A change of pace…

Hello!
I’ve decided to change the title of this blog to “The Curious Commuter” due to the amount of thinking and idea generating that I do while driving about 3,000 miles a month.

Many of these ideas are shot from mind to media via twitter (@Jginese23) and expanded on from there. In the past I’ve used Twitter as nothing more than a place to read interesting shared articles and participate in a conversation here or there. Once I started to tweet my random thoughts and ideas on Twitter this past weekend, some people found interest and encouraged me to run with a few of them. (thanks @LittleJame @dawnpappas @jenontheblock @carolyngolz)

Now my interest is peaking and my brain is working overtime – constantly observing (and participating) in the life that is happening around me while thinking what could be done differently or more efficiently.

For example, http://twitter.com/JGinese23/status/14111885661 or perhaps this http://twitter.com/JGinese23/status/14111992728.

So now I will try to post an idea every day here that I thought about during my ride into work.

Stay tuned…you may be inspired, entertained, or perhaps confused.

Rock on,

Joe



What versus Why

As seen on www.LandmarkLeadership.org – 5/6/2010

Martin Luther King Jr. said the words that have been repeated by millions of teachers, administrators, students, leaders…”I have a dream.” Little did those people who went to listen to him that hot August day in 1963, know that his “dream” would come to fruition and would go on to inspire all 200,000 of them in attendance.

Would go on to inspire a country…

Would go on to inspire…change

Would go on to inspire…ACTION

Simon Sinek explains in an intriguing 18-minute TED talk that people don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it. His argument is enlightening, interesting, and in a word, fascinating. In fact, watching that may help you better understand where I am coming from as I continue this blog entry…click on the link and watch…I’ll wait…

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Isn’t the material he gives about Apple raising your eyebrows? It gets better…keep watching.

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Ok you should be done by now.

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Think about that as you enter your next job search.

Think about that as you plan out your next staff retreat.

Think about that as you ponder what you are doing in your current position: would students/faculty/staff “buy” what you are “selling” if they saw you in “action”?

Which brings me back to Dr. King – people did not follow him and his words because he was a fantastic orator, or because he dressed sharply, or because he went to exotic locations. He was particularly ordinary by many means – an educated, well spoken reverend was/is not hard to find. However the way in which he did it – with the passion, the thoughtfulness, the drive, the humility, and the faith were qualities harder to find and those are the reasons people followed him (IMHO).

They believed in his message but not because he was speaking but because he was preaching. Preaching, not speaking, not lecturing, not talking, but preaching with the full faith and devotion of someone who was committed not because it was the right time to say it but because it needed to be said.

As Mr. Sinek points out Dr. King gave the “I have a dream” speech, not the “I have a plan” speech. Dr. King wasn’t pitching a plan or a strategy; he was stating his beliefs with the fervor and passion that others envied.  It was that envy that brought others to a point that it inspired them to take action.

Do you as a professional act in ways that inspire others to take action? Do you as a professional take action? Do your students and colleagues listen to you speak or do they hear you preach?

It’s May which means year-end reports, budget planning, and time to look back on the pool of assessment you’ve done throughout the year. After reading through the reports, the assessments, the evaluations…sit back for a second and write on a whiteboard or piece of paper, “I have a dream…” and let your staff (and yourself!) finish the sentence keeping in mind Mr. Sinek’s theory;

People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.

Rock on,

Joe

Puddles (as seen on LandmarkLeadership.org)

It’s April which means student leadership position applications are typically due resulting in a plethora of colored paper, e-mail messages, and students dressed in their interpretations of business casual outfits for interviews. It also means long days, longer nights, and never-ending weeks during which Saturday night banquets and Sunday afternoon training sessions are the norm for many student affairs professionals.

April also brings along with it lots of rain, and with rain comes puddles.  Along with these puddles comes wet shoes and soggy pant legs, resulting in either walking around the office barefoot, leaving your feet to eventually resemble a giant prune, or perhaps heading to the restroom to do the one legged balancing act of putting your foot under the hand dryer.

Think back for a moment to when you were a child and it was raining outside…did you stay in and watch movies? Perhaps you took the time to polish your Scrabble skills against anyone willing to play? Or did you go outside and jump in the puddles?

Wait, what exactly is the connection between the month, the rain, the puddles, and wet feet?

Well, they morph together to form my philosophy and attitude during one of the more stressful times of the year, both for professionals and students. Jump in puddles.

I jumped in puddles. What little kid sees a giant puddle of water and doesn’t immediately want to stomp in it to see how much of a splash they can make? A simple half-inch to an inch of water in a parking lot or yard can entertain an adventurous child for a few minutes to a few hours. The question is, why? Why when little kids see a puddle do they feel the need to jump in it and make a splash?  Perhaps so they can walk proudly about with their drenched pant legs and sponge-like sneakers? Perhaps to anger the adult walking by them who had hoped to escape the scene without getting wet?

I tend to believe that it is the pure satisfaction that, for a moment, nothing else matters except for the most simple pleasures in life.  It never seems to get old, they can (and will when allowed) jump from puddle to puddle to puddle without ever losing a bit of enthusiasm. It’s not reckless behavior; it is just the fun of being a kid because jumping in puddles is acceptable when you’re a kid.  But since when does enjoying life’s simplest adventures cease beyond 10 years of age?

Imagine for a second that it was raining out right now and you notice there is a huge puddle in the parking lot near your car.  Would the kid in you fight the urge to run through it because you’d be worried about what people thought or you’d find yourself concerned that you’d ruin your shoes or pants or dress? Why do we lose that excitement? When does it become unreasonable for an adult to, even for the slightest moment, indulge a childish urge to run through a puddle?

When supervising or advising students, particularly those who are returners or rising seniors, I tell them to never lose the excitement of jumping in a puddle. The puddle in this case could be their 3rd year serving as an Orientation Leader, or a Resident Assistant, or Information Desk worker (or all three!). They shouldn’t lose a bit of the excitement they had in their first day, week, or year on the job and neither should we.

So as you are in the midst of the April showers of applications, interviews, banquets, and trainings take some time to remember the satisfaction of jumping in a puddle. Try to revive the child-like excitement and satisfaction and let your inner-child lose at least once this April and go jump in a puddle with your students or your office (or both!). I doubt many people remember the puddles they jumped in when they were kids, but you will always remember the one time you did with your staff as a grown-up.

Rock on,

Joe