Photos by KJ Ryan/Collegian Photo Editor: HutchCC instructor Dan Naccarato explains to his class why “it’s a great day to study business.”
Coach Nac emits an abundance of positivity here on campus. As a business professor and former youth coach, he has plenty of experience working with students and never fails to put smiles on their faces. These times can be incredibly worrisome for all, yet Coach Nac still manages to remain positive. This Q&A covers how he has handled this year with such joy, as well as some helpful hints that he has for students who may be struggling to keep a smile on their face.
Brooke Greene: How have you remained so positive during all of the chaos regarding Covid-19?
Dan Naccarato: Our hearts go out to everyone who has lost loved ones and everyone who has been adversely affected. There are, however, always silver linings to be found when we look for them.
We are developing effective treatments and vaccines more rapidly than ever thought possible.
Through research into this virus, perhaps we will discover prevention, treatment, and cures for other viruses too. Improved hand washing and hygiene habits are now part of our daily routines, and we ought to continue those good habits forever.
Employers are now open-minded to allowing associates to work from home, which opens lots of possibilities for people to live wherever they like.
All kinds of organizations have become more flexible and innovative in finding ways to achieve objectives. For example, the revised HutchCC academic calendar for this school year turned out to be terrific. Looking ahead to future years, I hope we will complete Fall classes on campus before Thanksgiving every year.
We all learned and adapted in 2020, which will give us more confidence to meet other challenges throughout our lives.
BG: What have you done to help increase this positive attitude? Do you have any tips for students who are struggling to stay positive?
DN: Smile and laugh frequently. See the good in people, and expect them to do well. Achieve great results and have some fun every day.
Make opportunities to connect with family, friends, and colleagues – even if it’s virtually.
Celebrate success. When isolated or in quarantine, use the time to study business.
BG: Have you been stressed with everything going on in today’s world? Students seem to be radiating this stress but people like you are very good at showing us that everything is going to be all right.
DN: The COVID-19 threat was similar to a Kansas tornado watch. We’re aware of the danger. We’re taking reasonable precautions to stay safe and keep everyone else safe. We’re also accepting the fact that we are never in complete control of our destiny,
Therefore, let’s do the best we can to get on with life.
BG: What is your method of stress relief?
DN: Stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues. Briefly let off steam when the pressure starts to boil over. Interact with other people cheerfully, but find some time to be alone every day
BG: Have you always been such a bubbly person?
DN: Bubbly like champagne? I’m more of an expensive bourbon type guy!
Everybody, including me, feels down and out sometimes, but most days seem like holidays around here. We get to study business with outstanding people here in the center of the garden spot of the universe: Hutchinson, Kansas, USA, Earth, Milky Way … What’s not to love?
BG: Is there a healthy way to channel all of this stress into something more positive?
DN: Absolutely. The Marines say, “Embrace the suck.”
Great philosophy. We have amazing capacity to channel stress into exercising our bodies and our minds.
BG: What would you say to a student if they came up to you seeking advice on how to remain hopeful?
DN: First of all, listen and show genuine empathy. Identify the causes of problems. Help explore alternatives for how to cope. Encourage them to make an action plan. Figure out what it will take to move in the right direction, even if they are tiny baby steps.
Remember, the best way to have fun is to get better at whatever you’re doing.
BG: What do you think having a positive attitude during these times does for a person? Could this almost serve as a ‘pay it forward’ with acts of kindness?
DN: Definitely. It’s fun and uplifting to help each other.
As more and more individuals engage in tiny, random acts of kindness, we have every reason to be optimistic about making HutchCC better and better.
DN: As a coach, do you feel your attitude is well reflected by your team players?
Every team takes on attributes of the coach. When coaches, teachers, or bosses set high expectations, offer encouragement, exude confidence and stay positive, it’s contagious in a good way.
BG: In what ways can we use a happy approach to fight this pandemic?
DN: There are some things in life beyond our control. The one thing we can always control is the attitude we bring to everything we do.
Some people bring energy, some people take energy. Let’s give ourselves permission to bring energy and spread positivity everywhere we go. We’ll all be healthier and happier that way.