(Issue #508) Is Your Help Helping?


“If I knew a man was coming to my house
with the conscious design of doing me good,
I should run for my life.”—Henry David Thoreau

 “It brings me comfort and encouragement
To have companions in whatever happens.”—Dio Chysostom

Whether you have seen them written on social media posts or heard them orally delivered, you are familiar with the three words: “Thoughts and Prayers.”

Usually, they respond to an illness, catastrophe, death, loss of a job, end of a relationship, or some other distressing event. The words are offered as help—as in “I want you to know I am thinking about you…but I really don’t know what else to say.” Well-meaning intention.

I understand the sentiment. But at times they may come across as a knee-jerk response that leave the hurting person with little solace. The intended help does not help. It might be better to offer silence. Though that can be difficult for many people.

In April of 2016 I offered some thoughts after my wife and I had navigated the journey of a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Below you will find a few more thoughts and suggestions to consider  as you intend to comfort, encourage, and do good.

  • Sending a daily text or email or voicemail asking, “How are you doing?” may show concern but consider that it could create more stress for the recipient. An open-ended question expects a response. The intended person may not need another expectation placed on his/her shoulders at that particular moment.
  • Back in 2016, I made the offer to keep people updated about Laurie’s journey with group text messages. It was quick for me and them. They appreciated the information. They could opt out at any time. It proved helpful. If you are find yourself in such a group and you are told you will be updated as needed, it is not helpful to keep sending texts asking, “What’s the update? Is everything OK.”  At some point, your compassion becomes intrusive (though that is not your intention). If the hurting/grieving person is juggling a lot due to the circumstance, don’t add more to the mix. Don’t change the person’s timeline. This is a time about the person (and his/her family), not you.
  • Still, it is understandable that you are concerned about the injured or ill party. You want her/him/them to know you are available; that you want to help. In such cases, I found the following helpful:
    • “You don’t need to answer. Just want you to know I am thinking about you and ____.”
    • “If you need someone to talk to, please let me know. I’m here for you. Your timeline, not mine.”
    • “Thanks for your updates. Glad to hear the patient is doing well. Let her/him/them know a lot of people are cheering for her/him/them.”

True, certain circumstances may dictate a different approach. But, please, consider carefully. Before you go forth with the intent of doing good, stop and think about what you are saying or doing.

Is your help helping?


Video Recommendation for the Week

 You have a good heart. Your words and presence can, as James Taylor sings, “brighten up even the darkest night.” Be mindful.


strong>Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , | 1 Comment

(Issue #507) Progress, Challenge, and Focus


It’s a matter of perspective.

It is a matter of perspective; a question of focus. Consider this example.

In November I had hand surgery. A bone was removed and the thumb reattached with a transplanted tendon. After, a few well-meaning friends commented, “It’s hell getting old,” I responded, “Ain’t it great that I got a tune up and my hand will be more functional!”

Besides the question of why would you ever tell someone recovering from surgery “It’s hell getting old,” this is a matter of focus. Focus on the challenge (which was corrected) or on the progress (the positive outcome).

upside down

What do we internalize? Does it help or hinder? Maybe we need to turn the view upside down, inside out, backwards, and frontwards.

It’s a matter of focus.

It’s a matter of perspective.



Recommended Video for the Week

Will the dust settle? A few thoughts in this brief video.

https://youtu.be/etQJ1FUbOxk



Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Life lessons | Leave a comment

(Issue #506) Thoughts About Curiosity


Where can you ask, “What if?” How can you allow “yes, and”
to help you grow? Imagine what you can do.

Walt Disney reportedly said, “When you’re curious, you find lots of interesting things to do.”

Curiosity allows us to adopt a fluid and creative state of mind.

Perhaps we can think of curiosity as a state of purpose. It involves intention and why we do what we do. It is a way of life.

Think of all that you have discovered because of curiosity.  A new hobby. A renewed direction. A change in career. A change in residence. A relationship. A change, period.

When we embrace weak signals, we ask what could be.

Photo taken in San Francisco, CA.

When we are curious we foster a longing, desire, motivation, wish, yearning, eagerness, sense of risk, and we question.

Curious people embrace the Improv principle of “Yes, And.”

Curious people ask, “What if?”

Curiosity can lead to improvement, growth, interest, development, depth. We leave ourselves vulnerable to what may be.  Limiting or stifling curiosity may keep us on auto pilot, opting to remain safe, inflexible, and stagnate.

A quote attributed to Mark Twain reminds us what happens if we do not question (do not become curious about) our fears and anxieties: “I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”

Of course, curiosity can take on negative connotations. Think nosy, pushy, intrusive, unfeeling, prying, or rude, in the name of curiosity. In those cases, curiosity might just kill the cat.

But let’s focus on the positives.

In what one area of your life can a sense of authentic curiosity help you grow or at the least, explore some pretty interesting things? Things you may be cutting yourself off from by not asking questions; by not exploring a deeper understanding.

Where can you ask, “What if?” How can you allow “yes, and” to help you grow?

Imagine what you can do.


Video Recommendation for the Week

Imagine the possibilities!                                                                                                                 


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book has been released.
eBook ($2.99) Paperback ($9.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

 

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

(Issue #505) Orange to Blue


This helps me determine if what I say I prioritize
is what I actually prioritize.

My digital calendar is colorful. Various shades to highlight the many categories of activities in which I participate. Like:

  • Red for family
  • Light blue for health
  • Yellow for writing and creation
  • Green for recording
  • Purple for friends
  • Orange for professional engagements and commitments
  • Blue for community service.
  • And so on…

The colors provide a quick check on my priorities for a particular day, week, month, or the entire year.  This helps me determine if what I say I prioritize is what I actually prioritize.

Photo by (c) Steve Piscitelli

When I reviewed my year the last week in December, the colors jumped out at me.  No lying. No sugar coating. This is what I did. These activities are what I prioritized.

For years, the Orange (professional engagements and commitments) took precedent. It guided (took control?) of my life. Not a bad thing. Not necessarily a good thing.  It simply showed how I chose to live my life.

When I left teaching on campus (Orange) I continued to focus on my speaking engagements around the nation (Orange).  I started, also, to focus more on what I could do to give back to my community (Blue). My calendar began to take on a different hue. I liked it.

At the end of 2018, I made the decision to back away from national speaking engagements (Orange) in order to devote more time to my community (Blue), creative endeavors (Yellow), and family (Red).

My 2019 year in review showed an Orange to Blue movement. This was what I said I wanted to do, what I planned to do, and , more importantly, what I did.

What colors dominate your calendar? Do these reflect your stated priorities?

________________________________________________________

Video recommendation for the week

This quick video (62 seconds) demonstrates one feature of color usage on a Google calendar.

________________________________________________________

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My new book will be released on February 1, 2020.
You can place your pre-release order now for the eBook ($2.99). Click here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

 

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

(Issue #504) The Fragile Beauty and Randomness of Life


A terminal illness is a lens through which that which matters most can
shift into perfect clarity. Anger and sorrow do not dictate my life.
-Marina Pomare Kaplan-

This past week our community lost an intelligent, bright, and giving soul. My wife and I connected with Marina Pomare Kaplan at a neighborhood meeting. We had gathered in the park across from our home to discuss our community—what was good about it and what could be better.  We were immediately taken by her quiet, personable, and focused persona. Sitting there, ball cap on her shaven head, she smiled, encouraged, and added to the conversation. More than anything, she listened and asked authentic questions.  After the meeting, I immediately reached out to Marina. I wanted to learn more about and from her.

What a delight and breath of fresh air!

I learned about (and soon thereafter, met) her family. And I learned about Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). In fact, Marina and I scheduled a date to record a podcast about MBC. She had to cancel because of her having to go the Emergency Room. We rescheduled—and had to postpone again. On January 1 of this year, she reached out to confirm the rescheduled date. Unfortunately, we were not able to record the episode.  She passed on January 13, 2020.

In typical Marina fashion, however, she sent me documents with her thoughts about cancer, family, life, and purpose.  I will share a few of her thoughts here as they are instructive for all of us. A reminder to live with verve, wit, intellect, purpose, and love. Embrace the vulnerability. And live each moment.

Marina, we will miss you. We will never replace you. And your words will live on as your legacy. Your optimism. Your tenacity. Your realism. Your drive. It is up to us to pay attention and not let life get in the way of living a meaningful life.

Here are Marina’s words (printed here with permission from her husband, Paul) on cancer, community, and connectedness. She titled this:

Musings on Life with Terminal Cancer.

A stage-4 cancer diagnosis is an awful shock, mind-numbing, disorienting and terribly frightening. It’s overwhelming. It devastates you and it devastates your family and friends. It fosters some of the worst thoughts and fears. Making those phone calls to your dear family and your closest friends is probably the worst single thing you will ever have to do. And then calling them again, and again, and again every time there is progression and again as the prognosis gets worse and again as it gets worse again….and again.

I will never say cancer is a gift, or cancer made me a better person. I will never put a positive spin on this awful relentless disease. It’s a horrible, random, crappy thing that happens to perfectly ordinary people living perfectly ordinary lives.

Where death was once an abstract concept and suddenly it’s right there in your face concrete and real and just around the corner. The smack in the gut when your doctor tells you to get your affairs in order and things like a DNR, a medical power of attorney, your funeral and your obituary become very real.

But, it’s not all fear and anguish all the time. There are extraordinary moments of brightness and living, and those moments of fully living life are most of my life.

Marina Pomare Kaplan

The sense of community and connectedness. The depth and breadth of my life has expanded tremendously since my diagnosis. I am buoyed up by my community – my family and my friends near and far. I’ve experienced extraordinary levels of kindness, and a profound feeling of connection.

People say things to me, beautiful caring things that they would most likely not have felt the need to say. People do things for me that are just boundless in their generosity. People have come out of the woodwork to show me love and open their hearts to me and my family. There is magic in the realization that the best of humanity is lifting you up, holding you close, reaching out and touching your life in whatever way they can. There is magic in the community that forms around you and those you love when crisis touches your life.

I have met extraordinary men and women through having metastatic breast cancer, we call ourselves the worst club with the best people.

I am acutely conscious of the extraordinary depth of love, gratitude and admiration I feel for my daughters and my husband, knowing what incredible gifts they are.

The fragile beauty of life: There’s also a shift in your perceptions when faced with a deeper understanding of the fragile beauty of life. Everything becomes clearer and everything becomes so profoundly precious. There is sheer bliss in the simple joys of life, felt so much more deeply when experienced alongside the knowledge that it’s fleeting and the reality of imminent loss… A terminal illness is a lens through which that which matters most can shift into perfect clarity. Anger and sorrow do not dictate my life.

There is always a tiny bit of hope. Statistics are statistics. Before my stage 4 diagnosis I paid attention to statistics. Now that on paper I am “a statistic” I realize that’s a tautology. I’m not, in fact, a statistic, none of us are. We are living breathing people and we are not the mean, mode or average. We are whatever we are and we really don’t know where we may fall under that statistical curve.

There’s so much excitement in me around the advances in research. So many promising things in the pipeline. So many brilliant and dedicated scientists. While there is so much we don’t know, there is also so much that is waiting to be done – things that may develop that change the course of my treatment for the better.

Accepting the randomness of our lives. Although there are moments of pity and “why me?” these moments are rare and brief. Because it’s a random thing and the “why me?” is met with a “why not?”. It helps so much knowing that there’s no one to blame, not myself, not a murderer wielding a gun. Just a bizarrely sophisticated and adaptive bunch of cells in my body having a grand old time. Giving up that self-defeating illusion of control. That takes off so much pressure and gives me a certain level of comfort – knowing and accepting that things can and will change in an instant. This certainty has provided me with a measure of peace.

Vulnerability. In this world we are taught to be strong, to take charge, to be powerful. It leaves little room for vulnerability. Having cancer and going through the truly awful toxic treatments, intense physical and emotional pain, hospitalizations, surgeries, constant needle sticks, scans and progression makes you come face to face with your vulnerability. I chose to give in to that vulnerability. I chose to not be strong and tough, but rather to float along with a feeling of going along with and accepting my vulnerability and not fighting it. Yes I’m aggressive about pursuing treatment and doing everything I can to prolong my life and take care of myself the best I can, but at the end of the day I completely accept that I am in a position of extreme vulnerability. And that’s OK.

Living in the present moment – I have always been present-oriented and more likely to live in the moment and be what’s now called mindful. I was this way long before it was fashionable, in fact back in the day it was pretty much frowned upon – we were supposed to be linear thinkers, planning, striving for future goals, logical type A’s. I was a type B minus. My doctoral dissertation was on temporal orientation (the interaction effects of temporal orientation and task conditionality on performance and motivation). I suppose I was trying to justify my present-oriented tendencies that came across as poor planning and laziness. Now, thank goodness, being mindful and being in the moment is a good thing, recognized for its health benefits. Being present-oriented is very useful when living with terminal cancer. Getting totally absorbed in little things like the feeling of soft warm sand, like the beauty of dew on a blade of grass, like the sound of waves or the smell of seaweed. Mmmm life is a beautiful thing. Also it helps that I have the attention span of a goldfish. One moment I’m frightened and worried, the next moment I forget to be frightened or worried.

But anyway, I firmly believe that all we have is the moment, that’s all we experience. Life is a series of moments and one day my moments will stop. But when you know that all you have is the moment, and there’s no experiencing the past and there’s no experiencing your future, just the present moment. In that way your present moment is eternal.  

Resilience – bouncing back. Am I the mole or am I the wielding the mallet? I thought of myself as the mole in whack-a-mole – I pop my head up optimistically and it gets whacked down. When I mentioned to a friend that cancer was like whack-a-mole she thought I meant that each progression is the mole popping up and that I whack it down with the mallet each time. It made me change my perspective for a while, I liked thinking of myself as wielding a mallet instead of being whacked on the head. But my thinking has evolved, now I realize I’m both the mole and I’m the wielder of the mallet. After all cancer is my body doing something.

________________________________________________________

Podcast recommendation for the week

Marina recorded this podcast at the 2019 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. 

_____________________________________________

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

Stay tuned for my new book to be released in early 2020:
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®
www.stevepiscitelli.com

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

(Issue #503) Identity, Integrity, and Purpose


Start a movement within our ranks.  A Vaclav-Havel-type of reclaiming
our profession from those who either
don’t know about it or have lost touch with it.

NOTE: I stumbled on notes from a talk I delivered to my teaching colleagues in January of 2002.  As I re-read my musings, I thought how these thoughts  still apply today, 18 years later. Maybe even more so today. Integrity does not go out of style. Purpose connects with identity.  I have abbreviated the comments for this piece.

While this is a bit longer than most of my posts, I encourage you to read all of it and see how it can/does apply to other professions, as well. Think how these words connect to your purpose—or your struggle to find purpose.

Here is what I said on that day to my colleagues.

____________________________________________

I’ve sat through a number of these events, enough to know there are a few things I do not like to hear: preaching, cheerleading, and a review of the latest book on how we should feel about our colleagues, our profession, or ourselves….

So, I asked myself, “Steve, what can you possibly say that has any value?”

Allow me to share thoughts on the community of teaching, what we try to do in this community, how the community comes under attack—and what we can do about that….

According to Parker Palmer, good teaching comes from both identity and integrity. Identity refers to those forces that make up our lives; who are we; who are we not.  Integrity is how we relate those forces in a way that brings about wholeness and life—not fragmentation and death. Purpose not disconnection.  The root word is integer or oneness.  Simply put, we arrive at our purpose in life by various routes.  We are an office manager, a counselor, a maintenance engineer, or a teacher because our life’s paths have brought us to this point. Hopefully, that point has integrity, has a reaffirming value on our lives—and an overall virtue.  It is our purpose….

Teaching is a virtuous activity, but it is not necessarily valued.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli.

Forces—usually someone else’s values—continually challenge education (our purpose). While some are external to our institution, some originate and incubate right within our walls. No matter how many committees or task forces we sit on, if the system continues to beat down its best resources—us—our profession is doomed.  So, what can we do?

One thing to do is what Vaclav Havel said as the  Czechs rebelled against Soviet domination.  The Czechs, Havel maintained, had to “reclaim” themselves by reminding themselves who they were.  Teachers need to do the same reclaiming.

Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique.  Good teaching comes from the identity and the integrity of the teacher.

_______________________

“If the work we do lacks integrity for us, then we, the work,
and the people we do it with will suffer.”- Parker Palmer

_______________________

 So, if we (you and I) are among the folks who have lost heart, where do we go from here? And if we haven’t lost heart, how can we help those who have? If the vision of our purpose has gotten side tracked, muddled, jumbled, what do we do?

One road is to move on, find another venue to ply the craft.  It’s a viable choice.

Another option is to start a movement within our ranks.  A Vaclav-Havel-type of reclaiming our profession from those who either don’t know about it or have lost touch with it.

Teaching, for good or bad, is a privatized profession—maybe one of the most privatized of the public professions.  We do our work alone in our classrooms or in our offices.  While that has benefits, it can also be very isolating; leading to disconnections amongst and between faculty—and the teacher bashing forces can take advantage of that fact….

Most movements make incremental adjustments as opposed to large-scale upheaval. But the movements have the power to “alter the logic of organizations.”

Photo ©Steve Piscitelli. 2019

I will end with something that a colleague said on this very stage just a few years ago—and it has always stayed with. Simple yet eloquent.  He reminded us to remember the joy and excitement we felt when we were students and he challenged us to allow our students, to help our students, to feel that same exhilaration as they marched into our rooms.  That same passion and joy.  After all, isn’t that our purpose, isn’t that the crux of our virtuous profession, and isn’t that why we have the courage to teach?

Let’s not forget we have one another.  May we all nurture our identity, our integrity, and our purpose

Make it a great term.

______________________________________________________________

Video Recommendation of the Week

Consider this reminder. As I told an auditorium of college faculty in Virginia (2015), when overwhelmed and discouraged, what is the one step you can take to move forward?  The step may be to find another purpose or refine a purpose. Keep making your story.

______________________________________________________________

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

Stay tuned for my new book to be released in early 2020:
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

(Issue #502) Will You Dance Your Dance?


“Oh God, to reach the point of death only to find that
you have never lived at all.”
-Henry David Thoreau-

With the beginning of the year comes the inevitable listing of ambitious goals. I have written about the difference between goal setting and goal achievement. The first is no assurance of the second.

We can come up short on our goals for any number of lacks:

  • Lack of effort
  • Lack of resources
  • Lack of consistent follow-through
  • Lack of confidence
  • Lack of preparation
  • Lack of __________ [you fill in the blank].

One lack that we may fail to recognize is that of authenticity.  I saw it with students and their college majors.  Specifically, when a student was following a career path dictated by something outside of herself. This could be the allure of money (I want this career because of the income), the tease of celebrity (I want to be adored by millions), or the expectation of family members (my parents say I need to be a doctor). None of these speak to the authenticity of the individual. They miss the heart and soul of the person.

Photo ©Steve Piscitelli. 2019

Re-reading a classic Leo Buscaglia book, I came across two reminders we might want to consider as we embark (before we embark?) on our goal achievement for 2020. In Buscaglia’s words:

  • “When you start following my way, it will lead you to me and you will get lost. The only way to follow is your  way.” (p. 131)
  • “I think you were made unique because you have some unique statement to make. Dedicate your life to finding out what that statement is.” (p. 174)

My goals have to be my goals. Your goals have to be your goals. How can you create your unique statement if you use my words, my reasoning, and my desires?

If I follow your dream, do I ever become me?

R.D. Laing stated, “I cannot experience your experience.”

And I cannot live your dream. In fact, can I really live my life to the fullest if my goal is to be a mini you? Is that authentic?

Or as Thoreau reminded us, “Oh God, to reach the point of death only to find that you have never lived at all.”

______________________________________________________________

Video Recommendation of the Week

Lee Ann Womack reminds us to dance our dance.

______________________________________________________________

Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

Stay tuned for my new book to be released in early 2020:
Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.
Well, actually, 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:

  • My book, Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019), (print and e-book) is available on More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at www.stevepiscitelli.com.
  • Check out my book Stories about Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island (2017). It has been adopted for teaching, learning, and coaching purposes. I conducted (September 2019) a half-day workshop for a community college’s new faculty onboarding program using the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts can be found at The Growth and Resilience Network®.

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

©2020. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

Posted in Life lessons | 3 Comments