Byron's Babbles

Journey of Significance: What’s Your Unique Contribution?

Posted in Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 27, 2015

thAs was discussed in last week’s lesson from Drucker (Maciariello, 2014), knowledge workers have two lives lives. Some only use and develop one, but others strive to develop both. I am certainly doing my best to begin to plan for and develop the second – the journey of significance. In the first we make a living and perhaps achieve success, and in the second we seek significance after fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities to our families. It is at this point where we hope to be in a position to make the future happen. Our unique contributions will be found at the point where our strengths and our values meet. We will know it by the enthusiasm we feel for our work and for our life (Maciariello, 2014). It may take us a while before we identify what our unique contribution may be and it becomes a reality.

“Then there is the reality of the game itself: The clock is running. What once looked like an eternity ahead of you is now within reach. And while you do not fear the end of the game, you do want to make sure that you finish well, that you leave something behind that no one can take away from you. If the first half was a quest for success, the second half is a journey to significance.” ~ Bob Buford

Significance is really a diffusion of innovation and best practices to others. The imposing on the yet unborn future a new idea that will give direction and shape the future yet to come. For me that significance involves preparing others for that future. A very important project for me right now is our Focused Leader Academy. IMG_0640I really believe that one of the keys to the future of great schools is having great leaders ready to both lead from where they are, but also be pushed into areas where they are uncomfortable for growth and development. This is not an area that a lot of schools spend a lot of time, effort, or resources on and I hope we can develop a model that is both replicable and scalable.

“This is the true joy of life, the being used up for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; being a force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no “brief candle” to me. It is sort of a splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Wow, it is breathtaking to imagine my life belonging to the community and as a torch I need to burn as brightly as possible before handing off to future generations. The clock is running! We all need to think about what we want to be remembered for. Are you making progress?


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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