All posts by Ann Riley

Reason, Season, Lifetime…

Maybe you’ve read the Reason, Season, Lifetime piece. It’s a rather cutesy idea about why certain people come into your life. When I thought about work relationships, the Reason, Season, Lifetime thought came to mind.

Let me start by saying that I don’t buy into the over-simplified idea that everything happens for a reason. But after re-reading the Reason, Season piece and thinking about work/friend relationships over the years, it is sort of a cool concept.

Read Reason, Season (click below) and then think about people in your life that fit each category.

Even more interesting – think about yourself and what categories you fit in according to your experiences with family, friends, coworkers, and students. In addition to all the great people who have impacted your life, think about those who presented a struggle. Sometimes difficult experiences move us to grow or change. At the very least, we can re-frame our intentions in tough relationships as an opportunity to practice patience, tolerance, or model acceptable behavior for others.

So now you’ve had your daily dose of sugar-coated philosophy. Best wishes to everyone for a fantastic spring break.

 

Simple, not easy

Since my hero Austin Kleon writes in bullet points, I think I will too. Here are a few thoughts about dealing with difficult situations in a positive way.

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz

  • The Four Agreements is a tiny book filled with enormous wisdom.
  • Take Away Message: Don’t take anything personally.
  • “Personal importance, or taking things personally, is the maximum expression of selfishness because we make the assumption that everything is about me.” Great quote from Chapter 3, page 48.
  • Avoid the urge to be right and make everyone else wrong.
  • Bottom Line: In a difficult situation, don’t take it personally because everyone lives in their own reality. Their anger is about them, not you. Even if they say something ugly, that’s their ugliness. Don’t make it yours too.

Unconditional Positive Regard, a concept developed by the humanistic psychologist Carl Rogers.

  • Try to accept and support others without passing judgment.
  • Starting from a point of unconditional positive regard will probably improve any situation.

If all else fails, lighten your mood.

  • Imagine your current difficult situation is happening in a sitcom.
  • Think about a silly sign. Here are a few examples:

 

Steal Like An Artist

 

I don’t know how I ended up with this idea, but I love it. Thinking about dreams for improving my job led me to one of my favorite authors, Austin Kleon. I found one of his books years ago while browsing at Urban Outfitters and I’ve been a fan ever since. He writes about work and the creative process in a fun, meaningful way.

  • He writes short chapters.
  • He draws simple illustrations that make sense.
  • His books are fun to read and teach life-changing ideas at the same time.
  • He writes in lists and bullet points.
  • I love reading his stuff.

I flipped through his book, Steal Like an Artist to find inspiration for this post. So now, I’m stealing from page 108 with the following idea: Write Fan Letters. Here is a loose quote, “If you truly love somebody’s work, write them a public fan letter. Write a blog post about someone’s work that you admire and link to their site. Write something and dedicate it to your hero.”

  • Who better to write about than the author of this idea?
  • Austin Kleon, this post is dedicated to you.

Check out his website:

http://austinkleon.com

Watch a video:

Read his books:

steal like an artist Show Your Work

 

  • Whose work do you admire?
  • Write them a fan letter.
 

Catch ’em Being Good

Thank you, Louise So. Reading your post, DON’T FORGET THE GOOD ONES inspired me to write about intrinsic motivation. As an elementary school teacher, I made an effort to encourage intrinsic motivation in addition to using extrinsic rewards such as handing out stickers and saying “good job.”

I learned that if I just narrated the behavior of a student, I didn’t need to compliment or correct the student. Simply describing the scene allowed the individual to create their own intrinsic compliment or correction. For instance, if a student was totally on task and following instructions, I would announce to the class, “Jennifer wrote her name and the date on her paper and she’s highlighting the nouns and underlining our sight words.” Now, Jennifer can create her own intrinsic reward in her mind and the rest of the class is reminded of the expectation.

I think the narration technique builds intrinsic motivation. Using explicit and relevant details sends the message that I noticed Jennifer’s efforts. Recently, while grocery shopping, I noticed how nice the produce section looked. I told the produce employee, “Your produce section looks beautiful. Every item is in perfect rows.” I think he was stunned by my observation.

I imagine that’s what most of us want – to know that once in awhile someone notices our hard work, not just our shortcomings.  As adults, we don’t need stickers on a chart, but isn’t it nice when someone notices our everyday efforts? Just like the swimmers in Louise’s post, recognition of our efforts encourages us to do even better.

 

 

The Power of Vulnerability

Dr. Brené Brown is my hero. Vulnerability is one of her favorite topics. When I read the writing prompt this week, I immediately thought of Brené. She describes herself as a researcher and a story teller. That sounds like an unusual mix. However, Brené demonstrates that stories are “data with a soul.” I love that.

Rather than try to paraphrase her incredible work, I’d encourage you to invest 20 minutes and watch her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability.

http://

My hope is that Brené’s ideas will help us all lean into vulnerability. Vulnerability can lead to more happiness, so give it a try. Try to notice the connection between kindness and vulnerability. Take a chance…be mindful as you walk around campus…be the first one to make eye contact and say Hello. Challenge your students to make human connections instead of just texting. An emoji can’t compare to a warm, face-to-face smile. I think our campus workplace provides limitless opportunities to spread real-life kindness since many of us work face-to-face with human beings- all day, every day. In today’s social media world, we have the chance to promote in-person kindness.  Be brave and be kind.

 

I work here for the view…

As a student, I fell in love with the GCC experience. The first day I stepped on campus in 2007, I felt like GCC wrapped its arms around me. I sensed tremendous positive energy here. Everyone at GCC wanted me to succeed. The mission of this organization was crystal clear. Student success. I remember walking around campus, gazing up at the picturesque palm trees set against the blue Arizona sky. Walking from one class to another, I was in heaven. What a view…

I was a first generation college student who came to GCC full of hopes and dreams. I was new to Arizona and eager to make things happen as I began a new chapter in my life. During my first week of classes, I made 2 important purchases: a rolling book bag and bifocals. Being a 42 year old college freshman presented a few challenges. I quickly discovered that my books were too heavy and the print was too small…

With my new glasses and book bag, I began to understand the meaning of “life-long learning.” GCC was my dream come true…I was hooked. No book was too heavy…no print too small…

Fast forward to January 2017. Today, I’m honored to be part of the GCC Library staff. I work here now! I’ll never forget the success I felt as a student. My education at GCC was mind-expanding and life-changing. As an employee, I want to contribute to student success and help others live their best lives.

As a new employee, I’m still walking around campus at lunchtime, gazing at the palms against the blue sky and continuing to feel the joy of GCC. I guess you could say I work here for the view…