(#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.


(#332) 100 Years of Resilience

October 2, 2016

“Life is not about me, it’s about others.”
-Frances Bartlett Kinne-

It is 1917 and Oregon beats Pennsylvania (14-0) in the Rose Bowl.  German U-boats stalk international waters. The US Supreme Court upholds the 8-hour workday for railroad workers.  The United States officially enters World War I. Babe Ruth plays for the Red Sox—and pitches Boston to a victory over the New York Yankees.

And, a little girl was born to proud parents in Iowa.  She would grow into a woman whose influence, graciousness, and concern for others would leave a meaningful impact around the world.  We would come to know this young Iowa girl as Dr. Frances Bartlett Kinne.

My introduction to Dr. Kinne came when I entered Jacksonville University as a young college freshman in August of 1971. At the time, she served as the college’s Dean of Fine Arts. Little did I know the reach and powerful influence she had and would have on so many people.

Last week, I had the opportunity to catch up with this young-at-heart-and-in-mind centenarian to record a podcast conversation for The Growth and Resilience Network™.  (You can listen to the episode on November 15, 2016.)

Steve with Dr. Kinne

Steve with Dr. Kinne

Never did I think forty-five years ago that I would be sitting in her den listening and learning quite literally at the foot of a master. A master of music, education, and human relationships. And so much more.

I heard powerful wisdom humbly presented.

img_0718

She attributes her growth as an individual directly to her parents. In her autobiography Iowa Girl: The President Wears A Dress, she states,

“My parents always taught me to be independent,
and I had a general optimism about my capacity to live
unhampered
by doubt, hesitation or fear.”

A few of the lessons that jump from that quote:

  • The importance of family;
  • The significance of role models; and
  • The power of self-confidence and optimism.

Dr. Kinne’s life resonates with optimism, grit, and resilience. Her life personified a lesson from her father, “Life is a journey, not a guided tour.”  We have to seize (and many times, make) our opportunities as we move through life. Not just to add to our resume but, rather, to embrace a greater purpose beyond listing the things we accomplish.

During our conversation, she did not want to dwell on her “accomplishments.”  Rather, she told me, “My job is to help others. Life is not about me, it’s about others.”

I thought of how many people reverse that last sentence and live by “Life is not about others, it’s about me!”  You know the folks. Those who remind you at every turn just how great or renowned they are.

For Dr. Kinne, it cannot be about that. It has to be about the people in front of her. She treats them as if they are the thought leaders, the pioneers, the all-stars. She wants to help pave the way for them.  Effective teachers intuitively know this. Transformational leaders live it.  Dr. Kinne is both.

I asked her to leave our listeners with a Call-to-Action. What would she suggest we consider doing and being in order to live a life of resilience and service to others? She answered by turning the spotlight from her to me. She talked about openness and the power of thinking about others.

Inscription by Dr. Kinne for Steve.

Book inscription by Dr. Kinne for Steve.

When I had arrived at her home early that afternoon, I found her sitting in her parlor speaking with a former student—one of the thousands that still stay connected with this “Iowa Girl” who has made such a lasting impact on our world.

As we get ready for the day, week, and years ahead, we would all do well to remember her sage teaching (by way of her father): Life is a journey, not a guided tour. What legacy will we leave?


Video recommendation for the week:

Enjoy a little bit of the musical talent of this gifted and classically trained pianist. And mark your calendar to tune in to our podcast on November 15, 2016.


Thank you, Dr. Kinne.

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 podcasts at The Growth and Resilience Network™ (http://stevepiscitelli.com/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.

 

 


(#302) Show Muscles

March 6, 2016

We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash
while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.

My trainer, Charles, recently introduced me to a new (for me) exercise in the gym.  The Multi-Hip Extension machine allows me to focus on important muscles that help support posture, lower back, stability, tone, and leg strength.  I now do 200 reps four or five times per week. I have noticed increased flexibility and improved strength.

Charles reminded me that these exercises do not work muscles that we normally see—or at the very least, they are not what he termed “show muscles.”

“Show muscles” typically get a lot of emphasis in the gym. Biceps and pectorals come to mind.  These are what others will see when a tank top is worn for emphasis and, well, show. Same for quads or well-defined calves. When developed they “show” well in shorts, skirts, or high heels. Nothing particularly wrong with that,

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic                                     @FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Often,though, the “support muscles” do not get enough attention.  And if you ignore the “support muscles” long enough it will become difficult for the “show muscles” to continue to show off! As I understand the concept, a strong and well-developed bicep will do better (be healthier/stronger/toned so to speak) with attention paid to the opposing triceps. Pecs benefit from strong back muscle groups. Quads get help from healthy hamstrings.

And there are a host of smaller and deeper muscles that further help the “show muscles” prosper. I think of the rotator cuff muscles I have had repaired in both shoulders. These are critical to my movement and fitness even though I don’t necessarily see such muscles.

As I thought more and more about this label of “show muscles” I thought of applicability in so many other parts of our lives.  We can end up doing things that look good, feel good, or make a splash while ignoring the support system behind each of those choices.  At some point, we have to pay the piper.  Consider a few examples:

1.  A few days ago, I washed my car and put the type of spray protection on the tires that make them shine. The vehicle looked great for an impending road trip. This was the “show muscle.” The next day, when I started the car I noticed a slight hesitation. It was, I thought, a warning of a weakening battery (the “support muscle”).  An hour later I had the results of a diagnostic test that showed the batter was OK—and while it could last 6 months, it may die in a few days.  I decided to beef up my “support muscle”—bought a new battery.  Better, I thought, for my car to look good and be moving on my trip than to look good and broken down on the side of the road.

2. How about the “show muscle” of expensive clothes, jewelry and other consumer items?  Is the “support muscle” of wealth building (the disciplined, unseen and sacrificial offerings made for savings and retirement) getting attention?

3. Houses can have “show muscles.” Great curb appeal. People ooh and ah as they drive by.   Unfortunately, the “support muscles” of regular maintenance—regular caulking, painting, and wood repair that might not be very sexy—may not get as much attention as the “show muscles.”  Who really notices that? No one does, until critters and moisture start undermining the structure and appearance (the “show muscles”) of the house.

4.  The person who sacrifices mightily to climb the promotional ladder at work may be going for the “show muscle”—the title, prestige, power and/or money.  In the meantime, what toll taken has been exacted on the “support muscles” of relationships and personal well-being? Is he or she even aware of the physical and emotional impact? As Charles, my trainer, reminded my listeners on a recent podcast, “How do you walk around in something you were born with and  not know anything about it or not be aware of what affects it?” 

Video recommendation of the week: This week’s spotlight turns to one of my podcast episodes about fitness and discipline.

 

6. Turn on your PC or open your tablet and all sorts of “show muscles” appear right there on the home screen.  We dig in and start using all of these great conveniences.  But what happens when we receive a notice to update our anti-virus program or install the latest OS? We tend to ignore these “support muscles” until a more convenient time or wait until the computer shuts down on its own.   (Yep, I’m guilty.)

7. My blog posts, podcasts, live events, and writing projects can fall into the category of “show muscle.”  Nothing wrong with being proud and continuing to make a difference in lives. That is great!   However, I need to pause and think of all the “support muscles” that allow me to show my stuff. A short list of “support muscle” gratitude looks like this:

· the computer tech who designed and put my computer together
· the IT people who help me at every live stage event
· the people who take the time to reach out and engage me to come to their campus or corporation
· the people in production who made my books look good (“show muscle”!) on the bookshelves
· the marketing and sales reps who sell my books
· my colleagues who inspire me
· my wife who inspires me more than all others, and
· my car that recently got me to Raleigh, N.C. for a speaking engagement this week…see #1 above.

And I can go on and on with the metaphor. You can think of even more.  Your Call-to-Action for this week is to give thanks for and be proud of those “show muscles.” Then make sure your “support muscles” get their due consideration. Those “support muscles,” after all, keep those “show muscles” strutting their stuff!

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.

 

 


(#291) Befriending Ourselves

December 20, 2015

Think of your favorite novels.  More than likely the protagonists
did not follow a straight line from the beginning to the end of the story.
Your life journey is the same. You are the hero of your story.

This past week, I reacquainted myself with a classic work by Pema Chodron. Nearly twenty years after its publication, The Wisdom of No Escape and the Path of Loving-Kindness still provides a timely reminder to “make friends with ourselves.”

Not in a self-indulging, selfie-stick kind of way.  Rather, in a healthy and mindful manner.

If you are one of those folks who can easily fall into the trap of beating yourself up ask yourself, “Why am I so hard on myself?”  “Is this helping me—and those around me?”

Give yourself a break.

chodron

Consider this.  Chodron maintains thatas soon as you begin to believe in something, then you can no longer see anything else. The truth you believe in and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” Take someone who is angry. She knows she is angry. She doesn’t like that she’s angry. She has been told by others that she needs to stop it. She sees it as a detriment. And she wants to suppress the anger. Chodron suggests a different perspective.

Someone who is very angry also has a lot of energy;
that energy is what’s so juicy about him or her…
The idea isn’t to try to get rid of your anger, but to make friends with it,
to see it clearly with precision and honesty, and also to see it with gentleness.
That means not judging yourself as a bad person,
but also not bolstering yourself up by saying,
“It’s good that I’m this way, it’s right that I’m this way. Other people are terrible,
and I’m right to be so angry at them all the time.”

Her words suggest a different mindset.

Note that she is not saying anger is good. Rather, the angry one needs to acknowledge the uncomfortable emotion, do what she can to understand it and confront it, and see how the energy attached that emotion can create (has created) positives in her life. We have to be willing to make friends with ourselves, Chodron urges. That includes all the parts—not just the parts we like.  All of our characteristics and traits have “a lot to teach us.”

We have to be willing to listen. Staying with the anger example, “making friends” with it involves “coming to know the anger and coming to know the self-deprecation” attached to it.

Video recommendation of the week:

Are we willing to turn our obstacles into bliss?

Think of your favorite novels.  More than likely the protagonists did not follow a straight line from the beginning to the end of the story. Their journeys probably looked more like a “W” with the downward sloping lines indicating barriers, obstacles, manipulations, catastrophes and challenges.  That’s what holds your interest in the story.  That’s what makes your hero, well, the hero!

And our own life journey is the same. We constantly face challenges—the downward sloping lines of our own “W.”  And we have encouraging times and high points of elation, too.

Chodron believes that

 Life is a whole journey of meeting your edge again and again.
That’s where you’re challenged; that’s where, if you’re a person who wants to live,
you start to ask yourself questions like, “Now, why am I so scared?
What is it that I don’t want to see? Why can’t I go any further than this?”

Individuals who are willing to wake up and make friends with themselves
are going to be very beneficial, because they can work with others,
they can hear what people are saying to them,
and they can come from the heart and be of use.

 We would help a friend or family member come to terms with a challenge be it with anger, self-esteem, or confidence. So why don’t we use our own Board of Directors to help us sort through things. Find mentors and wise counsel to assist as needed; to grow from the adversity; to become a better version of ourselves.

And why not befriend ourselves along the way, as well?

Make it a wonderful week—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) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#288) Advice from an Owl

November 29, 2015

This week, thanks to an owl, I will leave you
with many more questions than answers.

In our garage, I keep a shelf of baseball caps.  While my favorite and often-worn choice is my New York Yankees hat, I often times grab for a different one when I head out the door for my beach walk.  Many sport the names of cities, towns, or colleges I’ve visited. This past week I grabbed one from the bottom of the stack—and smiled as I read the embroidered words of inspiration above the bill.

Advice from an Owl

*Stay focused

*Be ‘hoo’ you are

*Glide through the dark times

*Life’s a hoot!

2015-11-27 11.47.40

I have shared “advice” and lessons of life on a few occasions that I have gleaned from our dogs over the years. And now, I gotta pass along these practical reminders from this wise Strigiform.

  • Stay focused
    • Our goals and dreams may be easy to articulate—but sometimes the difficulty comes in consistent action.
    • What do you do to stay focused and to regain focus on a day-to-day basis?
  • Be ‘hoo’ you are
    • There are times when our lives get sidetracked by what others think we should do or be. Often called “group think,” we end up going against our instincts and, instead, follow what others tell us we should do.  My friend and colleague, Ann Pearson, ably captured this dynamic in her novel Taken by Storm: Galveston 1900.
    • What do you do to maintain the clarity of who you really are? How do you stay true to the person who lurks deep within but, who may be afraid to show itself because of risk or disappointment?
  • Glide through the dark times
    • We’ve all experienced these times. They range from mild despair to outright angst and anguish. Illness, relationship troubles, financial challenges, and environmental disasters can pose situations that seem insurmountable. Regardless of the situation, many (most? all?) of us eventually not only move through the crisis, we come out the other side a better/stronger/more resilient person.
    • Perhaps you or a close friend have been experiencing a dark time. What actions have you taken in the past that helped you glide through (or muddle through) such times? Who can you lean you in these times?
  • Life’s a hoot!
    • I was recently reminded of a book I read some six or seven years ago by Norman Cousins. He spoke to the power of humor—and how that power can multiple over time.
    • What do you do to keep humor and levity in your life? No, they probably might not erase the difficult times (but, according to Cousins, they just might do that!). Maybe, though,  the light moments take the sting out of the not-so-bright moments.  How do you bring humor into your life? When was the last time you had a real belly-bring-tears-to-your-eyes laugh? Sometimes it may help to recognize that kid inside of us.  Go ahead, shut your office door…I’ll wait.  Now sing along with the owl in the clip below.

Video recommendation of the week:

Sometimes we just need to listen.

There are owls who live in the park across the street from our house. At times they grace one of the trees in our front yard.  I listen to them I bit more closely now. Both for what they say and don’t say.

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

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) 2015. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.

 


(#249) A Life Well-Lived

March 1, 2015

Yesterday, our Buddy arrived at the end of his nearly 15-year journey
and crossed over the rainbow bridge. To say there is a hole in our hearts at the moment is a gross understatement. But,  we have to remember that Buddy touched us as he did so many others he met on his journey.  He leaves lessons and a life well-lived.

Years ago I read Tuesdays with Morrie the story of a dying professor and one of his past students.  The reader is taken on the emotional journey of Morrie’s slow demise. There were moments of humor, tears, and life lessons. The author, Mitch Albom, weaves a tapestry of life with meaning.

In one scene, Albom asked Morrie how he envisioned his final day of life here on earth.  While I don’t recall the exact details, I remember that it was simple.  A walk in the park, time with friends, hugs with family.  And then it would be time.  A life well-lived.

Yesterday, our Buddy arrived at the end of his nearly 15-year journey and crossed the rainbow bridge. As often happens with “old age,” Buddy had physically and cognitively slowed down considerably. He could no longer enjoy (or make) his way to the beach. In the last two months it was becoming increasingly evident that he was not going to recover from his many maladies.  But his spirit kept him (and us) going.

Buddy

(Buddy in his younger days.)

Heck, on this past Christmas Day he showed his good nature and neighborliness by dressing up as Santa’s “Rein-dog” to help deliver holiday cheer to our neighbors.

Buddy 001

A few years ago on this blog I wrote about lessons that Buddy taught us. The short list:

  1. Treat each experience as the first.
  2. Explore often.
  3. Be curious.
  4. Smile, greet, repeat.
  5. Don’t miss a meal—or a snack.
  6. Bark as needed.
Image: kangshutters @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: kangshutters @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  1. Pull at the leash.
  2. Nap as needed.
  3. Enjoy a massage.
  4. Unconditionally love.
  5. Hold no grudges.
  6. Licks of love.

In his last couple of days, Buddy got to meet and greet his four-legged friends at his favorite renewal hangout (Pooches Playhouse) and spend peaceful time with his family. And we were able to recount and be thankful for the life lessons he taught us. To say there is a hole in our hearts at the moment is a gross understatement. But,  we have to remember that Buddy touched us as he did so many others he met on his journey.

Indeed, many lessons taught and a life well-lived.

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.

 


(#203) I Don’t Have Time To Grow Old!

April 13, 2014

Complete the following:
“If  you don’t have time to ______ then when will you ____?

A little secret about this blog: I generally do not know what I will write about until Thursday or Friday.  I then type my first rough draft and let it sit for 24 hours or so before I revise and post.  I have not created a long list of titles or topics or thoughts to write about.  But without fail, each week I am inspired by something I read, observe or that happens to me.  That has been one of the benefits of staying focused on posting each week (now at 203 continuous weeks and counting!).  I am always on the lookout for something noteworthy and life-affirming.

This week’s inspiration came from one of our 5 a.m. workout crew at the local gym.  Joe is an affable retiree who is sneaking up on octogenarian status.  As we were working out at nearby stations we were both extolling the benefit of our early morning regimens.  Joe then said, “I just don’t have time to grow old!”

I loved it!  And told him I was immediately appropriating his aphorism.

Another one of the gym “residents,” Bobby, often quips that “Motion is the lotion” when he speaks about the benefit of constantly exercising and stretching our bodies.

Image: Naypong/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: Naypong/
FreeDigitalPhotos.net

And both of these gentlemen reminded me of a college student I tutored more than 20 years ago.  That young 20-something opened one of our sessions with an insight he had finally gained: “Staying up to date is so much easier than catching up!”

The wisdom from each of these men is profoundly simple—and so often ignored.

That got me to thinking about completing this question:

“If  you don’t have time to ______ then when will you ____?

If, for instance, we “let our body go” it will become more difficult to get back into the healthy routine of diet and exercise than if we had remained on task.  If you don’t have time to go to the gym, eat healthy, get enough sleep or whatever else you need to do then when will you have the time to be sick and retreat to our bed or the sofa to recover? If you don’t have time to work out now, then when will you be able to when your body is weak and stiff?

Like the student who wants to do extra credit to bring up a grade point average. If you don’t have time to do the required work, then when will you have time to do extra work?

If you don’t have time to tend to and nurture a relationship, then when will you have time to mend that relationship?

If you don’t have time to plan for your financial future when you have the years to build the wealth, then when will you be able to do it once you need that money?

If you don’t have time to stop and put gas in the car, are you telling me you will have the time to wait on a tow truck?  How about if you don’t have time to put gas in your energy tank?  Then when will you have time to recharge your batteries?

What we create now, we reap later.


Video recommendation for the week:

Are you growing old or growing up?


Thanks, Joe, for the reminder.  We will all age—but we don’t have to grow old.  I know I don’t have time for that either.

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

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

(c) 2014. Steve Piscitelli. All rights reserved.


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