and risk seem secondary to the thrill, challenge, and exhilaration of catching a storm-tossed set and riding them to shore.

While I’m not recommending anything quite that dangerous for you, I do see a metaphor worth tossing out for your consideration.

Think of a time when you wanted to move into what may have seemed like dangerous waters. Perhaps you considered a career shift. Maybe you got real close to asking someone for a date. Did you want to stand up in a meeting and explain why you disagreed with a corporate initiative?

Whatever the situation you may have found yourself in, you so wanted to step out—but you didn’t dare wade into what you saw as rough and dangerous waters.  You did not risk. You played it safe and watched from the shore. Without a lifeguard in her chair for possible rescue, you decided to wait for calmer weather.

Next time you find yourself hoping to make (to you) a risky move, consider a strategy that the Heath brothers describe in their book Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work.

Consider an “ooch.”

To “ooch” is to take small steps. Kind of like dipping your toe into the water. Rather than dive into the unknown and dangerous waters, wade in slowly.  Be wary of the rip currents. Get your footing and test your assumptions.

I encouraged my students and, now, workshop participants to practice the Two-Minute Drill.  If a goal seems too lofty or too forbidding, break it down into the smallest steps possible. What can you do in just two-minutes that will get you closer to your goal?  That is a form of toe dipping.  It keeps you moving in the direction of your goal. It gets you off the sand and into the water. And since you remain close to shore, you may not feel the need for a lifeguard.  You feel a bit surer about wading forth.

What have you been fearful of leaping into—but would really like to experience?  What are you curious about doing or exploring? How can you “ooch” this week, test the waters, make adjustments, and take a calculated risk? What can you do in two minutes to test the waters?


Video recommendation of the week:

Remember hoping to get to a goal is wonderful fuel. But you will need to do more—even if in small safe steps.


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 podcast (about ex-offenders and resilience).  You can find my podcast series at The Growth and Resilience Network (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.

 


(#301) Authenticity: What Does It Look Like For You?

February 28, 2016

As you live your life
Please take my cue
To thine own self be true

In a TEDx talk, psychologist Maria Sirois states, “When we are authentic all of the parts get to exist.”

All of our parts get to exist.

Often, though, some of those parts might be denied. Regretfully denied.

In a previous post on this blog, I suggested we all take time to give our goals a second R.E.A.D. to make sure the goals we set really stand for and represent what we truly want to do and who we are in this life.  We would do well to make sure the goals allow for Relationships that matter; for Excitement in our lives; for our Authenticity to shine; and for us to make a Difference in our world.

If our goals pass the second R.E.A.D. we then have a better chance to live our own authentic lives not the scripts expected of us by others.

Arvind Balaraman@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The article “The 5 Biggest Regrets People Have Before They Die” makes the point that the common deathbed regrets did not include absent titles, unearned degrees, pretty looks or adulated celebrity. As I review the regret list below (according to work done by a hospice nurse), I thought about how things might have been different for these people if earlier in their lives they had given their paths a second R.E.A.D.

  1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
    *This speaks to Authenticity–living your life according to your healthy and ethical standards; not succumbing to group-think or doing what someone else considers to be the correct path for you to follow. Because it is good for him or her does not mean it is good for you.
  2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
    *Are you creating a life or a resume? If the resume takes precedence, then how Excited are you about it? When you look at the journey you travel, does it create a positive Difference in the world around you?
  3. “I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.”
    *Do you speak up? Or do you follow the expectations to go along and get along? When we are not Authentic to ourselves, we need to ask why. First that requires an awareness that something is amiss. Remember, being authentic does not mean we have to be butt-holes about it. Yes, self-expression can be scary—and it can be liberating.  It will create consequences.
  4. “I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.”
    *Genuine and healthy Relationships can help keep us grounded. They can help us stay in touch with our authentic selves.
  5. “I wish that I had let myself be happier.”
    *Do we stay on the proverbial treadmill out of expectation or because we want to? Do our goals bring Excitement to our lives?

There are stories we tell ourselves and there are stories we live. What is the gap between the two? Do your stories represent you as your authentic self?  Do they allow your whole being to be authentic? What adjustments or tweaks need to be made to continue to live your already authentic life or to live a more authentic life? What incremental steps can you take today?

The bridge in one of my songs (“Love My Life”) from my second CD (Find Your Happy Place!) simple sings

As you live your life
Please take my cue
To thine own self be true

Video recommendation of the week:  Dr. Maria Sirois speaks about the authentic self in this TEDx Talk.

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.

 


(#293) Community Resilience

January 3, 2016

Maybe we can approach resilience as a condition of
not only being adaptable to a disaster but also living
and sustaining a healthy life that avoids (or, at least, prepares for) disaster before it happens.

Thinking out loud about resilience….

Does resilience necessitate a response to disaster? That is, does resilience only exist in conjunction with a disaster?

A good deal of the reading I’ve done on resilience focuses on “adapting to or bouncing back from adversity and disaster.”  There are some veiled references to protection or sustainability—but again, my (limited) reading finds those concepts couched in terms of adversity.

For instance, the American Psychological Association sees “resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress— such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”

The RAND Corporation approaches community resilience as “a measure of the sustained ability of a community to utilize available resources to respond to, withstand, and recover from adverse situations.”

Again, that description goes back to adversity.

Video recommendation for the week:

This short video follows along those lines as it introduces a “volunteer network that aims to coordinate and deliver a local response to emergencies.”

Licensed Mental Health Counselor Eileen Crawford told me recently, “In counseling, we look at [resilience] with a deeper context: not only bouncing back from disaster, but finding meaning in the experience and growing as a result of it. In personal terms, one becomes a changed human being as a result of going through an experience; whether that change is for better or worse is where resilience comes into play.”

OK, I do understand that.  Can we, as well, look at resilience from a slightly different perspective, I wonder? Maybe we can approach resilience as a condition of not only being adaptable to a disaster but also living and sustaining a healthy life that avoids (or at least, prepares for) disaster before it happens. In the RAND wording above I read three key concepts that, I believe, go beyond just coping with and bouncing back from adversity and stress after the fact: Preparedness, Protection and Development (my wording not theirs).

As a metaphor, consider those of us who go to the gym on a regular basis, eat healthy meals, and get appropriate sleep. From our physical standpoint we build tools of resilience—and maintain those tools with regular adherence to a healthy lifestyle. We don’t go to the gym (necessarily) to adapt to physical or emotional adversity—we go to the gym to build, maintain and sustain our healthy bodies.  We nurture sustainability within ourselves. We understand the importance of self-efficacy: Our effort does matter.

Crawford, the mental health counselor, shared that perhaps what I am grappling with is intentionality.  Or, as she phrased it, “growth through intentional living.”

That makes sense.  Can we intentionally build a sense of and a practice of resilience prior to adversity? Maybe I’m parsing words but I’m thinking it’s a worthy goal for individuals and communities alike. I’m not arguing for one (response after disaster) or the other (preparation prior to disaster).  I am proposing we examine both in our quest for resilience.

Is a community’s resilience only measured by rebounding from disaster or can it, too, be viewed as the manner in which a community organizes its social capital, manages resources and risk, and provides access to public goods to avoid (or lesson the effects of) disasters before they happen. That does take intentionality. And that’s where transformational leaders (like Doc Hendley of Wine to Water) become critical. And from what I am hearing, seeing, and reading, the effective communities do those things at one level or another.

Consider one company’s perspective to “manage and leverage change” buy understanding what is coming and preparing for that:

RAND speaks of eight “Levers of Resilience” for a community: Wellness, Access, Education, Engagement, Self-Sufficiency, Partnership, Quality and Efficiency.  I would like to think my seaside community of Atlantic Beach, Florida considers these levers as it prepares for a sustainable future by preparing and developing plans for resilience that will protect our families and lifestyles.

And think of your workplace community. How does it measure up to RAND’s eight levers? Do you work in a space that waits for disaster…or one that prepares, protects and develops its team members? How about the community in which you live?

Make it a wonderful week—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.

 


(#271) Comfort Zone

August 2, 2015

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
-Neale Donald Walsch-

Meet Roxie, a 14-week old rescue puppy, who arrived in our lives a few days ago. And like our previous companion, Buddy, she immediately began teaching us.

2015-07-30 14.17.36

As Roxie gets familiar with her new environment she continually retreats to two areas—two comfort zones.  Whether it’s her crate with chew toys or her comfy stuffed cushion by my desk, she feels solace in each area.  She ventures out to explore a room; tentatively looking this way and that. And then, returns to one of her comfort zones.  Outside she stakes claim to her new yard…and then back to the comfort zones to catch her breath.  With each venture outside the zone, she gains more confidence and a bounce in her step.

2015-08-01 09.11.49

She reminded me that we all have comfort zones. Those areas of refuge can provide shelter from life’s storms and give us pause to reflect on what we are doing and where we are going.  A comfort zone can help us gain awareness and begin to recognize and challenge assumptions as we make plans for future action.

Comfort zones, also, can stymie our growth. Consider what would happen to Roxie if she never left her crate or got off her comfy dog couch. She’d miss a whole world of adventure and growth opportunities.  She would never really stretch and strengthen her legs. She would never find her potential. Each time she steps out she increases her vulnerability and her chances for development and a fuller life. Roxie, like us, has to assess the risk of each move or non-move.

2015-08-01 09.47.36

Thanks to Roxie, two comfort zone lessons emerge.

  1. POSITIVE. Comfort zones provide shelter and opportunities to breathe. When the world has become too crazy to handle, we can retreat from the stresses that, at times, beat us down. They can rejuvenate us.
  2. NOT-SO-POSITIVE. A comfort zone, however, can become a crutch and excuse not to venture out, not to risk, and not to grow. As author Neale Donald Walsch has said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

Video recommendation for the week:

Carol Dweck makes a case for challenge over comfort.

As you approach the coming week consider your comfort zones. Be grateful you have these places where you can de-stress and catch your breath.  And consider what steps you can take to venture a bit further from their confines so you can embrace new adventures and growth opportunities.

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

Click to find my podcast series on 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.

 

 


(#269) Yes And

July 19, 2015

It is interesting that we can point to others
as being intransigent in their thinking while we pat ourselves on the back
as possessing true critical thinking skills.

Collective monologues and confirmation bias will derail any potential for a meaningful conversation. When we bring our rigid/inflexible preconceived ideas and/or a predilection to hear ourselves speak, we disrespect the person in front of us and doom any hope for collaboration.

This week I took part in an exercise that underscored the importance of civility and dialogue.

I am participating (as a student) in an eight week improv workshop. Within the first few minutes of the first night, I learned that the foundational cornerstone for effective improvisation can be captured by two words: “Yes, and….”  As our instructor explained, “Yes, and” will not only inspire my partner(s), it helps to move a scene forward.

Image: David Castillo Dominici @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: David Castillo Dominici @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Yes, but…” and “No!” are scene killers. It stops the action.  To prove the point, we played out three improv scenes.  As I participated in each, I thought how these scenes play out beyond improv in the “real world” of the workplace and in relationships. Think of the times you have been in a scene-killing or scene-advancing situation.

  • Scene #1 = “NO!” No matter what my partner said, my job was to kill the idea. Grind it into the ground with no hope of resurrection. I would then offer my suggestion—to which my partner put a quick stake through its heart. Result?  We got nowhere. We degraded one another’s ideas. We did not listen. Each of us only wanted our way. No progress.
    • Beyond improv. Ever been in a situation (work or personal life) where your ideas were met with pure negativity? When no one listened or heard the positives of what you presented? Can you remember times when you did the same to others?  Without a doubt, this IS a scene killer.  It denigrates without a positive alternative. The toxicity simply states, “I’ve stopped listening.”
  • Scene #2 = “Well, I don’t know….if we have to….” The good news in this scene: We did not kill each other’s ideas. The not-so good news: We had very little enthusiasm for what the other person said. If not outright negative, we tended to be sarcastic and condescending.  While the scene did not die, the best we can say is that it limped along to a merciful end. Minimal progress.
    • Beyond improv. Imagine a date in which every suggestion you offer (the restaurant, the movie, and the time) is meet with, at best, considered indifference. Yuck!  This thinly veiled negativity will place a wet blanket on any evening.  The same for the staff meeting.  You know the people (you can see them in your mind’s eye right now). If not downright negative, they never show any encouragement or enthusiastic support for any idea.
Image: xedos4/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: xedos4/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Scene #3 = “Yes, and…!” You could feel the energy noticeably increase in the workshop when we shifted into this scene. No matter what our partners presented, we responded with an enthusiastic “YES!” that was then followed by “AND” this is why your idea has merit! Even if the other person was not totally sold on the idea, she would acknowledge it, embrace it, and offer how it could lead to an even better situation.  Very positive—and the scene kept building.  While we didn’t really know where the scene would go, we did know we would arrive together!
    • Beyond improv. True collaboration allows for brainstorming and question-storming. It is not code for blindly accepting every idea tossed before you. On the contrary, it acknowledges the other person—and then offers a “what if we also did….?” or “and that could allow us to ….” It is not a scene killer. It moves the scene to the next level. Respectful, civil, and considered.

Yes, this strategy can be very difficult in a situation in which you have a deep objection.  It is interesting, though, that we can point to others as being intransigent in their thinking while we pat ourselves on the back as possessing true critical thinking skills. As we move into the very long presidential campaign season, listen to the “debates.” (Does anyone really think any of these so-called debates are little more than collective monologues?)  Listen to your colleagues, partner and yourself this coming week.

Video Recommendation for the Week:

Just think how much we might get accomplished if we focused on “Yes, and….!”

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

I am venturing into the realm of podcasting.  Check out my first episode at “Powerful (Mindful) Preparation. Powerful Presentation.” Information on future podcasts can be found on my podcast page.

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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