Byron's Babbles

In The Midst Of Our Failures

Posted in Educational Leadership, Failures, Fear, Global Leadership, Growth Mindset, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on February 12, 2023

You all know I love rock music and enjoy studying the bands made up of incredible artists. Yesterday, I heard Archetypes Collide for the first time – AWESOME! This is a band I am going to be paying attention to and would love to meet and have a conversation with. The song I heard was ‘What If I Fall’. It was a great song with some super-meaningful lyrics that really made me think about how we deal with failure – our own and the failure of others. The chorus is a leadership lesson: “What if I fall and waste away the life that I have made?; What if I fail and let down everyone who trusted me?; Why does holding on feel so wrong?; It’s weighing down on me; What if I fall and lose everything?” Listening to this song really made me think about my own fears and have me contemplating how to remove those fears from others. We all encounter obstacles, fall/fail, and need to learn how to rise again. We also need to teach those we serve the skills required to pick themselves back up after reaching for a major goal but falling short.

Frontman of the band, Kyle Pastor, said of the song, “I’ve always had a deep rooted fear of letting my friends and family down… Even though I know they’ll love me in the midst of my failures, the anxiety of it all buries me and pushes me further away from them. I hope this song can be an anthem for those who feel that same burden” (Paul Brown, Wall of Sound). This really is a burden for most of us. If we’re honest we all have anxiety for failing. We need to be careful not to equate failure to being less worthy to ourselves and others. We need to create growth mindset cultures where falling and failing is seen as learning and growing. That culture also needs to embrace falling and it not be letting someone down.

There is actually a name for fear of failure: atychiphobia. One of the signs of this is partly what the song is about; fearing people will think differently of us if we fail. We also worry we are letting others down. Again, though, if we create a growth mindset culture, failure won’t be seen as letting anyone down, but as a learning moment. We need to adopt an attitude of failure being an opportunity to learn. I realize it is a whole lot easier to say all this than actually put it into practice, but I love that this song calls out our anxiety. Fear of failure is very real for each of us. It can can us to avoid risk, lose our creativity, and our ability to innovate. We must all make sure all those in our care know that their stumbles will not let us down. And, give ourselves grace for our own moments of learning.


Fear Is A Funny Thing

Posted in Educational Leadership, Fear, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 9, 2021

I have blogged about the show Chicago PD before in You Be You & I’ll Be Me. I really like the show and it is easy to get immersed in it. The other night I saw Season 7 Episode 4: “Infection Part 3” and at the end of the episode a voice came on and dramatically said the following:

Fear is a funny thing. Some of the time, it brings out the worst in people. But fear also brings out our very best. We certainly saw that today. Their love, loyalty, care, and kindness, their support, generosity, and appreciation. And for a certain few among us, fear brings out something different, their choice to be heroic. To stand steady, to hold onto each other, to find a way to hold onto hope, and to lean on each other like family.”

~ Goodwin, Chicago PD Season 7 Episode 4: “Infection Part 3”

There is a whole lot to unpack in that oration. I’m going to let you do that for yourself. When I think back to times I was in the midst of fear, I realize it was not the event itself that caused sleepless nights, the distractedness, or sick feeling, it was the lead up to it. It was the ‘what ifs’ that stirred up the fear gremlins into a frenzy. Fear is a funny thing! We really need to stay in practice; find that something to do for the first time, always be learning, or be daunted by some new and exciting challenge. Fear is a funny thing!

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!

Fantasy Experienced As Reality

Fear is one of the most basic emotions and can be healthy when warranted. Different people have different fears – because they think different thoughts. Fear can hold us back and prevent us from moving forward. We must learn how to control our fear instead of letting our fear control us. Fear was the topic again this week in Chapter 40, “The Other Side Of Fear” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). DTK starts out by asking, “What is the cost of letting fear stand in your way?” He also taught us that outside of something that would cause us mortal danger, being afraid just tells us what we are afraid of is something we care about.

“Fear doesn’t exist anywhere except in your mind.”

Dale Carnegie

I loved the FEAR acronym DTK used in this chapter – Fantasy Experienced As Reality. He told us that our brains don’t know the difference between perceived reality and what is happening in real time in the real world. In fact he wrote of brain research where, when monitored, many of the same brain areas were used when a pianist actually played a song or imagined she was playing. So, literally, fear is just in our heads. But, to me this is about visualizing success. Isn’t this why we do dress rehearsals? Isn’t this why we do walkthroughs or scrimmages prior to the actual game? Isn’t this why we visualize what success looks like, or feels like? I believe it was William Arthur Ward who told us, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” Our aspirations are our invitations to set new goals, attempt new tasks, dare to travel uncharted courses. Let’s face our fears and visualize the success that is ours.