Byron's Babbles

Discovery Has No Example

columbus_breaking_the_egg_christopher_columbus_by_william_hogarthI am super excited to bring you my first Byron’s img_0674-1Babbles vlog post. I have been wanting to do this and Lesson #26 in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart entitled “Blinded By An Egg” gave me the inspiration. This is a story about Christopher Columbus and I hope you are as inspired as I was. Here is the link to my vlog post: Byron’s Babbles: Discovery Has No Example

“Discovery has no example, no easy path to follow. Are you willing to see and follow unknown paths?” ~ John Parker Stewart

The Bear Facts of Leadership

indexEvery winner has a coach, and every coach has a philosophy. Lets take a deeper look inside the philosophy of one of the best. It is appropriate on this weekend before the National College Football Championship game between Alabama and Clemson to reflect on the leadership of Coach Bear Bryant. He had a keen instinct for what needed to be said and done, and a willingness to confront his present reality in order to make progress as a team. Bryant led his Alabama team to six national championships and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1986. While Bryant drove many people away with his authoritarian coaching style, he had many players who stayed to become champions. Even with this authoritarian style, Bryant made it a point to take responsibility for what his team did on the field. Gene Stallings, who coached under Bryant said this of his leadership style: “His philosophy as far as players were concerned is that if the team was successful they did it, and if for some reason we lost, he took the blame for it.” Bear Bryant found that if he took responsibility for his team, they would respond by doing everything they could to make the team successful.

“I’m just a plow hand from Arkansas, but I have learned how to hold a team together. How to lift some men up, how to calm down others, until finally they’ve got one heartbeat together, a team. There’s just three things I’d ever say: If anything goes bad, – I did it. If anything goes semi-good, then we did it. If anything goes really good, then you did it. That’s all it takes to get people to win football games for you.” ~ Bear Bryant

Lesson #25 entitled “Big Bear, Little Ego” in 52 Leadership Lessons: Timeless Stories For The Modern Leader by John Parker Stewart tells the story of Bear Bryant when he was in the United States Navy and disobeyed an order to abandon ship to save shipmates – teammates. Bryant may have pushed them to extreme limits and beyond what they thought they were capable of, but he got the best out of them. The players understood that. And they knew that Bryant was committed to their success. That’s where the bond came from—they were all in it together. Some leaders claim they don’t care if they’re liked; they just want to be respected. Other leaders are well liked but not really respected. The unusual leader, the really good one, is respected and revered. It takes a unique balance in a person to inspire that kind of loyalty and admiration, but it can be done. Coach Bryant brought his teams together by focusing on a common goal. They worked together, survived together, and ultimately succeeded together. Remember, great leaders do not consider themselves more important than the team, but as a part of the team. Leaders merely have a different set of responsibilities.

“Ready! Down! Break! Hut! Hut! Hut!” Send a spiraling pass to your team!



Power In Our Hands

fileAttention on leaders makes for good copy, and gives us someone to blame when things don’t go right. But, is this shift from our own accountability as a community contributing to this blame game? Peter Block suggested in his book Community: The Structure of Belonging that “People best create that which they own, and cocreation is the bedrock of community-by-peter-blockaccountability.” Therefore, leaders must become convenors as opposed to service providers. Leadership is convening and held to three tasks:

  1. Shift the context within which people gather.
  2. Name the debate through the powerful questions.
  3. Listen rather than advocate, defend, or provide answers.

As leaders, I have come to realize, we must make the space available and bring the community together for the conversations and developing the future as opposed to answering all the questions and giving all the solutions. Questions open the door to the future and are more powerful than answers in that they demand engagement. The future is created through the exchange of promises between citizens, the people with whom we have to live out the intentions of the change. These exchanges and conversations create a space for learning and for producing knowledge that intersects with the needs and demands of a social movement.

“Our love of problems runs deeper than just the joy of complaint, being right, or escape from responsibility. The core belief from which we operate is that an alternative or better future can be accomplished by more problem solving. We believe that defining, analyzing, and studying problems is the way to make a better world. It is the dominant mindset of western culture.” ~ Peter Block

A shift in thinking and actions of citizens is more vital than a shift in the thinking and action of institutions and formal leaders. Most sustainable improvement in community (you can also insert your organization name here because it is a community) occur when citizens discover their own power to act (intent-based leadership). According to Peter Block “[I]t is when citizens stop waiting for professionals or elected leadership to do something, and decide they can reclaim what they have delegated to others, that things really happen.” This empowerment (intent-based leadership) is present is most stories os lasting community and organizational improvement and change.

“Communities are built from the assets and gifts of their citizens, not from the citizens’ needs or deficiencies.” ~ John McKnight and Jody Kretzmann

It is all about us, as leaders, co-creating a community of possibility with all citizens. Possibility, here, is a declaration of what we create in the world each time we show up. It is a condition, or value, that we want to occur in the world, such as peace, inclusion, relatedness, reconciliation, or insert your own community needs here_______.  A possibility is brought into being in the act of declaring. What possibilities is your community declaring and co-creating?

5 Ways to Stop Thieves from Stealing Your Happiness

I am so excited to bring you this guest post from Dr. John Izzo. Learn in this post 5 Ways to Stop Thieves from Stealing Your Happiness. 

Most self-help literature makes it seem like happiness is a very elusive thing, something we must work very hard to achieve. It is my contention that happiness is our natural state. The child’s natural smile and the calm of sleep are metaphors for the happiness which is already ours. We don’t need to seek it as much as we need to get out of its way.

It is my suggestion that there are five thieves that rob us of our happiness. A thief is someone who takes away something that is already yours. In the case of happiness, the thieves are thought patterns and internal filters through which we see the world in a distorted way. They cloud our view of what is true and natural.

The five thieves are control, conceit, coveting, consumption, and comfort.


The first thief is control, the desire to control the outcomes of our life and for things to be different. Happiness is knowing what we can control and accepting what we cannot control. At the most basic level, happiness comes from understanding that we can control our actions and our responses to things external to us, but we cannot control the results of our actions. Focusing on our actions brings happiness; focusing on the result of our actions brings unhappiness. All suffering is resistance to whatever is at any moment.

How to stop the thief:

In each moment surrender to whatever is happening. Control and influence what you can while choosing to accept whatever is at that moment. Accept the hard truths about life.

Remember that it is the craving for things to be different, not the circumstance that robs you of happiness.


Conceit is perhaps the single greatest barrier to true contentment and even societal well-being. Conceit if a focus on your small self, on trying to find happiness separate from all other people and things as opposed to in the experience of being one. Another word for this thief is ego. Happiness comes from serving and getting lost in something outside yourself.

How to stop the thief:

Whenever you find yourself obsessing about the story of your life, remind yourself that you are already a part of a larger story. The thief wants you sitting around, staring at your reflection, but there is no happiness to be found there. Building an equitable world that works for all is part of this, if not for moral reasons than for practical ones. Only when all prosper can we all be truly safe and happy.


Coveting is the third thief and comes disguised as something harmless or even ambitious in some productive way. What could be wrong with wanting to have something you don’t yet possess? Is not desire for something the very source of moving forward in life? The opposite of coveting is to be in a place of gratitude. Coveting also keeps us from celebrating for others because life becomes a comparison.

How to stop the thief:

Whenever you find yourself asking the mirror on the wall of your subconscious how you compare with others, remember that it is the thief speaking to you. It is lying when it tells that you that life is a contest rather than a journey. Ask instead: Am I being my best self? Also, practice gratitude through daily journaling or simply taking a few minutes to identify three things that you are grateful in that day and one in your life. Each day choose another person and write down three things you want to celebrate for them.


Consumption tells us that there is something outside ourselves that we need to achieve happiness, and it tries to hide from us the truth that we can choose it at any moment. Intuitively, of course, we all know that happiness cannot come from consumption of something because we all know people who appear to “have it all” but are consistently discontent, as well as people who have “next to nothing” and appear to be quite happy. This thief is like a thirsty person with a large bottle of good fresh water but a hole in their throat.

How to stop the thief:  

Whenever you find yourself saying, I will be happy when…or I will be happy if…, stop these thoughts and come back into the inner house where happiness is found. Focus on the choice to be happy now. Challenge the consumer in yourself. Whenever you are tempted to buy something, ask yourself if it will bring any real happiness. The thing itself is not a problem; the belief that it will bring happiness is the issue.


The final thief—comfort—is an insidious one. In fact, at first glance it may even appear as a source of happiness rather than a barrier to it. This thief is like a lethargic person on the sofa, TV remote in hand. It wants us to stay on the same channel, in the same comfortable position, stuck in a routine that is not life giving. It does not care about the consequences of this routine, even if the channel we are on is no longer of interest to us or serving our higher needs.

How to stop the thief:

Make a commitment to try one or two new things every week. Vary your routines, from taking a new route on your daily walk to a different dating experience with your partner on a Friday night. Try new areas of learning—it is good for both your mental and physical health. Notice the core comfort patterns of your life. What have you carried from your past that is no longer adaptive to your life today? Identify an important pattern, and take two months to work on noticing how it shows up, then choose to ride in another direction.

Take The Five Thieves of Happiness quiz to find out what thief is robbing your happiness.

Dr John Izzo is a corporate advisor, a frequent speaker and the bestselling author of seven books including the international bestsellers Awakening Corporate Soul, Values Shift, The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die, and Stepping Up. His latest book is The Five Thieves of Happiness.

Over the last twenty years he has spoken to over one million people, taught at two major universities, advised over 500 organizations and is frequently featured in the media by the likes of Fast Company, PBS, CBC, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and INC Magazine.

Twitter: @drjohnizzo

LinkedIn: Dr. John Izzo




I Promise

A signed copy of the promise pictured here sits in the locker of each Florida State player. After an awful start to Florida State’s season this past year, head coach Jimbo Fisher took an unprecedented step and presented his team with a promise and challenged them to sign it and live up to it.

As I read it I was struck by the simplistic way coach Fisher presented powerful points. It is really a well written combination of a mission and core values to follow. Here are the main points I take away:

  • The commitment of “I promise to”
  • No loafing
  • Effort
  • Trust the process
  • Preparation
  • Effort and enthusiasm in every play, every day
  • Pride
  • Allow myself to be corrected and coached

Just eight powerful points, but what a change in the season this battle cry brought about. The next game after the players signed the promise was a win against in-state rival Miami Hurricanes. Florida State won 20-19. “You cannot say that they did not play hard, that they did not play with fight, that they did not play with guts,” Jimbo Fisher said after the win. “We’re a work in progress but at least that heart and soul is there.” I am particularly struck by the point of “Allowing myself to be corrected and coached.” This is so important to all of us. We must continue to grow and develop each and every day. 

On a day when everyone make New Year’a resolutions, I wander what would happen if we all just adjusted the promise to our own lives and then actually kept it; just like the Florida State Seminoles. Would you be willing to sign and hang in your locker?

Happy New Year!