Community Bright Spots! Lifeguard Stations (Part 3)


NOTE: You can find more information about the purpose of this page here.

For three weeks I have highlighted one lifeguard station from each of our beach communities. I already have shared links and photos about The Jacksonville Beach (FL) Volunteer Life Saving Corps and The Neptune Beach (FL) Lifeguards.

This week: I recognize The Atlantic Beach ( Florida) Ocean Rescue .

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021

Next week: Atlantic Beach, FL parks.

Enjoy your week. And remember to stop and appreciate your Community Bright Spots!

Posted in Appreciation, beach life, Community, resilience | Leave a comment

(Issue #579) Awakening


As I read these seven habits I could see how they interrelated and supported each other.

In an article for Spirituality and Health, Victor M. Parachin outlines qualities of people who have awakened.  Drawing on teachings from the Buddha, Parachin states that when we have an awakening to what can be we recognize that our “lives do not have to be an endless cycle of disappointment, discouragement, depression, and despair.” To reach that inner contentment/bliss/joy we must embrace seven interrelated habits.

1. Inquiry

  • Rather than stumbling through life, Parachin suggests that awakened people ask probing questions of themselves that lead to a life direction of meaning. Authentic curiosity leads to a search for truth and compassion for ourselves and others. (See “Benefit” below.)

2. Gratitude

  • Gratitude,” Parachin says, “is a vital component of an enlightened life.” It requires inquiry (see above) as we seek to identify those people, things, and experiences for which we should not forget to give thanks.

3. Benefit

  • When we do things—small and huge—to make life easier for another, we help to make life better, more enjoyable, and pleasant for others. We contribute to their wellbeing and resilience.

4. Mindfulness

  • This goes beyond meditation (see below) and breathing exercises. The awakened ones pay attention to their surroundings as they move beyond false dichotomies toward a larger vista.

5. Meditation

  • Parachin quotes Deepak Chopra saying that meditation can help “turn chaos into orderliness.” We take time to breathe and look inside ourselves. Who am I? To do this we need to set aside reflective time. (See “Inquiry” above.)

6 Optimistic

  • The awakened have the ability to take most any situation and find the positive. They give gratitude (see above) when experiences (even traumatic) provide opportunities for growth. Like this person!

7. Silence

  • The awakened understand that times of silence are within their making. Beyond meditation (see above), they choose to turn off distraction, move away from disruption, and seek to “shrink the noises and sounds that surround them.” We search for and make space for a reprieve from the constant chatter.

As I read these seven habits I could see how they interrelated and supported each other. I have engaged in all of them at different times during my journey.  They teach me…and I acknowledge I still have growing and learning to do.

How about you?

Video recommendation for the Week:

As I read the seven habits above, I see an interconnection and I see the importance of inquiry. We have to remain curious.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about me at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Lifeguard Stations (Part 2)


NOTE: You can find more information about the purpose of this page here.

For three weeks I will highlight one lifeguard station from each of our beach communities. Last week, I shared information and photos about The Jacksonville Beach (FL) Volunteer Life Saving Corps.

This week: The City of Neptune Beach, Florida.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021

Next week: The City of Atlantic Beach, Florida lifeguard station.

Posted in Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #578) That Was The Longest Twenty Minutes Of My Life!


I know that when I put the audience first, I succeeded.

This past week, a community committee on which I serve asked me to share ideas about presentation skills. Specifically, strategies to help speakers connect with an audience. 

We’ve all been in meetings, workshops, and/or conferences that had potential but ended up falling short due to a poor presentation. The speaker may have been well-meaning, likeable, and armed with research but did not connect with the audience. It happens.  You walk out of the room saying, “That was the longest 20-minutes of my life!”

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Whether you are a seasoned presenter or getting ready for your first public appearance, I offer the following suggestions. Some, depending on the context for the talk, may not be appropriate. All are worth consideration. You probably can add additional strategies.

Start by remembering the Six Ps:

  1. Proper
  2. Preparation
  3. Prevents
  4. Pathetically
  5. Poor
  6. Presentations

A few specifics:

  • Every presentation is about the audience—not the presenter. (Check out this podcast.)
  • Your message has to resonate with the audience. See the above point.
  • Know your purpose for the presentation. See the above two points.
  • Tell an appropriate and relevant story to engage the audience.
  • For F2F presentations, move as appropriate. Avoid standing in one spot. If you can, get out from behind the podium. (When I delivered a college commencement address, I not only left the podium, but I also left the stage and walked to floor so I could be with the graduates. They were the audience. There was a brief few seconds when the microphone failed—but it came back!)
  • Your presentation needs a Beginning—Middle—End.
TEDx in Jacksonville, Florida. 2014.
  • Modulate your voice throughout the presentation. Create excitement with your voice, your message, and your medium.
  • Encourage audience participation as appropriate.
  • Avoid S.A.O.D.: Severe Acronym Overload Disorder. (Thanks to Don McMillian for this acronym about acronyms!).
  • Develop a handout for your audience. Maybe even give them “homework”—A Call-to-Action—to apply what you have presented.
  • If using PowerPoint or Keynote:
    1. The slides augment your presentation. They should not be your presentation. Consider them background to support the strong, riveting, and resonating message you are delivering. 
    2. Consider the 10-20-30 “principle” as a guide: 10 Slides for a 20-Minute presentation using nothing smaller than 30 Point Size Font.  If nothing else, it will remind you of the importance of brevity on the screen.
    3. Use images, photos, video and/or music when appropriate. Mix it up!
    4. Assume your audience can read. Don’t read the screen. (For visually impaired audience members, perhaps a program recording would be in order.)
    5. Do not talk to the screen. Make eye contact with the audience. See point above. (When using a virtual platform look directly into the camera as much as possible and appropriate.)
    6. Avoid (too much) slide animation. Don’t get the audience dizzy.
    7. Pay attention to color schemes and templates. Keep it simple and practical.
    8. Rehearse your timing prior to the presentation.
    9. Unless you’re pitching technology, remember that technology is the method not the outcome.

While I have always done my best to adhere to these (and more), there were times, unfortunately, when I failed my audience. When I forgot my mission or got too involved in the technology, medium, or ego, the end result was lacking.

When I put the audience first, I succeeded. Whether I was presenting to 10 people (workshop setting), 1,000 people (conference auditorium) or 8,000 people (college commencement) these pointers provided a touchstone for me. Hopefully they will be useful to others.

Prepare and deliver with enthusiasm and your audience just might walk away saying, “WOW! I want more of that!” 


Video recommendation for the Week:

Comic Don McMillian recorded this piece about PowerPoint presentations thirteen years ago. It still holds true—unfortunately.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Lifeguard Stations


NOTE: You can find more information about the purpose of this page here.

For three weeks I will highlight one lifeguard station from each of our beach communities. This week: The City of Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

According to its website, The Jacksonville Beach Volunteer Life Saving Corps has been operating since 1912.

All photos ©Steve Piscitelli. 2021

Next week: The City of Neptune Beach, Florida lifeguard station.

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

(Issue #577) The Legacy of a Legend


Recognizing the talent in yourself to help another find the talent within them.
What a way to celebrate and give back.

Four years ago, I had the opportunity to sit down with a legend when Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne gave me the opportunity to record a podcast about her lifetime of lessons, growth, resilience, and compassion. A follow-up blog post captured her mantra: “Life is not about me. It’s about others.”

She was in her 100th year when we talked that day. She made her transition from this life in 2020 at the age of 102.

If you want to capture the essence of Dr. Kinne’s legacy, visit “The Kinne Legacy Exhibition” on the Jacksonville University campus. It runs through July 16, 2021.  Every photo (including her cutting down the net after a basketball victory) captures her effervescent smile. A smile that magnified her life’s mission to help people find the good in themselves.

The longer version of the quote above captures a critical life value.

Life isn’t about me. I’m here to help people. If you can’t get to them, you can’t help them. It’s what keeps me going even today.*

And her optimism and determination shine through in such guiding principles as:

Please join me in justifying, each day, the space we take up on this planet, and in celebrating life, the greatest gift of all.*

There are two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.*

Photo by Steve Piscitelli ©2021.

Each of us can do something that nobody else can do. I think that it’s a gift. It’s a gift you’ve received. So, how much can you give back?*

Recognizing the talent in yourself to help another find the talent within them. What a way to celebrate and give back.

A legend who created a legacy of hope, determination, growth, and resilience.

(*From The Kinne Legacy Exhibition website and/or exhibit booklet.)

Video recommendation for the Week:

Three short clips with Dr. Kinne about parenting, friendships, and others.


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

Well, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Neighborhood Schools


NOTE: You can find more information about the purpose of this page here.

The public elementary schools pictured below have helped build a sense of community at our beaches. Note: Atlantic Beach Elementary (ABE) was built during the Great Depression (1939). I chose these three since they are named for their respective beach communities. Also adding to community character (but not pictured below): General Joseph Finegan Elementary School (name change to Anchor Academy in near future), Mayport Elementary School, San Pablo Elementary School, and Seabreeze Elementary School.

Atlantic Beach Elementary School

Neptune Beach Elementary School

Jacksonville Beach Elementary School

Posted in Community, Education, Life lessons, resilience | 1 Comment

Community Bright Spots! Outdoor Murals


Atlantic Beach, FL initiated a murals project in 2021. You can read about it here. A few of the pieces of the artwork appear on this page. All photos taken by Steve Piscitelli (The Growth and Resilience Network®).

More information about the purpose of this page found here.

Posted in Community, community development, Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #576) Imagine The Karma Of Nobody Told Me


Or maybe we chose—and choose—to imagine
that what we heard and saw would be a passing thing
with no immediate consequences.

A few months before his murder in 1980, John Lennon entered the studio to record “Nobody Told Me.” It would remain an incomplete project until Yoko Ono released the finalized version in 1983.

Well, everybody’s talking and no one says a word
Everybody’s making love and no one really cares
There’s Nazis in the bathroom just below the stairs
Always something happening and nothing going on…

Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed
Strange days indeed…

Got me thinking about the public discourse over the past few years. As the volume increased and more people felt an obligation to post every thought (critically analyzed or not) that crossed their minds, perhaps you heard something like, “I never saw that coming from her.” Or “Nobody would have thought he would act like that.”

Maybe as John pondered, everyone’s been talking and no one’s listening to the words.

Maybe we weren’t paying attention or chose not to confront what we heard and saw from friends, family, or colleagues. It would pass; that’s not really them.

Or was it?

“Still” you say, “nobody told me it would be like this. Never saw it coming.” After all, we wanted to…

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today…

…Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace…

…Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world…

Consider another classic in which Lennon addresses the concept of karma. While often thought of as something we gather for a later life by our actions in this life, the former Beatle said,

“Everybody was going on about karma, especially in the ’60s but it occurred to me that karma is instant, as well as it influences your past life or your future life. There really is a reaction to what you do now. That’s what people ought to be concerned about….”

What we have lived we will experience in this life. We need, Lennon believed, to come to terms with that because

…Instant karma’s gonna get you
Gonna knock you off your feet
Better recognize your brothers
Everyone you meet…

Why in the world are we here?
Surely not to live in pain and fear…

And maybe, nobody told us that. Or we chose to ignore it.

Or maybe we chose—and choose—to imagine that what we heard and saw would be a passing thing.

It doesn’t seem to be.

Video recommendation for the Week:

Official video of “Nobody Told Me.”


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book, Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit, can be found in eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click here.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019, print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.

Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in awareness, collective monolgues, Critical Thinking, Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #575) Eleven Years Ago


As you look at the titles and snippets below, has the past informed the present?
What have we learned and what do we still need to master—or at least face?

On May 31, 2010, I sat in an Austin hotel room and composed my first blog post. At the time I used the Blogger platform. (A few months later, I switched my content to WordPress.)

That first post examined “Social Media: Know When and How to Use It.” Eleven years later, some topics never seem to outlive their usefulness.

Eleven years later and nearly 100,000 views, it’s time for a look back at the topics from each anniversary year. Have issues changed? Have we learned lessons? Has the past informed the present? Let’s see:

May 29, 2011: Observations from the Airport.

  *No mention about face masks—but rules of civility were still in play.

May 27, 2012: Building a Community: The Power of Reflection

  *The title captures the essence. A community requires conversation, reflection, respect, listening, and sharing. Again, thoughts from almost a decade ago ring true (maybe truer) today.

May 26, 2013: Effective Leaders from the Follower’s Perspective

  *The five traits I describe for effective leaders still hold today. Look at this quick video I filmed on the banks of Town Lake in the heart of Austin, Texas.

May 25, 2014: What Consequences Have You Created Today?

  *Self-aware people reflect on their actions, understand how those actions affect themselves and others, and assume responsibility for their choices. I’m thinking we might need to review this idea once again.

May 31, 2015: Resilience: What’s Your Story?

  *While some might find resilience to be one of those over-used words, the concept remains a healthy reminder for a meaningful and healthy life. Check out the 10 Tips to remain resilient/build resilience at the end of the post. Perhaps, in 2021, we may find these of particular importance.

May 29, 2016: P2P: Building a Story

  *Person-to-Person connections build a business, family, tribe, and a community. What do we communicate when we interact with people?

May 28, 2017: Why Not You?

  *This post grew from a workshop I facilitated. In the workshop and the post, I encourage those who have thought about writing and speaking to go a step further. Four key questions help people understand quality speaking and writing does not belong to an elite group. The questions might hold relevance for anyone who decides to share information.

May 27, 2018: Helping a Village Find Its Voice

  *We have heard how “it takes a village” to raise a community. What happens if the village is broken? This post comes from my book Community as a Safe Place to Land. It highlights the need for a village to find its voice and then use its voice. Look at the influential events of 2020, you may be able to see some parallels.

May 26, 2019: A Reminder About Noise

  *This excerpt from the post could have been written today: “As the call-out-culture escalates, it has become cliché to say civility has become a rare commodity in public (and even private) discourse. The changing rules of engagement seem to dictate that presenting evidence and ‘winning’ an argument are no longer enough. The victor must destroy the adversary. Debate gives way to harangues, collective monologues, and questionable sources and conclusions.”  Will we still be writing this eleven years from today?

May 31, 2020: Giving, Receiving, and Gratitude

  *“Helping one person may not change the world, but it could change the world for that one person.” (attribution unknown). A common theme said in different ways over eleven years.

As you look at the above titles and snippets, has the past informed the present? What have we learned ad what do we still need to master—or at least face?


Video recommendation for the Week:

One of my most memorable invitations to speak in the last eleven years came from Sitting Bull College on the Standing Rock Reservation (North Dakota). At the end of my presentation, the college representatives presented me with a Star Quilt. Here is a quick explanation:

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

My dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Community, leadership, Life lessons, Reflection, resilience, Social Media | 2 Comments