Byron's Babbles

What Are You Prepared To Do?

Back on day 170 of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, August 31, 2020, I committed to a 52 week journey in a new book. Click here to read that first of 52 posts. I had received an advanced copy of Mindset Mondays With DTK: 52 Ways to REWIRE Your Thinking and Transform Your Life. The author, David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), told us that the book was to be savored over time and used every week for a year. As most of you know, I love books that are organized in 52 lessons to use over a years time. That gives me a chance to also do weekly reflection blog posts. This post is the 52nd and final post. Today, on day 538 of the continuing global pandemic, one day shy of a full year later, I complete the 52 week journey of learning. But really it’s not a completion, but a beginning because of being able to live an even better and REWIRED (see photo) life from having read this book and encountered DTK.

Ironically, Chapter 52, entitled Venture Ahead, is very related to some leadership development lessons I have been teaching in the past week. I’ve been using the driving question of “What Are You Prepared To Do?” After discussions of core values, shape shifting, leadership mantras, and legacies, I always show this video clip from The Unstoppables:

I also chuckle at the fact that I have used quotes Václav Havel while facilitating in the last week and DTK has quoted him in this chapter. Here is the quote I’ve been using:

“…it is clearly necessary to invent organizational structures appropriate to the multicultural age. But such efforts are doomed to failure if they do not grow out of something deeper; out of generally held values.”

~ Václav Havel

Here’s the quote from Havel in Chapter 52 used by DTK:

“Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps; we must also step up the stairs.”

~ Václav Havel

The 52 lessons of this book have given me structured time to think about the things I believe in and want to leave as a legacy. It has also given me an opportunity to take stock of where I am and next steps. DTK called this “Tak[ing] stock of who you’ve become through the work you’ve done” (p. 354). Now I need to up the metaphorical staircase by taking the first step.

“Who you are is who you choose to be. It’s what you think, and what you do with what you think, and what you give, and what you ask for, and ultimately what you stand for” (p. 355). What are you prepared to do?

Being Somebody Who Reminds Everybody of Nobody

Posted in Creativity, DTK, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 16, 2021

In Chapter 50 entitled, “Create Yourself,” of in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) DTK asked us the question, “Are you ready to create your one wild and precious life” (p. 345). His point was for to become entrepreneurs of our lives instead of managers. DTK opined that instead of searching and trying to find our next calling, job, or relationship, we needed to instead create them. As he pointed out, “A manager does. An entrepreneur creates.” Creating is such an active verb for our lives.

It’s never too late to become the person you have always wanted to. This is much easier said, however, than done. We aren’t here to all follow the same route on the same map. We are here to create our own. It’s the experiences we decide to make on our own that help us create ourselves. When we go off track, and start forming our own route instead of following in the footsteps of others- these are the moments that define us.

I have always loved the idea of being somebody who reminds everybody of nobody. Think about it; that means we’ve created a “one of a kind.” We are brilliant, unusual, interesting, and a first. Every one of us is unique, but the only way we can show that uniqueness is to create the “me” you want to be.

Building A Balanced Portfolio

Posted in DTK, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 7, 2021

It was a great lesson this week in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). Chapter 49 was entitled, “Know Your Currencies.” DTK told us money isn’t the metric. DTK argued that money is not currency, but tool used to fund what we truly value. Our values, he contends, are our currency. This reminded me of something my dad always said: “A nice house doesn’t make a home.” We’ve all seen it; the people with gazillion dollar, gazillion square foot home, and the not-so-great family life. As my dad said, the nice house did not make it a great home. Clearly in this example the thing, house, was the valued currency.

I loved the question from DTK of, “Is what I am attending to now worth my attention?” We have so many currencies that are more valuable than money:

  • Time
  • Attention
  • Learning
  • Growth
  • Self-care
  • Connection
  • (Feel free to fill in the blank)

Remember, money is a tool and just an indicator of what we value. Look at an organization’s budget and you see what it values. But we also need to be as intentional about how we use our time, energy, emotion, and attention.

Don’t Be A Blind Follower

Posted in DTK, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 28, 2021

I had to laugh, because when I started reading Chapter 48, “Don’t Get Fooled Again,” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), I immediately thought of the great song from The Who, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” and little did I know that at the end of the chapter DTK would make reference to the song as playing in the back of his mind. But, the song really is relevant here. Pete Townshend wrote this song about a revolution. He was telling us through the song to beware of our “leaders” and have an independent, inquiring mind, don’t be just a blind follower. Assuming a position of inquiry is not only important in Townshend’s context, but also in our cultural beliefs and personal beliefs.

We believe many things that are not based on fact. It is okay to examine our own perspectives and question what we believe. DTK told us, “Without digging deep, it’s easy to find yourself accepting fantasy as true and choosing denial over truth” (p. 332). We must not let fantasy control truth. When speaking of “Won’t Get Fooled Again” in Rolling Stone magazine, Townshend said, “It’s interesting it’s been taken up in an anthemic sense when in fact it’s such a cautionary piece.” Let’s exercise caution so we don’t get fooled again.

Flip On Your Awareness

“Because once we are aware, we are also at choice” (p. 323 in Chapter 47, Find The Magic, of Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus – DTK). In other words, once we are aware of all the possibilities and our own desires we must choose to do the work and create the conditions for luck, magic, and success to unfold” (p. 324). This is why I love immersing myself in intersectional learning. By interacting and learning from those outside the world I know I am able to become aware of what is on the horizon. Without flipping this switch on it would be just like really trying to chase the horizon – it’s out there, and you can move toward it, but you never get there.

DTK told us that this awareness becomes dot, or real place, on the horizon. Once we have this awareness, we must work hard to create the conditions for that which we choose to accomplish happen. That requires belief and action. How about you? Are you ready to flip the switch on to your awareness?

Living Full-Out

Posted in Dreams, DTK, Innovation, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays, Vision, Visionary, Visionary Leadership by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 13, 2021

There was a lot to digest in the four pages of Chapter 46, “Don’t Wait to Live” in Mindset Mondays with DTKby David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). If I was forced to rank the weekly chapter lessons thus far, this would be one of my favorites. DTK told us that “People regretted dying with their songs still inside them” (p. 318). He went on to say, “…the only thing keeping us from living full-out is stuff we make up” (p. 319). I’m hoping both of those comments make you ponder and reflect as much as they did me. The ideas of happiness and regret are things I blog about often and discuss in leadership development workshops. In fact, I just dug into “anticipatory regret” and “existential regret” in What Will You Regret When You Are 80 Years Old? And, one of my favorite posts on happiness is Finding Happiness Right Where We Are.

After I read chapter 46 yesterday, I was reading about and watching video of Richard Branson taking his ride into suborbital space aboard a rocket he helped fund. He was the first to do this. On LinkedIn he said, “There are no words to describe the feeling. This is space travel. This is a dream turned reality.” As a student of the ultimate role model dreamer and innovator, Richard Branson, I am pretty sure the only song that will be left in him when he dies is whatever wild and crazy idea(s) he is working on at the time. I’m pretty sure there will be no regrets – except maybe to have done even more. He is the role model for showing us how to turn dreams into reality. This first fully crewed flight of Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity space plane was a major milestone in the commercial space industry.

Yesterday, I tweeted, “Congratulations @richardbranson and @virgingalactic! Thanks for always modeling being a trailblazer for us.” This flight was such a huge example of “living full-out.” The stuff we do on a daily basis may not be as huge as going to outer space, but just as important to those we serve and ourselves. I’ll close with this drop the mic moment and quote from Branson while in outer space that says it all, “I was once a child with a dream looking up to the stars. Now I’m an adult in a spaceship looking down to our beautiful Earth. To the next generation of dreamers: if we can do this, just imagine what you can do.” 🎤

20 Seconds Of Bravery

“What if it is about creating your vision, developing your plan, and taking one bold step after another, just twenty seconds of bravery at a time?” (p. 313) I had to begin my post on Chapter 45, “Boldness & Bravery” in Mindset Mondays with DTKby David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), with this quote from DTK. Having just launched my new business last week, Leadery Global, I needed this little pep talk to get my week started. I am “…step[ping] boldly into what’s present, and danc[ing] with whatever’s on the field” (p. 312). Choosing to be bold is what DTK was talking about in this chapter. He also reminded us, however, to be responsive, not reactive – no knee-jerk reactions.

Now, back to my favorite part of the chapter – 20 seconds of bravery. DTK is referring to a movie his wife, Elaine, saw claiming that it only takes 20 seconds of true bravery to overcome obstacles. If you think about those things we put off instead of doing what Brian Tracy called “Eating The Frog,” it makes sense. The more we avoid something, the more it controls our life. Just as first responders run toward the danger, we need to face our fears instead of being controlled by them. All it takes is 20 seconds!

What can you choose to be bold for 20 seconds of bravery about today? It may just change the entire trajectory of your life!

You Wanted The Best, You Got The Best!

In Chapter 44, “Trust Yourself to Create” of Mindset Mondays with DTKby David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), DTK told us, “Personally, I’d rather be judged by the world for what I do than judged by myself for what I don’t do” (p. 307). Many times we let the thought of failure or being judged keep us from getting started. We live in a world where we judge ourselves, judge others, and get judged by others. As I was watching A & E’s great Biography: KISStory Volume I last night it was said that KISS was not a critic’s band, but a band of the people. What that meant was that KISS didn’t care how the critics judged them. They cared that the fans believed they were getting the best show in the world!

Some measure life through money and accolades. Others measure it through beauty and popularity. Others measure it through family and relationships. Others measure it through service and good deeds. Chances are you measure it through some combination of all of these things, but one in particular matters most to you. This is where our values and our own identity come into play. As Gene Simmons said, “Figure out for yourself what makes you special and then create it.” “We [KiSS] were authentically us.” No one else can tell you what that is. Paul Stanley weighed in on this when he said, “No matter who you aspire to be, and how hard to try to be them, you will never be better than they are at it, so you must be the best at being who you are.” In other words we must know who we are, what we stand for, and what our competitive advantage is.

The more we are able to measure ourselves by our own internal metrics the better off we will be. The more external (the critics) our metrics for our own value and self-worth, the more we screw everything up for ourselves. An important part of our own personal growth is to recognize our own fixation, to recognize how we measure ourselves and consciously choose our internal metrics for ourselves. We must also recognize that everyone else in the world have their own metrics for judging that might, or might not, match our own. Paul Stanley shared, “We were the ones that weren’t supposed to succeed. We followed our own instincts.” Had KISS listened to the critics we might not be celebrating nearly 50 years of the greatest rock and roll band ever. Be best according to the metrics you determine.

The Goal Setting Paradox

I have always had an interesting relationship with goal setting. I’ve always had goals, but I’ve also always believed in living life and believing there were people and opportunities that show up at the right moments for me to choose how to use the effects of – kind of like a chemical reaction. Everly, a character in Patti Callahan Henry’s great historical novel, Surviving Savannah said it best, “Anyone who is engaged in life at all is brave.” Now don’t take this to say I am against goal setting. It’s just that I believe we must recognize the paradoxical effects that goal setting can have.

This reflection on goal setting was prompted by Chapter 43, “Raise The Bar” in Mindset Mondays with DTKby David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). He taught us that we are motivated by reasonable stretches. We need to go beyond the common endpoint to what he called the “visionary goal.” He told us “…there’s something extraordinary that happens when your marshaling your energy in the direction of a stretch goal.” I totally get that and have been blessed to experience that. But, this is also where the paradox begins.

In the great book by my good friend, David Marquet, Leadership Is Language, David reminded us that strict goals plus steep hierarchies can create an environment fertile for unethical behavior. He also reminded us that, “Strategies to achieve goals are often at odds with learning.” Now, I know this was in no way where DTK was going in Chapter 43, but the paradox is worth noting. I believe it needs to become the litmus test for goals. Individuals and organizations need to keep a close eye on whether goals are creating the desired effect of stretching us toward our greater purpose. I have witnessed ambition taking over purpose and there are well documented cases of this. In fact I’ve blogged a great deal about it. If you want to check out a couple, read Passion At Ambition’s Command and When Purpose & Passion Turn Into Ambition. To counteract this, DTK taught us to remember that failure along the way, if used for learning and course correcting, is a key contributor to the ultimate success of a goal.

So, thinking back to what Everly said in Surviving Savannah, if to be engaged in life is to be brave, let’s be brave and set the bar high, make sure we don’t let the goal get in the way of learning, and never let goals turn into purposeless ambition. Remember the litmus test for goal setting.

What Are You Here For?

If we want to shift from looking at the world to validate and respond to our needs and desires to serving life’s purpose, it requires us to start from within using our profound, magical, and miraculous energy to make shifts to better the world. To do this we must draw on our inner fire. This is really the essence of shifting from surviving into thriving. We must move from ambition to meaning. This life of meaning is a life where everything is primarily influenced by purpose.

Meaning is really how all the moments of our existence are evaluated. If we want to fulfill our greatest calling then we must consciously undertake the journey from ambition to meaning. Then, and only then can transform our individual lives and influence the destiny of our sacred planet as well.

In Chapter 42, “Your Inner Fire” of Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). He argued “Whether you call it your life purpose, mission, or quest, the work that you do in the world – that for which you are here at this time – is fueled by your inner fire” (p. 294). Only you can identify and put the accelerant on that inner fire. DTK went on to say, “I believe that every human is here to create some sort of a shift” (p. 295). I believe that too. For me, that meaning has become providing growth and development for others, either by working with them directly, or creating the policies and on-ramps to make that personal growth possible. How about you? What are you here for?