Byron's Babbles

Am I Mr. Spock Or Not?

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 28, 2015


“I think it’s my adventure, my trip, my journey, and I guess my attitude is, let the chips fall where they may.” ~Leonard Nimoy

I love this quote from Leonard Nimoy, who we all know better as Mr. Spock from Star Trek. It was not always easy being more Mr. Spock than Leonard Nimoy. In fact he wrote two great books about it: the first book was titled “I Am Not Spock.” Then about twenty years later he wrote a second memoir, titled “I Am Spock.” The first book was published in 1977 and the second in 1995. I have to admit I loved watching Star Trek. I wouldn’t say I was a member of “Trekdom,” but I did love the idea of going where no one has gone before. So, on the day after the death of Leonard Nimoy, I would like to celebrate his life and honor him by reflecting on the idea of: does our career define us? Was Nimoy defined by the character of Mr. Spock?


Nimoy was very proud to be connected with Star Trek. He believed the show dealt with morality and philosophical questions in a way many of us aspire to in our everyday lives. Remember, the solutions were always logical and morally the right thing to do! Oh, to be able to do that every time as a leader. In his first book, he wrote, “In Spock, I finally found the best of both worlds: to be widely accepted in public approval and yet be able to continue to play the insulated alien through the Vulcan character.” Nimoy believed the show gave him a constant guideline for a dignified approach as a human being.

Nimoy had always enjoyed playing the character but was also using the book to talk about other aspects of his life. The book features dialogue between the thesp and Spock and touched on a self-proclaimed identity crisis because he became so associated with his character. In his second autobiography, “I Am Spock” (1995), he embraced that association. So, I guess, it is ok for our career to define us. I guess I would ask, How can it not?

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life.’” ~Maya Angelou

I agree with this great quote, but that also means it is important for us to develop our life’s work in a way that is meaningful. “I realized that what I did as a job wasn’t what mattered. What mattered was the fact that I was happy, that my purpose went a lot deeper than sitting behind a desk, with my head in my hands wondering what the hell I was doing and why.” This is a great quote from Paula Lawes and to me speaks to the opposite of what she was really saying. We all have days when we put our face in our hands and wonder what we are doing. When I do that, however, I have the solace that I am making a difference of trying to lead a school to greatness to serve all students in the state of Indiana. And, as a believer that all students can learn and deserve a great school, my career does define me.

Leonard Nimoy with Spock Doll
Just so, we can learn from Nimoy there is power in your career. It defines you, whether you want it to or not. But for every one of me, it seems like there are dozens of others who are quick to brand people as failures if they aren’t rich or work at a prestigious company. This is not the type of defining I am referring to. I’m talking about doing something that reinforces your personal values, mission, and vision. In other words, are you using whatever your life’s work is to make a difference? Sadly or gladly, people will always judge you based on your career. Your career does define you.

Don’t forget, however, there are many parts to our live’s definition. We play so many roles in our lives- teacher, school leader, CEO, parent, partner, child- and it is the incorporation of each of them that strikes that balance. Putting too much weight into any one of those roles causes a crisis of identity that will not help us in our career or our lives. Don’t forget you are more than your career and so much more than just one job title will allow. I believe this is what tug between Leonard Nimoy and Mr. Spock can teach us. As we remember a great life today, we say thank you, Mr. Nimoy.



2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. remarkableleadership said, on February 28, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Nice post. See you tonight!

    You are Remarkable!

    Kevin J


    Kevin Eikenberry Chief Potential Officer, The Kevin Eikenberry Group

    p: 317.387.1424 x1

    e: | w:

    a: 8021 Westover Drive Indianapolis, IN 46268


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: