(#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.

(#171) Thirty-Two Years of Dreams

September 1, 2013

I have the chance to be a small part of their collective journeys.
This is not a drill. It’s real life. Their lives.
And after 32 years, my students continue to inspire me.

This week I began my 32nd year of classroom teaching.

I have had people wonder how I can stay fresh going into my 63rd semester. While it is true that syllabi development, essay grading, administrivia, and mind-numbing meetings can be trying and frustrating adventures, something deeper strikes at the heart of why I do what I do. In many respects, I have the best calling in the world.  Every day I have the opportunity to connect with people and to make a difference in their lives.

Each semester a fresh group of students walks on campus chasing their dreams.  Some have a laser-focus on where they want to be; others are not quite so sure.  But all know they want to be at a better place in their lives. They want something more and I have the opportunity to help them bring those rainbows into their kaleidoscopic focus. I have the chance to be a small part of their collective journeys.  And that is a privilege and a responsibility I do not take lightly.  This is not a drill. It’s real life. Their lives.

Photo: Steve Piscitelli

Photo: Steve Piscitelli

Recognizing that the long-term must pass through the short-term, I asked my students to complete the following sentence on the first day of class:   By the end of this semester I will _________________.

While a number of students opted for the grade-focused response of getting all “As” (and there is nothing wrong with that), the vast majority identified goals that touched the various dimensions of their lives.  I have listed some of their responses (in no particular order) below. As I read each, I am reminded that we all have basic goals involving health, relationships, occupation (our calling), and emotional well-being.  How many of these would you be able to include on your short-term list?

  • Have the will to be successful
  • Lose 15 lbs
  • Have a job
  • Have a different job
  • Have a job promotion
  • Be more organized
  • Have a solid relationship
  • Be eating healthier
  • Not procrastinate
  • Establish an exercise routine
  • Prove to family and friends I can do well
  • Have saved money
  • Be a step closer to my dreams
  • Have learned what it takes to be successful in college
  • Be more independent
  • Grown as a person
  • Go to New York for my birthday
  • Complete repairs on a house I just purchased
  • Have saved at least $2,000
  • Have a body fat percentage down to 12%
  • Be living on my own
  • Have my own vehicle
  • Continue to research different careers
  • Do community service
  • Have developed confidence
  • Be able to speak in front of others
  • Be on time
  • Have grown my vocabulary
  • Have an idea of what goes on in the real world
  • Take more responsibility for my life
  • Have a better life for me and my family
  • Have improved my study skills
  • Have managed my priorities
  • Have learned about life choices
  • Have learned how to stay focused
  • Have learned more about myself

We discussed how setting a goal is the easy part. The work comes with goal achieving.  Dreams. Action. Reality. Think of your dreams—and your actions (or inactions). What is your reality?

Video recommendation for the week:

(If the above link does not work on your device, click on this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV-qNV0Snck.)

It is very easy to become jaded in any job.  No matter what we do for our “living” we can lose sight of why we do what we do (beyond earning a buck).  For me, I am invited in and become a small part of the lives of my students. We influence one another.  I hope to inspire them.

And after 32 years, I know they continue to inspire me.

Choose well. Live well. Be well—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

On Friday, September 13, I will offer my next webinar. The topic: Supporting Our Adjunct Faculty: The Forgotten Teachers of Academia.   Take advantage of this complementary offering.  Click here to register now for the webinar.  Or go to my website for registration information. 

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!

 ©2013. Steve Piscitelli


(#152) P.T.M.: What Is Your Calling?

April 21, 2013

No matter what we do,
we owe it to ourselves, the task at hand, and the people around us
to do it with pride and integrity.

I started class this past week by showing a slide with three letters:

During the final semester unit of material for my student success class, I orchestrate a number of activities to encourage my students to dig a little deeper, ask themselves a few more personal questions, and continue to consider what calling they are preparing themselves for in life.

I always find this unit as motivating and enlightening for me as it is for my students.  Each time I lead them through the exercises, I am rejuvenated.  They remind me to reflect on what I am doing, why I am doing it, and what adjustments I need to make (or not make).

I encourage you to take a few quiet moments and do the same exercises.  They can help find perspective. Are you following your passions?  Are you playing to your strengths? Do you recognize our talents?  Are you honest about why you do what you do?

Here is the sequencing:

1. Divide a piece of paper into four equal quadrants. Label them as such: likes, dislikes, strengths, and challenges.  For my students, I prompt them to begin with things such as classes they like (and why); the classes they do not like (and why); the types of people they like to associate with and those they wish to avoid; what environments energize them (or drain them);  their preference (avoidance) for conditions like change, stability, continuity, and flexibility.  Similarly, they list strengths and challenges such as characteristics that have fostered their growth (or hindered their growth); ability to collaborate; success as a self-starter; and problem solving capabilities.

James Barker/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

James Barker/

The culmination of this activity: “Based on my likes and strengths, I would like to study a college major that allows me to _____.” Based on my dislikes and challenges, I would like to avoid a college major that requires me to _____.”

You may find it more appropriate to relate this to your career field—especially if you feel like you are floundering now.  When you are done, identify any insights you might have had.

2.  We then review a list of some 25 or 30 job characteristics that I title as “Values at Work.” In short, they review the characteristics and check whether each is of high importance, medium importance, low importance or no importance when it comes to a future career.  The items listed for them include advancement, autonomy, collaboration, status, high salary, tranquility, change, security, and achievement.

For you, list the values that are most important to you in your calling.  What must you have?  What is not that important? What are your non-negotiables and your negotiables when it comes to a career? Do they exist in the job you know have? If not, what can you do about that? Any insights?

Image: digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: digitalart/

3.  I then ask students to make a list of their talents—what do they do well?  This is followed by a listing of their passions—those thing/activities/conditions that excite them? What do they love to do? Do the lists of talents and passions coincide?  Are they different?  Any insights?

4. Back to P-T-M.  I place a Venn diagram on the board of three intersecting circles. I label one circle PASSION, one circle TALENT, and one circle MONEY. I explain that at times we can pursue a career because it pays us well for a talent we possess; however, we may have no passion for this work.  At other times we might have a passion and talent, but the money does not follow.  The sweet spot for a calling, I maintain, is when we can find the intersection of all three circles—when we do something we have a passion and talent for AND someone will pay us to do it! It is not always possible. It is, I believe though, a worthy goal.

The Intersection of P-T-M:
The Sweet Spot!

As I said on this blog before, “The reminder for me is that no matter what we do, we owe it to ourselves, the task at hand, and the people around us to do it with pride and integrity.”

Video recommendation for the week:

A powerful story of one man who has thrived regardless of challenges.

Enjoy your week—and H.T.R.B. as needed!

 On May 4, I will offer a special Saturday edition webinar. Click here to register now for “Habits of Well-being and Balance.”  Or go to my website for registration information. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) along to 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 the new “Updates” feature on my website.

 ©2013. Steve Piscitelli.

%d bloggers like this: