In a recent engagement at Dutchess Community College in Poughkeepsie, NY the task given to me by Mike Weida, Director of Student Activities, was to help get the students motivated. Whenever I hear that request, my first thought is that if you want to get your students movitaved, get them connected, communicating and out of their ruts! Often times both traditional or non-traditional students become too comfortable. Finding a level of comfort in a new environment is great at first but if “good ole comfort” stays around too long, students won’t grow or reach their full potential. It is very easy for us to return to old habits, attitudes, and relationships (the unhealthy kind) because this is what we know. Just remember in order to explore new worlds; you must be willing to leave familiar shores.
Here are three of my favorite life lessons I’d like to share that are also little thought of ways to get yourself connected, communicating and out of that same old rut!
Lesson #1 – Until you ask, the answer is always, no. Most people hate rejection. When making a request, usually the worst thing that can happen to you is for someone to tell you no. That’s it. The world will not come to an end, I assure you. Asking often saves you time, money, and energy.
Lesson #2 – Information is still King. My accountant completed my taxes a few weeks ago. The bad news is that I had to pay for his expertise. However, because of his expertise, I was able to avoid paying taxes. Having the right information makes a world of difference. In the case of your students, it’s the difference between believing that their dreams are possible or impossible. You do yourself a disservice when you are uninformed.
Lesson #3 – You can’t see the picture when you’re in the frame. Sometimes we are sure that we have all of the answers, when in fact, we are just too close to the situation. Personal leadership is all about being willing to step away from the situation in order to refocus and gain clarity. It may be difficult, but having another perspective will make you wiser and stronger.
When things aren’t going along just like you’d like them to, ask yourself these questions:
“What have I done differently so far, in order to improve my life and the lives of others?”
“Am I repeating years past or am I moving toward my dreams?”
As far as I’m concerned, motivation is an internal mechanism. Use your answers to these questions to motivate youself to get connected, stay connected and graduate!