(#366) Why Not You?

May 28, 2017

Speaking and writing does not belong to some elite group of individuals.

Have you considered publishing or speaking to broaden the powerful impact and reach you already have on those around you? It could be for a small local audience or something larger. You might do it for money—or for the sheer passion you have for a particular topic.

Later today (May 28, 2017), I will have the opportunity to facilitate a workshop at the annual NISOD Conference in Austin, Texas.  I will pose a simple question, “Why not you?” If you don’t share your talents, who will?

I hope to encourage participants to consider sharing their accumulated wisdom through publishing and/or speaking. I will be talking to college professors, advisers, and administrations. But whether you manage a retail store, teach students, serve customers in a restaurant, nurse patients in a hospital, coach a little league team, manage a household, or lead your community, you have experiences to share.  Speaking and writing does not belong to some elite group of individuals.

Take a moment today, and consider all that you have to offer with respect to your accumulated wisdom.

To be sure, just because you want to write or speak, does not necessarily mean you should write or speak.  And just as assuredly, not everyone has the talent or temperament for speaking and writing.

Before you brush aside the idea, though, consider what you have that others may be interested in learning.  From parenting, to surfing, to gardening, to home renovation, to mentoring young minds, you make a difference in your world. Here are a few questions to help you sort through your thoughts to share your wisdom. I encourage you to work through these with someone who will give you trusted feedback.

  • WHY do I want to publish and/or speak? Is it for ego, profit, passion, or the need to share an important lesson?
  • WHO cares about my work—and why should they? Huge question! If you decide to speak or publish, who will be interested enough to listen?
  • WHERE do I find opportunities? Local community organizations? Regional and national conferences? Letters to the editor? The community newspaper? A national magazine? Self-publishing?
  • HOW do I develop a supportive learning community of associates to help me develop your writing and speaking talents? And, how can I help others to find their voices?

When we start examining these types of professional and personal growth opportunities and questions, we identify and clarify our inner desires, strengths, and challenges. And we increase our chances to connect and form collaborative, supportive networks, and create community.

Rather than saying, “I’m not a writer or speaker” I hope you will consider (and act upon) “Hey, I can write and speak, too…just never thought about it.” Find a mentor to help you begin your journey.

In fact, you may find yourself saying, “Hell, yeah, that is for me!”


Video recommendation for the week.

Your story has power!


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.


(#354) What Can You Really Control?

March 5, 2017

Perhaps understanding and accepting the uncertainty
will allow you to see additional choices and paths to success.

Last week seven words focused my attention.

Are you afraid to ad-lib your life?

Do you have to script each moment as you attempt to control each outcome (professional or personal) of your day? Unfortunately, too often I attempt to do that. And I exhaust myself!  The good news: I am aware.  I am a work in progress.

Scripting allows me the illusion of control. More so, it feeds my need to control. I create an urgency that commands (and commends!) me to orchestrate every step of the journey with the intent to control all outcomes.  And it drives me to distraction.

We have to recognize that we do have control over our thoughts, words, and actions. Think of a goal you reached.  It originated with a thought, you put it to words, and you took action. To a certain degree, you maintained control over the goal process. But you really could not control the outcome.  So many other factors came into play.

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Before any presentation, I take responsibility for the preparation process:  my words, visuals, mode of presentation, research, my handouts, speech patterns, and mannerisms.  I hope that my rehearsal and attention to detail will produce a certain outcome for the audience.

The reality remains that I cannot control the audience outcome.  Sure, I can say with a bit of certitude that certain demonstrations will invariably produce this result or that.  But I have no control over who walks into the room that day. Or what they have just experienced in their personal lives.

At times, I torture myself with whether or not a flight will be on time or a connection through Atlanta gives me enough time to dash to the next concourse.  No matter how meticulously I plan the itinerary, I have zero control over delays.  Yes, I can attempt to minimize the chances for delays. But I have zip for influence.  On days that I accept that certainty, I feel more relaxed.

When my wife went through chemotherapy, initially and naively I attempted to control the situation. I quickly discovered (what my wife already knew) that I could not control the dropping of her blood counts. In fact, those blood counts became a certainty throughout treatment that neither of us could do much to control. I had to learn how to handle that and the entire process. Once I did, I became a better partner for that journey.

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There will always be uncertainty. For my own wellbeing, I have to accept (embrace?) that ambivalence. Whether it is an audience reaction, the success of a podcast, the on-time arrival of a connecting flight, or the sales of a book, there is only so much Stevie can do.  When I lose that perspective, I go into a downward spiral of stress. And I am not much good to anyone, least of all myself.

You may have worked for a boss who attempted to control everything—every little step and process—of your day.  How did you feel? Maybe you are that dominating boss. How’s that working for your health and those you lead? (Do you really think your employees awaken each morning, stretch their arms over their heads, and say, “Gee, I can’t wait to get to work so my supervisor can attempt to control every step of my day, belittle me, and browbeat me. I am so motivated!”)

When it comes to the need to control, consider addressing the underlying issues at hand. What is it you really need? Can you get beyond answers like, “I need to meet my quarterly numbers”?  What are the underlying motivations for a control obsession?

Understanding and accepting the uncertainty may allow you to see additional choices and paths to success. And, by chance, you may be able to ad-lib a bit of your day.


Video recommendation for the week:

Times of change can lead us to control what semblance of an old order we can lasso. That is not change management. That resembles someone attempting to manage disappointment.  An older video of mine reminds us that when it comes to change we have a four-step process. You will notice that control does not factor into the equation.

logo-island


Make it an inspiring week and H.T.R.B. as needed.

For information about and to order my new book, Stories About Teaching, Learning, and Resilience: No Need to be an Island, click here.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#353) Change Management

February 26, 2017

We all are in the change management business.

Did you know that about 500,000 jobs exist in the “change management” field? Titles like, “Culture Change Manager…Change Management Analyst…Change Management Lead…Change Management Specialist….”

Who knew?

As I prepare for two corporate programs—one in Las Vegas and one here in Florida—that scrutinize the topic of “change management,” two questions guide my thinking.

  1. Haven’t we been managing change at one level or another for a long time? After all, Heraclitus offered more than two centuries ago, “Change is the only constant in life.”
  2. Since change is not new, then what is new about it in the current context and—why should we care?

We could make an argument that to every generation the change it faces is monumental, huge, and precedent busting. No one has ever faced anything like it before or will again.  Or, at least so they think in the moment—their moment.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Maybe the change involved technology (assembly line), government (the Constitutional Convention), women’s rights (suffrage amendment), equal access (Brown v. Board of Education), aviation (the Wright Brothers) or education (Title IX). You can name many more.

One measure used by economic historians to measure the rate of change looks at how long it takes 50% of the households to adopt the change. By that standard, it took electricity and TV about twenty-eight years.  Radio, television, and the Internet, less than a decade.

Again, Heraclitus told us that, “Everything changes and nothing stands still.”

Bottom line, we all are in the change management business. Whether we hold responsibility for workplace productivity, renovating our home, or handling a healthcare crisis, change faces us. If we think that we will drown in change, know that we have been through it before and will confront it again.

Everyone thinks of changing the world,
but no one thinks of changing himself.
― Leo Tolstoy—

The first thing to do is consider what change we need to consider. The CEO may look at change as it relates to technology, rapidity, different generational attitudes, uncertainty, institutional culture, and/or sustainability.

I would suggest, at the least, we need to understand the professional and personal perspective from which to address change. When we talk about change, what do we expect those we lead and ourselves to do? Consider this short list as you move forward with change management in your life. What do you want to do as it relates to change? Do you want to

  • Accept it?
  • Anticipate it?
  • Cause it?
  • Control it?
  • Follow it?
  • Ignore/resist it?
  • Slow/speed it?
  • Understand it?
  • Question it?
  • Do something else?

Some choices move us forward. Others, not.

“Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” 
― George Bernard Shaw


Video recommendation for the week:

Change will happen. So, what do you do with the change resistors? Click here for one strategy.


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.

55031146_high-resolution-front-cover_6597771-1

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™
(http://stevepiscitelli.com/media-broadcast/podcast).

Check out my website  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/what-i-do) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://stevepiscitelli.com/programs/webinars).

Pearson Education publishes my student textbooks for life success—Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition).

(c) 2017. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#266) Challenging the Status Quo

June 28, 2015

We have to remember what we learned in our formative years:
“Know what battles to pick.”
Great advice unless you never seem to choose a battle.

I was recently asked what kind of advice I would give to the new generation of educators and students. My advice was (and still is) simple and straightforward,

Pay attention to the difference you can make.
Challenge the status quo (that includes your own status quo).
Don’t settle for the easy way.
Either you create your story—or you let someone else create it for you.

This past week I had the opportunity to catch up with a student I taught nearly 30 years ago. She related a story about how a boss of hers, while conducting a staff meeting, was less than civil to say the least. While all of her compatriots quietly sat and squirmed a bit, my former student stood up and calmly challenged the boorish behavior. As she told the story, I beamed. She did not need my approval—but I could not have been prouder.

Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stuart Miles @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Far too many times I have witnessed otherwise smart and insightful adults sit on their hands rather than challenge a wrong-headed workplace/career-related situation. Why do people fail to take action in situations clearly calling for action? Here is what I have seen and heard for years.

  • “I won’t be here long. This job is just a placeholder until I get my big break and move on.”
    • Did you ever consider you may never get that big break? The job you planned on keeping for no more than a year or two ends up being yours for five years or more. I’ve seen people like this wake up one morning, ten years later, with kids in school and a mortgage. Guess what? They are not going any place. And, like it or not, they have created a less than savory workplace environment for themselves and their co-workers by their inaction over the years. The story they are living is the story they have created.
  • “Did you see what they did to Suzy down the hall? I’ll fly under the radar, thank you.”
    • Poor managers use fear to control and (they think) motivate their workers. How long do you plan to fly low? See #1 above.
  • “If I don’t rock the boat, I’ll be safe.”
    • Hmm, again. A few waves just might make the boat a bit safer for everyone. Like my former student above, a well-directed and civil challenge might catch attention and, if not change things for the better right away, might at least put the perpetrator on notice.
  • “I will do anything to make sure I am seen as a team player so that I can continue to move up the organization’sladder. At the very least, I’ll be able to keep my job.”
    • Really? I’ve seen people sell their souls for the job. Then once they have been used up by the transactional leadership, they are downsized or otherwise unceremoniously dismissed. One day they wake up without a job, and without a soul.

Speaking up is not always easy. It takes courage and articulation skills. Some of you are born leaders, ready to take the lead. Many others, not so much. I get that. Even the quiet ones amongst us, however, can quietly support those who are out front pushing for change. If, for reasons that apply to your situation in life, you choose to remain silent, then at least recognize the potential consequences of that choice.

Yes, we have to remember what we learned in our formative years: “Know what battles to pick.” Great advice unless you never seem to choose a battle. As Edmund Burke reportedly admonished, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing.”

What can you challenge this week? Nothing large. Nothing outlandish. Nothing dangerous. Nothing stupid. Nothing boorish. Just a well-calculated step to find a more humane and thoughtful way to make a meaningful change for yourself, your family, your workplace, and/or your community. Consider a mentor, coach, adviser or counselor to help you sort things out and move along the best path.

Little steps create the journey. No steps create a journey of another kind.

Video recommendation for the week:

Sara Bareilles wonders what would happen if we say what we want to say.

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

I am venturing into the realm of podcasting. Check out my first one “Powerful (Mindful) Preparation. Powerful Presentation.”

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 and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (both in their third edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#257) Sunsets and Sunrises

April 26, 2015

“You are where I was. And I am where you will be.”

This week represents a major life demarcation for me.  After 33 years of classroom teaching, I will be retiring from my college. I am not retiring, however, from my calling to education.

For me, so-called retirement represents a time of re-purposing, renewing, re-calibrating, re-energizing and resilience.

I will still provide targeted facilitation programs nationwide (I am working on engagements for 2016) and work on a diversity of writing projects (textbook development, two novels, and one screenplay).  I will be even more involved in higher education than I had been—just on a different level and schedule.

Video recommendation for the week:

As I get ready to lock up my office door and head down the hallway for one final time this coming week, I want to say thank you to all of my colleagues for the years of camaraderie, friendship, and mentoring.  And I want to share a few parting thoughts.

  • When Derek Jeter announced his retirement from the New York Yankees last year, he said, “I have gotten the very most out of my life playing baseball, and I have absolutely no regrets. Now it is time for the next chapter. I have new dreams and aspirations, and I want new challenges.”
  • I feel the same way. Now is my time to move to the next chapter.  I have gotten so much from teaching students for the last three-plus decades.  I have learned even more from those same students and my colleagues.  And it is time to dig deeper in other parts of life.
  • I was told a few years back by someone in the publishing industry that if I were not in the classroom that I would lose credibility in the publishing or educational world.  I do NOT believe that for a moment.  With reflection and application, those 33 years of experience will geometrically expand.
  • A dear mentor many years ago reminded me that our lives can be roughly divided into three parts. The first third is about knowing. The second third about doing. And the last third is about being.  I am looking forward to taking much more time to reflect on what I have accomplished—and what I still can do for students and my colleagues across this nation.

   Rather than a time of sunset, the sun is most definitely rising.

Image by: Steve Piscitelli

Image by: Steve Piscitelli

  • A long time ago I read that the three important components in life are people, place, and purpose.  When we are with people we love, in a place we love, pursuing a purpose we love, we have a better chance of leading a fulfilled and contented life.  I found that purpose in the classrooms, in the hallways, and around the campus.  Even the trying times–especially the trying times–helped make me who I am.
  • What I have really loved about teaching was that it allowed me to take and make the opportunities to constantly re-discover myself. Rediscover my purpose. I urge my colleagues to do the same; constantly rediscover.  Forget about flying under the radar. Forget about perfection. Just go out and do it.  Do it and make sure you are living the life and the purpose you are intended to live.  Continue to make a difference for your students and your community.
  • And finally, I remember what an octogenarian shared with me one morning as he was—interestingly enough—going through his morning workout at the gym.  “You are where I was. And I am where you will be.”

We all travel the journey. The sun rises and sets each day. And then rises again.

We can learn from one another. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you.

Until we meet online or somewhere around this great nation, may your sunsets be beautiful and your sunrises glorious.

Make it a great life. And H.T.R.B. as needed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) with friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#247) Applications and Reflections

February 15, 2015

Just consider the hourly wage
of each person tied up in a workshop.  Is the R.O.I. worth the lost wages and service?

I have written elsewhere on this blog about the benefits of meaningful professional growth opportunities and collegiality.  Today, let’s explore a quick feedback exercise for an enhanced R.O.I. for your professional development resources.

Too often what passes as professional development is little more than quick hits, one-and-done meetings.  The participants might feel “juiced” during the session but little happens afterwards.  Without an opportunity for meaningful share time, follow-up and application sustainable change is unlikely. Participants need a call-to-action to maintain the momentum.

Image: kromkrathog @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: kromkrathog @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here is a quick exercise to move your (and your team’s) call-to-action along: Write a brief (can be as short as a page or two) paper that gives you a chance to examine professional applications and personal reflections based on the training experience.

Professional Applications:  As soon as possible after the event, but no later than 24 hours after the conclusion, each participant should write about three specific actions they will take as a result of the development program.  Key words here: specific and actions. Stay away from platitudes and fluff.  How will you specifically apply the material you engaged during the event?  Until you do something, have you really changed or enhanced anything?  For example, you could commit to

  • review a specific process
  • use new technology
  • develop a new collaborative strategy
  • change office layout and flow
  • evaluate your meeting structure
  • examine customer service, and/or
  • model health and well-being for your colleagues.

Personal Reflections:  Beyond the practical professional implications, how did the training touch you as an individual? So as a result of the event, maybe you could

  • consider setting aside specific personal reflective time
  • change your exercise routine
  • improve your nutritional habits
  • disconnect from technology and reconnect with the people in your life (if even on a small scale)
  • set aside time to repair a relationship
  • make time to build a new relationship, and/or
  • engage in community service.

Video recommendation for the week:

For the more visually and auditorily-inclined, here is a quick explanation from me to you.

You could add a lot more.  Whatever you do, take the event you already invested a portion of your life in and make it work for you. If you are a leader, this exercise makes practical sense.  Just consider, from the basest perspective, the hourly wage of each person tied up in a workshop.  Is the ROI worth the lost wages and brand service?  How about if you send people out of state to a conference, what bang for the buck do they bring back to the team?

And from a personal perspective: Since you will never get that time back, why not make it grow for you?

One last suggestion.  Share your written thoughts with a colleague. Have her share her ideas with you. You both can serve as accountability partners.

Make it a great week. And H.T.R.B. as needed.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. Please share it (and any of the archived posts on this site) with friends and colleagues. You also can follow me on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. If you get a chance, visit my Facebook page and join in–or start–a conversation (www.facebook.com/stevepiscitelli).  If you have suggestions for future posts, leave a comment.

Check out my website (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/programs.html) for programming information as well as details about upcoming webinars  (http://www.stevepiscitelli.com/webinars).

Information on my book, Choices for College Success (3rd ed.), can be found at Pearson Education.

(c) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 



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