Brandon: [00:00:00] [00:00:00]
Well, hello friends and welcome to the Real Secrets of Magic podcast. I'm your host, Brandon and on today's program I'm thrilled to have my friend Rockell Bartoli, who is a speaker and author and a scholarship coach for high school students who are seeking away into college. Rockell, or can I call you Rocky on the show?
Rockell: [00:00:33] Sounds good.
Brandon: [00:00:34] Awesome. Thanks so much for joining me. It's I've been looking forward to having this chat for a little while now, and so glad you could carve out the time.
Rockell: [00:00:43] Yes. And thank you for having me. I'm excited to, to connect with you and to answer your questions and bring any value that we can to your listeners.
Brandon: [00:00:53] Yeah, and I love that you start right off the bat talking about value. That's, that's the name of the game on this show. [00:01:00] And for those who are new to the program, you may have come here hoping to learn about magic tricks or illusions or sleight of hand. And while I love talking about all of those things that's actually not the purpose of this show.
So the real secrets of magic are really about the practices that magic makers are using to create new possibilities. And Rockell, I know, I know you from some of the work that we've shared together. But would you mind sharing a little bit for the listeners and viewers, tell us a bit about the magic that you get to make on a regular basis with your clients.
Rockell: [00:01:38] Right. So I like, I like that you position it as magic. Because when you're doing the work, sometimes it doesn't feel like magic, you know, especially when things don't work out the way that you expect it to. But then when you get to see the fruit of your labor, then it does. It feels like magic, like it feels great.
And so all of my work, [00:02:00] my heart-work like the center of my heart and the things that I do is working with students. I do a lot of work with first-generation students, high school students, college students, and my goal and my work is to help students to realize their potential, to tap in to that potential and to develop the habits that they need to succeed in school and work and life.
And so when I work with students, I'm not just thinking about their right now. I'm thinking about when they buy their first home, when they get married, when they have kids, when they decide to switch careers. And so a lot of that is just helping them get through the hurdles that they're facing now and keeping them focused on their vision.
So whether that's, I want to go to college, but I can't afford it. Okay. Let's look at scholarships. Let's look at you know, those financially savvy habits that you need to develop or, not feeling like you're good enough or feeling like things are getting too tough. And just sometimes it's really little things that students probably have heard before.
But I know in my work with [00:03:00] students, you have to be repetitive and the message has to hit them at the right time in order for it to make sense. So I get to do that as a high school guidance counselor as a professional speaker, as a scholarship coach. And and yeah, I really enjoy working with students.
Brandon: [00:03:17] That's fantastic, the stuff that you do. And I resonate with the magic that you're making as, as as it pertains to building communities and building a better world. I think the greatest resource we have to do so, are the people within it, and, and you're in the business of developing students into the, into their fullest potential.
If there's anything more magical than that, show me, show me what it is. That feels like really important work. For sure. And, and you've already addressed a couple of things right off the top, but I love that you mentioned the habits piece, and of course that's the title of your [00:04:00] first book Success Habits.
Rockell: [00:04:03] Yeah.
Brandon: [00:04:04] Would you, can you tell us a bit about the book and, and where, what are some of the habits you think students, maybe they hear about all the time, but regularly ignore or overlook?
Rockell: [00:04:16] Yeah, definitely. So I think most people know that your habits play a major role and becoming a better version of yourself, reaching your goals, et cetera.
And it's just being you know, repetitive about the good things more than the bad things. I try to boil it down as simple as that. And so when it comes to working with students you know, just having good habits on social media is something, number one, you have to bring to their attention. And number two, constantly talk about, you know, your brands and how you show up on social media and, you know, being careful of the things that you post and share, et cetera, especially if you're on track to go to college, get scholarships, internships.
And even if you're just looking for a job, [00:05:00] knowing that people are watching you. So that's something that, you know, seems very basic, but students have to be taught. What are the best habits when it comes to social media? Habits, just like with time management, like I know for myself when I get on the computer, if I have way too many tabs open, like I'm just all over the place.
And so the distractions, what distracts you? Is it your phone? Is it having the additional tabs? Especially right now with the pandemic and a lot of students doing school virtually, even my own son who's in the fourth grade, I've had to have the conversation with him that you cannot pull up YouTube on the side while you're in class.
Even if you think that you're done. Okay. We just don't do that. So you know, just those basic things whether it's your, you know, your distractions when it comes to school stepping outside of your comfort zone, you know, taking advantage of opportunities, utilizing your resources. So you don't feel like you're, you're doing life by yourself.
[00:06:00] And in my presentations, I always remind students that no one who is successful ever got to that, to that destination, or continues that destination on their own. Usually they have a community or people to support you. So use what you have, so it takes less time to get to where you want to go. So yeah, so those are some of the basic habits and principles that we need to hear over and over again.
And continue to develop each and every day.
Brandon: [00:06:28] Yeah, that's totally myself included, of course. Right? It's like the human machine. We're, we're inundated with distractions and more and more of them all the time and building the self-awareness to know. I think for, for me even to have the light bulb go off in the back of my mind and say, "You're distracted right now. This isn't what you're meant to be doing." And catch myself and like, Oh, well, you know, sort of shake myself back to reality. What an effective tool or important tool, even if I [00:07:00] don't use it all the time.
You did mention right off the top that you like that I call it magic, but it doesn't always feel like magic in the moment when you're doing the work.
And I think that's so poignant because as a, as a conjurer, as a performance artist, I know that I can, I could perform a six minute routine with cards that feels really magical in the moment with the audience. But it's also taken me a year or two years or longer to put in the practice to make that six minutes feel magical.
And, and this is one of the things I try to impress on people through this program is that we're all capable of magic, but it's not the magic that we think it's not like we can snap our fingers and suddenly make all these changes. It has to come from regular practice leaning in and building the right habits that feel super boring at the time. But amount to something much greater than they seem.
[00:08:00] I'd love to know. Where did you learn the importance of habits? Like I know you're a bit about your own personal story, but can you tell us, how did you get from high school? Let's say to where your you are now and the work that you're doing.
Rockell: [00:08:17] Great. So going up as a first gen student. So mom, didn't go to college. Dad didn't go to college. No one really in my circle was in college. But I think for me, I was just intrinsically motivated. I knew based on my situation and my environment and what I was seeing that I wanted something better.
So that got me to at least do my application and do the FAFSA, which was just horrendous back then, like that was in itself was like a reason not to go to college like that FAFSA form.
Brandon: [00:08:52] For, for those Canadian folks listening, what's the form of facile?
Rockell: [00:08:57] FAFSA FAFSA, F AF S [00:09:00] A - the financial aid form that we fill out in order for you to identify how much money the government is going to pay for you to go there college.
So you fill that out and sometimes you, you get all the money you need, and sometimes you get a little bit of money and sometimes you get no money depending on how much your parents make. So luckily for me, my mother was broke as a joke, and I got a decent amount of. FAFSA. I say that was the one time that it was cool to be broke.
Yeah, because I got the money. I needed to pay initially - still ended up taking out student loans, but anyways, that's a whole nother story. And so, you know, I, I dealt with challenges in college, but I think as I was making my way and. I'm really in tune with myself and self-awareness, and I take time to reflect.
And so, as I was making progress, I would look back and say, wow, I did that. I was able to do that. I was able to do that. And I [00:10:00] think those things that along the way gave me confirmation that if I continue to do things similar to. You know what I did for goal A and goal B and goal C. So it just became a part of my habits.
Like, Oh, it's just repetition. Like it's not always the same thing, but if I keep doing this, then the odds are I'm going to get that. So I think that's just kind of how it works and it's very basic to understand, like a lot of repetitions of the right things will put you on the path to the things that you want to get, will it always be perfect?
No. Will you face challenges? Yes. That's why it's really important to, to be aware of what tools you have when the challenges come up. So whether it's my friends or people that support me, whether it's a YouTube station, because I can't get through the math and I need additional help, but just be really you know, aware of what you can use to support you as you're going along the way.
Brandon: [00:10:58] Brilliant advice. [00:11:00] Having the self-awareness like, I, I like you already mentioned, but to know what's in your toolbox and, and, and know how to use it or when to use it are two levels of, of awareness. And I wonder if that's, I mean, I feel like that's learned for a lot of people that, that self-awareness, I don't know that everybody is born with this notion and it sounds like you've had a lot of success in, in all through your journey and being able to, to apply these things and recognize, Oh, when I did that, I achieved my goal. So I'm going to do that again. I wonder, is there is there a thing that you had to learn the hard way? Is there a habit or a practice that you wouldn't mind sharing with us that you didn't figure out until a little bit later on in, in your journey?
Rockell: [00:11:50] Yeah, so I guess the opposite end to that is learning that you can't do the same thing over and over again and expect [00:12:00] a different outcome. So I did that when I first started college and I struggled with math. And so I failed my math class more times than I would have liked to. And I realized that the habit there was continuing to do the same thing and thinking like, okay, it's just going to go away or it's going to get better.
So I had to switch my habits and actually show up at the math lab, actually get the tutoring actually kind of get rid of this funky attitude I had towards what I was going through. And recognizing that when someone gives you advice or help that you actually got to implement it, maybe not all the time, but if you want to see a change.
You can't complain and cry to people like, Oh, this is going on, you know? And the people are giving you advice or giving you resources, giving you support, you don't use it. And then you're right back in the same place. So that was also like, you know, same thing with the habits. Like I kept doing the same thing and it's like, okay, you're not moving [00:13:00] anywhere.
All right. And then I finally got frustrated and I said, okay, let me go do the things that these people have been telling me to do all this time. And it was like, okay, makes sense. So, yeah, that was not fun, but I learned my lesson.
Brandon: [00:13:11] That's fascinating too. Right? It's like, there's a sense of tension there because on one hand, success comes from doing things repeatedly over and over then leaning into them.
But on the other hand, if you're not doing the right thing repeatedly, And you don't know that you're not doing the right thing repeatedly, you know, you don't know to change that thing. And, and as you say, maybe people are screaming at, you know, change, change the thing. But you, we, we might be so steadfast to what our ego says is right.
Or what we think we know that we're reluctant to change. Right. So. Which maybe is a nice segue into your work with students. Because I have a lot of experience working with high school students and, and some college students. I know you have tons of experience with high school students and [00:14:00] college students and even younger maybe.
And if there's one group of people I know to be particularly resistant to advice, It's students and you are not only giving advice, but you're helping students who have faced tremendous barriers and you're helping them get into colleges and university programs and, and even discovering potential in themselves.
They didn't know was there what. What do you do? Do you have an approach to working with students to help them see that the advice you have to offer is really valuable for them? Is there a way to help them get past their own mental barriers?
Rockell: [00:14:43] Well, I think for me, I bring a lot of authenticity to the table and I'm really silly with my students and they, and when I speak to them I speak to them from a place of encouragement and I speak to them from a place of like, I have to [00:15:00] take a dose of my own medicine even today. So I always tell them, you know, whatever I'm sharing with you, it's not like a one and done type of thing. Even when I talk to you about self care and I'm reminding you to take yourself care seriously, it's just a reflection to remind myself, to take my self care seriously. So I always let them know like what I'm speaking to you are those same things that I need reminders of it.
That I need to focus on and no, one's perfect. And, and that we're all a work in progress. So I think when they see that I'm coming from a place of relate-ability and I understand where you're going through and I share my failure, plus my success and just remind them that we're all growing. Then they're a little more receptive.
And then I'm also aware that when I work with students, like change happens over time. So even if we have this one encounter a couple encounters, a couple encounters I might not see the fruit of my labor, for example, working in a high [00:16:00] school. Sometimes it's not until that ninth grader that I got four years ago is now a senior.
And I'm like, You know, wow, you put me through a lot of work, but I'm so proud of you, you know? So it took like four years when this ninth grader came in, just rough and hardcore, and doesn't want anybody to show any affection. Doesn't want to do any work. And now you have this senior getting ready to graduate from high school. And so it took four years to get there. So I know that I'm just an additional layer of what that student or person needs just like me. I can- I've heard things a million times and I know how important it is and I know I need to, to categorize, but life gets busy. So the things I heard yesterday that are really important between yesterday and today, they've kind of moved down. And so I need to hear self care again. Boom. Okay. So it's a reminder. I got to take care of my self care. So you know, students are even more like that. Like you told them something one day, they're motivated one day by the next day. It's like, I don't want to do this anymore. So, [00:17:00] you know, you just got to keep showing up, keep showing up for them and do the best you can.
Brandon: [00:17:04] That's that's great. It's an, it's a habit in itself, right? You're teaching students habits and living the habit of continuing to show up for, for students reminding of the habits they need... it's habits all the way down. I love it. I love it. What great practices and and such important work as, as mentioned.
Maybe I can ask you a little more pointed question about your, your newest venture. As I understand it, I know you're now you call yourself a scholarship coach. Can you talk a bit about what's involved with that kind of work and, and yeah, where's, where's the big value that you offer students there?
Rockell: [00:17:47] Right. So I have I'm founder of the Scholar Budget. And so the Scholar Budget is basically there to help students to become more financially savvy sooner than later, and [00:18:00] to help those who are interested to earn a degree with little to no debt. So I, myself am still paying my student loans and it's the one thing that if I could go back in time and change, I would have done things very differently. And so through my work with students, I have created a system that helps students to effectively search for scholarships, apply for scholarships and become consistent about it. And the way I see it as if a student starts in ninth grade and they continue applying every single year until they graduate from college.
That's about eight years. And if you're consistent, even if your goal is just to complete five scholarships a month, you are going to get something. Which is money that you don't have to pay back, which is less student loans you have to take out, especially if the FAFSA or whatever other financial aid programs aren't going to help you to pay.
So my goal is just to knock down one more barrier that students face when it comes to college and also to [00:19:00] help them develop financially savvy skills now versus.
Brandon: [00:19:06] Yeah, I wish you were around when I was a kid too Rocky. I remember what I was going to say, as you were talking about about that and reflecting on the skills that I wish I had when I was younger.
I know not all of my listeners are, I have a few people who tune in and are students. We have a few students on that, that tune into the show. We have a few educators that tune into the show, but we also have people that are not in the field of education. And maybe aren't so interested in how to better engage students, but I think there's so much value in what you said about how you reach students by being authentic and by, by being on the same team, positioning yourself as somebody who's also growing with the lessons and not just having the lessons to divulge.
There there's something tremendously powerful in that for anybody [00:20:00] who's trying to build a team or build a relationship and better communicate. So I, what a model you are for, for us and for me to learn how to better engage other people. And I want to wrap things up. Shortly, but there is one more question I want to ask.
And it is of course, based off of the show, which is called the Real Secrets of Magic. I want to know, is there a secret practice that you have that maybe you don't talk about a lot or that maybe if you told somebody it was related to your success, they might raise an eyebrow and wonder like, huh? That you consider that to be a part of your recipe.
Is there something that you do on a regular basis that you feel like has, has disproportionately contributed to your success now?
Rockell: [00:20:52] I think a bit of self-reflection and self-awareness, I think those two things have [00:21:00] helped me tremendously, especially in those moments where like, I want to win and I'm not winning and whatever that looks like, whether it's in business or school or whatever it is.
Yeah. And so just remembering those times that I did win or things did go well, and then reevaluating, what do I need to change? Or, or, or do I just need to be patient? And so I talked to myself a lot, not out loud, but, you know A lot of reflection, a lot of conversations, you know? And and yeah, so I think it's my self-awareness and my self reflection and that, that ripples across all areas of my life, even in my marriage, even with my kids it's that constant self-reflection like, how can I become a better mother?
Or if I screamed at one of my kids, I'm having a moment of evaluation, like, Ugh, I could have done that differently. So tomorrow I'm going to have a conversation with them about XYZ, or even when I'm working and evaluating my time, like, [00:22:00] okay, last weekend I did a lot of work this week and I need to be more intentional about my time with the kids.
So, you know, and I'm really good about accountability. So if there's an area where I feel like I'm really. Not doing well in, and I need the support. I will find someone to hold me accountable. Because I know that works for me, someone like, Hey, Rocky, you need to get this together or you're doing too much of this.
So I would say a bit of self-reflection self-awareness and accountability work really well for me.
Brandon: [00:22:31] They sound like really powerful strands. And, and it sounds like it shows up in. In a lot of different ways for you as a practice. And it's, so maybe a part of you now that you probably don't have to think about it.
It just, it just happens for you. I don't, maybe I'm.
Rockell: [00:22:47] Yeah, no, you're right. Cause again, I'm always having these conversations that could be driving and just, you know, I'm always in my head.
Brandon: [00:22:54] Me too. Me too. If you were to, if somebody were wanting to [00:23:00] build more self-reflection as a practice, right, into their daily life to reap the benefits of, you know, that constant accountability to yourself and, and being evaluative of your behaviors, your actions, and trying to improve.
Do you have any advice for somebody who, who isn't very reflective, but something they could do after hearing this podcast and implement right away?
Rockell: [00:23:24] Right. I think even if you don't want to journal, just writing things down, like when things go well, Write it down, especially the things that go well, because we're going to definitely have those moments when things don't go well.
But then you go back to that journal, that book, whatever it is. And it's a reminder like, Oh, on this date, this happened on this date, this happened. And so just keeping note of your progress and your journey, whether it's through pictures. Journal going through your Facebook or your social media, if you post events and just taking time to look back.
So then it reminds you of why you [00:24:00] keep going forward. So whatever media or platform that you can use, and again, you don't have to full, full out journal, but just make those dashes, you know, like I remember, you know, I have a relationship with God and I remember the moment when I was praying for my house.
And now I have my house and I reflect, and I'm like, man, I remember when I pray for this house or the moment when I was like, praying about, you know, having kids, et cetera, et cetera, what do you call it? Prayer, manifestation, whatever the case is. And it's like, wow, like these are the things that several years ago I was like, Oh my God, I can't wait.
And now it's here. And so just, you know, having that attitude of gratitude and looking back on that. The things that once upon a time I daydreamed about, and now it's like a reality, like this is what I'm living. So, so, you know, just write it down, go through your social media pictures. And yeah, I said, I think that's the easiest way to start.
Brandon: [00:24:53] That's great. Great advice. And I'd never really thought about using social media as a place to [00:25:00] capture reflections. I mean, it is obviously that, but to be intentional about, about using Instagram to, to put some thoughts maybe some inner most thoughts, maybe just to capture things in images. But that's a really, a really neat shift for me to think about.
And hopefully somebody listening to this has will take up the charge and find a way to build more self-reflection awareness and accountability into their lives so that they can make some more magic. Rocky. It's such a pleasure whenever I get the chance to chat with you, which is not enough, but thank you so much for carving out some time to be on the show.
And I wish you all of the best as you continue to navigate your career as a speaker and coach. And I can't wait for the next book. Awesome. Yeah, me too. That's a whole work in progress, but yeah, I feel like writing books are like having kids and giving birth. So [00:26:00] we'll save that for the next podcast.
That's right. I'll have to have you back on. Thanks so much, Rocky. We'll talk to you next time. Awesome. Thank you.