(#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.


(#326) Where Is Your Focus Space?

August 21, 2016

It seems I do some of my best thinking when I am not in my workspace.

In her book Improv Wisdom: Don’t Prepare, Just Show Up Patricia Ryan Madson suggests that we pay attention to our “hot spots.” These places feel right for us and, for whatever reason, we have a clearer view of our world.  In these spaces, we have a better than average chance of pushing distractions aside and concentrating on the important stuff in our lives.

As Madson says, we “just show up.” We don’t over prepare. We step into the space and allow our creative juices to flow.

_____________________________________

“Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.”
Soren Kierkegaard

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I think of these hot spots as unfocused spaces that allow me to focus.  That is, when I am feeling stuck (on a project, for instance) rather than force a narrowly framed decision, I find these focus spaces allow me to see broader and more creative options. I don’t force my thoughts. I allow the options to flow to me and open up a pathway for ideas to take root and begin to bloom.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

When I jotted down my creative spaces I had an “aha moment.”

  • Doing yard work.
  • Drinking a cup of coffee in a cafe.
  • Having talk-time with my bride.
  • Meditating
  • Relaxing in a hotel room.
  • Sitting in my seat during a flight.
  • Waiting on a flight in the airport.
  • Walking, sitting, or biking on the beach
  • Walking with my canine companion, Roxie
  • Working in my home office
  • Working out in the gym.

With the exception of “working in my home office,” the other ten spaces actually remove me from my day-to-day work locations and routine actions. It seems I do some of my best thinking when I am not in my workspaces.  I’m not forcing myself. When I don’t force myself to focus, I seem to focus better. This sweet spot helps me stay resilient.

Video recommendation of the week:

So, maybe, if you’re feeling stuck or you’re having difficulties stimulating the creative juices, pay a visit to your non-work focus spot. Make a list of the top places where things seem to happen for you—where ideas appear and conundrums appear to become clearer.

When was the last time you visited your focus space?

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

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

Check out my latest podcast (about ex-offenders and resilience).  You can find my podcast series at The Growth and Resilience Network (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts).

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

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


(#303) Give Your All Stars the Spotlight

March 13, 2016

Find a way to let your colleagues share what
they are proud of and how they do it.

At times, the execution of appropriate recognition can move from the sublime to the ridiculous.  I remember years ago sitting in a school auditorium during a student awards assembly that dragged on and on and on.  It seemed everyone got an award for something.  I remember a colleague turning to me and wondering when we would start calling people in from the streets for special recognition.

You probably have seen or heard of endless compliments and praise given for even the tiniest deeds (or misdeeds). Everyone is special and everything deserves special recognition.

Social media sites give “badges.”

Ridiculous? Possibly. I don’t think it’s sublime.

On the other extreme we can find the total lack of recognition. There are managers (definitely not leaders) who don’t take the time or don’t see the need to give a shout-out to their people.  Ridiculous—and worse.

Every workplace has All Stars. I don’t mean the egocentric-look-at-me-strut All Stars. I mean those who go about their calling with meaning, authenticity, and caring.  They make a difference in their work space and for the people they work for or with in that space. They lead the way. How do we recognize these folks—and share their strategies and achievements? How do we recognize these folks?

Photo: Steve Piscitelli

Photo: Steve Piscitelli

When I have the chance to work with an audience, I have the fortunate opportunity to stand in front of an auditorium full of people and “show my stuff.” I, also, like to share that opportunity with the audience in front of me. Each time I do it I am amazed (but not surprised) at what happens. Take my recent keynote on reflective practice to the faculty at Wake Technical Community College.

The organizers of the event requested I end my presentation with a fifteen minute Q + A.  I suggested to make it a Q + A + S session. Question + Answer + Sharing. I would gladly entertain any questions the audience had and I would also open the floor to the audience to share how they already incorporate reflective practice strategies in their classes. What occurred was energizing and validating. In the fifteen minutes (that could have easily gone longer), everyone who stood up in the audience shared their bright spots. Proud and full of energy they had the spotlight in front of their colleagues.  Unscripted. Unrehearsed. Unabashed. Proud! They represented the All Stars in that room.

David Castillo Dominici @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

David Castillo Dominici @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have done this elsewhere as part of training programs. Department Chairs identified their All Stars. I then incorporated them into a small piece of the program. In an upcoming program for a corporate audience I will facilitate a similar exchange.

Leaders can set aside time for their All Stars to deliver an Ignite Session. Five minutes. Quick. Poignant. Team member affirming. Team building. I saw students do this effectively at a faculty convocation in Virginia.

And if you work for a manager rather than a true leader—someone who does not get the importance of this type of genuine and authentic recognition and professional development-then do it yourself. Hold teaching circles, clearness committees, or Ignite Sessions. Tony Hsieh of Zappos speaks of encouraging collisions to foster innovation.

Video recommendation of the week: Tony Hsieh encourages “collisions” to spark innovation.

Find a way to let your colleagues share what they are proud of and how they do it. They want to hear from you as well. Time for you and your colleagues to shine and grow.

Now, that’s sublime.

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

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

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


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

February 28, 2016

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

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

All of our parts get to exist.

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

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

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

Arvind Balaraman@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Arvind Balaraman @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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

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

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

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

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

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

Make it an inspiring week as you pursue your authentic “hell, yeah!” goals.—H.T.R.B. as needed.

You can subscribe to my newsletter by clicking here.

You can find my podcast series at Growth and Resilience (http://stevepiscitelli.com/video-media/podcasts). 

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

My books Choices for College Success (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff?  (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

(c) 2016. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#267) You Get to Create the Path

July 5, 2015

We are all artists painting our own lives.

While facilitating a Texas faculty resilience workshop, I presented the following R.D. Laing quote to the audience:

The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
To change
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds.

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

Photo by Steve Piscitelli

The group reflected for a few minutes and then shared their thoughts about what the words meant to them. One audience member shared the following:

Three words came to my mind: blind spots, blinders, and blinking.
We just chose not to see, or we are just incapable of seeing what is right in front of us.
We work around the edges, on purpose, or … we don’t know what to look for…
And then what I have experienced with my students, as well as faculty, is the speed of change.
If you blink it’s gone! …With such a rapid avalanche of information it is really hard to notice anything ….”

 Author and psychologist Dan Gilbert conducted a study that found people tend to have an “ease for remembering and a difficulty for imagining.”

Failing to notice. Blind spots, blinders, and blinking. Difficulty imagining.

We need to remind ourselves that our path forward is not necessarily the same path we have taken before or the one the latest book-of-the-month suggests we follow.

Image by moggara12 @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image by moggara12 @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

No, our way has to be discovered and lived our way.  We get to create the path.  We must take the steps.

Poet Antonio Machado poignantly observed, “Travelers, there is no path, paths are made by walking.”

Mentors and coaches can help us sort things out. They can help provide or sharpen needed tools for the road. You and I, though, will need to take the steps and use the tools—or invent or re-purpose our own implements to help us move forward. The trainer in the gym can point out the equipment and show us proper form but we have to do the work. We have to take the steps.

Author Steven Pressfield muses that “The artist enters the Void and comes back with something.”

We are all artists painting our own lives. Perhaps in the Void that frustrates and scares us there already exists the path for us to travel. But to find it we need to recognize—by stripping away our blinders and blind spots—what holds us back.

Again, from Machado,

Mankind owns four things
That are no good at sea:
Rudder, anchor, oars,
And the fear of going down.

Video recommendation for the week:

 What is your dream? What is inside you?

What have you been failing to notice? What one thing can you do this week—no matter how small—that will help you create your path?

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 (3rd edition) and Study Skills: Do I Really Need This Stuff? (3rd edition) are published by Pearson Education.

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

 


(#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.

 


(#255) Did You Make A Difference? How Do You Know?

April 12, 2015

While this blog post speaks specifically to my teaching colleagues,
we can all draw inspiration and clarification
when we stop and examine what we do.

On my campus, we have two weeks of classes and a week of final exams in front of us.  The semester is quickly winding down.  Some of my colleagues are laser focused on finishing the course material. Others prepare their final assessments.  And still others, may simply be limping to the finish line, tired after a semester of grading, committee work, mandates, and student challenges.

Image: StuartMiles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: StuartMiles/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

While the natural tendency might be to rush to the end of the semester and the beginning of the summer,  this time of year affords a wonderful time to reflect on where we have been and, more importantly, where we would like to go with the next semester.  Toward that end, my blog readers who are teachers may find the following three exercises compelling.  If you are NOT a teacher, pass this along to one you know.

  1. Your Syllabus. For this reflective exercise, have a copy of your most recent syllabus in front of you. A typical review could include a look at your pacing (did you stay on target?) and your assignments/assessments (did they do what you had thought they would?). For this exercise, dig a bit deeper.Flip through the pages of your syllabus. Pause and observe the structure, the emphases, the length, recurring themes, the detail, and the appearance. Answer the following questions.
  • What theme(s) resonated throughout your syllabus?
  • What does your syllabus say about you as a teacher?
  • If this is the only thing a student had to form an opinion about you, what would that opinion be?
  • How do you know your syllabus is effective?
  • How could it be more effective?
  • How do you know?
  • What will you definitely keep for the next time around—and what will you consider revising or eliminating?
  1. Your Calling. The exercise above (Your Syllabus) focuses on a specific tool of your profession.  This exercise asks you to take a 30,000 foot view.  Think of your calling (teaching) from when you entered it until now. Reflect on the ideas and conceptions you brought to your calling.  Consider how you have grown into (or out of) the calling. Think about the significant people you have mentored or who have mentored you.
  • Based on your experiences what and who have been instructive and meaningful in your calling?
  • How have you come to know this? That is, what are you using for game film?
  • Who/What has helped you to come to this conclusion?
  • Is your passion as stronger, stronger, or weaker, than when you entered your calling?
  • Add anything else you believe would be helpful to your reflection.
  1. Difference Maker. Describe a situation in which you made a difference as a teacher—a real difference in someone’s life. It could be a student or a colleague.
  • Again, start with identifying your game film. What did you use to gather your reflections?
  • Describe the circumstances of this difference making situation.
  • What did you do?
  • Why did you do it?
  • What specific difference did you make?
  • Why do you consider this a difference maker in the person’s life?
  • How does this connect with your reasons for choosing your calling?

Video recommendation for the week:

Socrates is said to have reminded us that the unexamined life is not worth living.  Take time to day and make Socrates proud—and do yourself and those around you the service of quiet reflection.

While this blog post speaks specifically to my teaching colleagues, we can all draw inspiration and clarification when we stop and examine what we do.

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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