Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

Set Goals to Improve Focus… Ask Questions, Be More Likable… Habits of Resilient People

Set Goals to Improve Focus 

Setting goals improves focus and productivity. Here’s why.

Goals spark action. Setting a clear objective generates action, plain and simple. But rather than targeting vague goals, (I want a car) experts say setting specific goals yields results (Save $2000 by December for down payment on used Jeep.)

Goals set focus. Once a goal has been set, behavior to attain that goal follows.

Goals create momentum. Seeing progress leads to future action, which nets more progress, which creates momentum to attain the goal.

Goals build belief in self. Achieving goals builds character, confidence, and self-efficacy.

Boss, J. (2017, January 19). 5 reasons why goal setting will improve your focus. Forbes. Retrieved from

Ask Questions, Be More Likable

Harvard researchers have found that people prefer conversation partners who ask them questions—at least three. It’s called the Three Questions Rule, and it works because asking questions and actively listening to responses signals caring. Not surprisingly, people prefer those who seem to care about them.

However, the researchers discovered it’s not enough to simply ask any question. The questioner needs to ask something that will require follow up. In other words, a breezy How’s your day? as you pass someone’s workspace won’t work unless several more specific questions follow: Were you able to obtain permission to use that image you liked? What do you think about the new marketing plan?

This back-and-forth shows interest and generates goodwill because asking genuine questions indicates respect for another person, which in turn helps create true relationships, the researchers conclude.

Haden, J. (2021, April 19). Harvard researchers say this mindset matters most: Follow the rule of 3 questions to be more likable. Inc. Retrieved from

Habits of Resilient People

Building resiliency—the ability to cope with a crisis and move on—can be learned. Below are some ways to cultivate resilience.

Expect setbacks and rejection.  Everyone suffers setbacks, but resilient people face the challenge and move on.

Give up comfort and accept growing pains. While taking the comfortable path sounds good at the moment when discomfort arises, facing growing pains actually helps to move past them.

Postpone instant gratification. Don’t expect prompt payoff. Instead, focus on the long term.

Remember failures. By recalling obstacles you’ve overcome, you realize you have the strength to bounce back.


Identify self-doubts. Face the petty doubts that cramp your work style. Rein them in rather than letting them run you.

Finally, be kind to yourself when you experience failure. You’ll bounce back faster.

Robinson, B. (2020, November 30). 10 habits of highly resilient people.  Psychology Today. Retrieved from



The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive… A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way… An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance

The Best Career Advice? Stay Positive

Suggestions about LinkedIn profiles, networking, and résumés are important, but the most critical piece of career advice is to have unshakable faith in yourself and your ability to meet your goals, says CEO and long-time recruiter Jack Kelly.

Kelly writes in Forbes that when searching for a job or trying to move up within an organization—both of which can be demoralizing experiences—job seekers must believe in themselves. He notes that if self-doubt and fear creep in, those defeatist thoughts must be purged to attain a successful outcome.

Kelly points out that every endeavor has its challenges, including the job search and career advancement, and says occasionally being treated poorly is part of working life. But during those trying times, the secret to moving ahead is to persist in positivity no matter what has happened. He suggests visualizing being seated in the office of one’s dreams, feeling hopeful about the future, and focusing on the end goal despite what the present looks like.

Once job candidates have landed that job or gotten that raise, they should put the bad times in perspective, Kelly suggests. That six-month unemployment  or two years working toward a promotion is but a fleeting moment in a long professional life.

Source: Kelly, J. (2020, October 7). The most important piece of advice no one tells you. Forbes. Retrieved from

A Little Kindness Goes a Long Way

Whether you are a professor teaching remotely or the CEO of a global organization, a simple human act of kindness is a fundamental strategy that leaders should practice, especially during the pandemic, say Harvard Business School professors Boris Groysberg and Susan Seligson.

Through compassionate listening and conscious validation of people’s fears, leaders can help others who are dealing with the obstacles brought on by the pandemic. The authors note that kindness can be learned the same way muscles strengthen from exercising, and practicing kindness nets results by increasing morale and performance and decreasing stress. Just a few phrases said in earnest can help justifiably anxious students or employees weather this difficult time. Some examples follow.

  1. I hear you.
  2. Are you okay?
  3. What can I do to help?
  4. How are you managing these days?
  5. I’m here for you.
  6. I know you’re doing the best you can.
  7. Thank you.
Groyson, B. & Seligson, S. (2020, November 1). Good leadership is an act of kindness. Harvard Business School. Retrieved from

An E-Mail Free Summer (Well, Almost) for Work-Life Balance 

Many instructors are e-mail obsessed, manically checking correspondence and not resting until their inboxes are clear. But those are the same instructors who will undoubtedly suffer from burnout, especially if they continue to repeatedly check e-mail and wait for timely responses over the summer break.

One instructor claims to have found a happy solution, outlined here:

  • Establish an away message.
  • Check weekly, not daily.
  • Respond on Mondays only.
  • Remove the e-mail app from your phone.
  • Put away your laptop in the evenings.
  • Delete unnecessary e-mails without responding.
  • Remember the world will keep turning if you do not respond to every e-mail.

Waiving SAT, ACT Causes Huge Uptick in Applications to Top Schools… Grab Hiring Managers’ Attention… Novel System Improves Note-Taking

Waiving SAT, ACT Causes Huge Uptick in Applications to Top Schools

Another casualty of the pandemic was the college application process for the class of 2025.

When social distancing measures resulted in students’ inability to sit for the SAT and ACT tests, many of the Ivies and other highly sought-after colleges decided not to use them as part of the calculus for admissions. This led thousands of students who otherwise would not have applied to do so, overwhelming admissions officers at campuses across the country and potentially creating a freshman class unlike previous ones.

© The Wall Street Journal

Without the test scores–which critics say favor students from wealthy households—admissions committees were forced to gauge a student’s potential for success at their institutions by relying on a more holistic approach, which may have benefitted non-traditional students.

Another factor affecting the profile of the class of 2025 is the broader pool of applicants. This application season allowed students from rural areas as well as Black and Latinx students to partake in virtual rather than in-person tours, further opening up the possibilities for a very different freshman class.

How this experiment will play out is anyone’s guess. Experts say colleges won’t know what their classes of 2025 will look like until enrollment begins for the fall semester.

Source: Korn, M., & Belkin, D. (2021, March 16). College admission season is crazier than ever. That could change who gets in. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https//

Grab Hiring Managers’ Attention

When applying for a position, job hunters have to make a good impression instantly, and that means grabbing hiring managers’ attention with a compelling e-mail. Experts offer pointers about how to attract the right eyes to a job application e-mail.

  1. Craft a clear subject line. Don’t try for cute or catchy—indicate the exact job you’re going for.
  2. Address a specific person. Do the research to find the correct individual to read the e-mail. Dear Sir or Madam is a deal-killer to most hiring managers.
  3. Describe what you can provide. Hirers want to know what skills and talents a new-hire will bring to the position. Never write about what the job would do for your career.
  4. Show you want to work. Be enthusiastic about the company to which you are applying. Refer to an actual motivator that drew you to the organization, such as hearing an interview with the CEO, listening to a company executive’s speech, or admiring the firm’s involvement in the community.
  5. Customize each e-mail. Tailor your application e-mail to the specifics listed in the job spec. Never use a template when applying for a job.
Source: Leibowitz, S., Cheong, W., Teng, M. (2021, January 24). How to write an email that gets the hiring manager’s attention at your dream company. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Novel System Improves Note-Taking

Whether in a lecture or a meeting, taking meaningful notes can be challenging. Writer Ria Tagulinao came up with a system that may take you from gibberish to an organized way of revisiting details you want to remember.

Tagulinao divides her notes into four categories she labels “mind banks” and creates sections for each. She either divides one sheet of paper into four sections or uses notebook with tabs. When she takes notes, she puts information into the category that best represents what she wants to keep track of. Her four categories are:

Question bank—Ideas you didn’t understand or want to learn more about

Minutes bank—Important concepts, new ideas, factual information, quotations, or key takeaways

Idea bankAha! moments such as an idea for a new project or a thought about something you’re working on

Reaction bank—Opinions, thoughts, ideas that come as you listen

Note-taking not only serves as a repository for what was said. Research suggest that we retain information better when we handwrite our notes than when we type them in class using a notebook or laptop.

Tagulinao, R. (2020, October 14). A better note-taking system for your scattered brain. Retrieved from