Byron's Babbles

Significance: Impacting Outside Yourself

Posted in Education, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Inspirational, Leadership, Learning Organization by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 20, 2015


“In the course of life, there are the great majority of successful people who have to change their direction at about age sixty. There is a very small minority of purpose-driven people who have to concentrate and not change and I can’t tell you which you are going to be. The decision is going to come up. Decision is perhaps the wrong word – as you grow older, are you focusing more on doing the things that give you achievement and satisfaction and growth or more on the things that have an impact outside of yourself? Those are decisions one has to make. And nobody can help you make them. But the one thing to avoid is splintering yourself, trying to do everything.” ~ Peter Drucker – Rick Warren Dialogue, May 27, 2004

This week’s entry in A Year With Peter Drucker really resonated with me and is something that actually presents a bit of a thought challenge for me. I have always been one who takes my own professional growth very seriously and have owned that. But, at the same time I really have never worried about or tried to position myself for what is next. At least not any more than to the extent of living by what I have always preached: “We must be ready for what we don’t know we need to be ready for.” Drucker used 60 years old as the benchmark where the decisions of a successful person needs to be made. At age 52 I still have some time, but I really do want to make sure I am making a significant impact outside of myself. Drucker believed a person could continue to do what he knows how to do extremely well or attempt to make another significant and innovative contribution to society (Maciariello, 2014). The prospect of making some new and innovative contribution to society is very attractive to me.


People who use and manage the second half of their life for impacting others are seen to be the minority. I want to be a part of this minority and would encourage you to be too. We need to be the people who see the long work expectancy we now enjoy as an opportunity both for ourselves and for society. We need to be the leaders and the models. Leaders must systematically work on making the future. The purpose of the work on making the future is not to decide what should be done tomorrow, but what should be done today to have tomorrow. Drucker also posited that leaders needed to anticipate the future that has already happened and make the future that has already happened (Maciariello, 2014). IMG_0690

The importance of this was really driven home to me yesterday when we had the first session of our newly developed Focused Leader Academy. I was so inspired as I spent the day with 15 of our best and brightest teacher leaders. The passion that was displayed and the desire to learn and affect the future of our school was exciting. CPS05h6U8AAC80_When I reflect on all the learning that went on yesterday it is exciting to think we are building our future leaders and anticipating the future that has already happened and positioning our leaders to be ready for it. We learned about a focused leader and a disciplined leader. Additionally, we discussed being focused on ourselves, our team, and our organization. The Focused Leader Academy is so exciting to me because it truly gives me a chance serve our future leaders and make an impact outside of myself. It was awesome to hear their ideas for Focused Leader Projects and I have spent a great deal of time today thinking about resources and ways I can help them to carry out the projects they have chosen. It has been exciting to put this program together and I am so thrilled to be in a position of being a servant leader to the individuals who are taking this leadership journey and will be the leaders of our school.

As I reflect on the lessons of Drucker this week I aspire to impose on the as yet unborn future, new ideas to give direction and shape to what is yet to come. I also want to be a true servant leader and help model for and mold those who will be leading those new ideas in our future. I will close with one of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Peter Drucker


Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

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  1. […] It was such an honor to have Speaker Bosma introduce me to Dr. Helveston before the event started. Little did I know I was being introduced by a man, Speaker Bosma, who has had a great deal of influence on me (to read about that, click here) to another man, Dr. Helveston, who would influence me immensely in just the few minutes of visiting and listening to him speak at the event. One of the most powerful things he said to me was, “This research and book is a project I have started really late in my life and career.” With this statement he had me hooked as someone who absolutely knows how to be significant in life. As a believer that there is no such thing as retirement – only significance in the second half, I was certain I had met an icon of being significant, not just successful. This has been a topic of interest of mine for some time now. In fact I have blogged about it in “Significance: Impacting Outside Yourself.” […]


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