Byron's Babbles

Passion Bubbles

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Love, Mark Twain, Passion, Purpose by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on March 5, 2023

This morning I am contemplating a few things out of recently read books. One out of the great book I finished a couple of weeks ago, Red Dress In Black and White by Elliot Ackerman where it was said, “Family should be at the center of who you are, not the circumference.” The others were by Mark Twain in Volume 3 of his autobiography. Twain spoke of “The things that take up the spare room in my heart.” He also said, “I refuse to take part in things where my heart is indifferent.” This made me think about all the, what I call my “passion bubbles,” I have. These would really be those things that take up the spare room in my heart. This, in turn, got me to thinking about our hearts capacity. Just how much room is in our hearts?

Twain had decided not to take part in things where his heart was indifferent. I consider this a pretty good rule of thumb. It’s usually easy to tell when I am indifferent; I’m not going to comment or not going to get heavily involved. This idea that Elliot Ackerman put in his book of family at the center and not at the circumference is a really good metaphor of how I want to arrange my passion bubbles. Our family should be at the core of what is given prime space in our hearts along with those other prime time passions we have. Then we can fill in the spare space. Interestingly, we also consider the heart being limitless in its ability to love, but we need to realize our limits on the number of passion bubbles we can support.

Each of us has a unique drive to make a contribution and fulfill a purpose. When we combine our passions with our strengths, we can achieve things never even imagined. But, it would probably do us well to consider Twain’s rule of not wasting too much of our heart’s spare room with those things we are indifferent to. This will also give us the room for keeping our family at the center. It’s about having an uncluttered heart.


Love Is A Practice

I talk a lot about needing to love those we serve. Love is a practice, it is not something you find or don’t find. You can practice love for the rest of your life. We need to take this very seriously. On this Thanksgiving Day 2022 I am reflecting on how we need to love. I know what your thinking. You’re saying to yourself, “Byron, love is something you should write about on Valentine’s Day.” No. That’s about romantic love. I’m talking about real love. The kind of love that emerges from a shared appreciation. This shared appreciation is why I write about this on Thanksgiving morning. If we truly appreciate those we serve, we need to love them.

So, what does that mean, you ask. It means both parties are made better by the relationship. This kind of love takes into consideration the passions, goals, core values, strengths, and weaknesses of one another and use those to set a direction of how to help each other be made better. I seem to interrogate the thought of love a lot. Love is the desire to improve the beloved’s life. When we love our students, we do everything in our power to improve their lives. When we love our teachers, we do everything we can to improve their lives. I love my wife and son, so I do everything I can to improve their lives. I’m sure you get my point by now.

Love is a very profound type of recognition. The best leaders I have know and respected have a keen ability to really see into another person’s normally hidden depths, and to realise how profound and important they are. Those great leaders understand that everyone, yes everyone, has potential. The great leaders will love you enough to pull, mold, develop, and help us hone that potential. Loving others is not something to be taken lightly. It’s about being thankful for those that cross our path and recognizing their greatness and what you can offer to bring about their full potential. Let’s hone our own practice of loving.

Love In Action

Today officially marks the start of the 26th week of the year. We are at the halfway point. It also means I am halfway through the great book Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways To Be A Servant Leader and Build Trust, Making Common Sense Common Practice, Ken Blanchard and Randy Conley. I am reading the book one simple truth at a time and writing a reflective post each week. This week’s post reflects on Simple Truth #26: “Great Leaders SERVE.” In this simple truth the elements of the SERVE model from The Secret: What Great Leaders Know and Do, by Ken Blanchard and Mark Miller were introduced. Two things jumped out at me. First, the idea of “reinventing continuously,” and second, the statement at the end of the simple truth: “…servant leadership is love in action” (p. 69). Let’s look at reinventing continuously.

As a person who loves learning and experiencing new things, I believe In the idea that what we know today will probably not make us successful even in the near future. We must be constantly reinventing ourselves. This does not mean we are giving up or changing core values, but means we are iterating. In fact, iteration, might be a better way to look at this than reinventing. By its very nature iteration is about learning and progressing to the next level – what great leaders do. For every new iteration, feedback must occur so that the next iteration is better and moving in the right direction.

Besides the personal reinvention there are two other parts to the Blanchard and Miller model of reinventing continuously: reinventing systems and processes and structural reinvention. Now more than ever, there is rapid and continual change all around us. Just think of the supply-chain for one. There is a great need to develop an iterative mentality and create a culture of learning. Therefore, if we want to practice “love in action,” we must not wait or hope that those we serve will somehow learn all of the needed skills that make them great. We must deliberately lead and model the reinvention/iteration process for all.

Being Treated Well

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Love by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 9, 2022

Today I was reminded of something I heard Steve Jobs say, “Leadership is about inspiring people to do things they never thought they could.” A participant in a leadership development gathering I facilitated actually said it better when she said, “Leadership is not about a title. It is about the actions you take for others and the example you set for others.” That was a drop the mic moment given that we had been discussing the leaders who had the most influence on us. We had also been reflecting how how well we had been doing influencing others.

As we develop our own leadership style we must understand that those we serve want to be given opportunities to lead themselves. I’m a huge fan and student of Richard Branson. In an interview with Inc. he said, “If the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they’re doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they’re proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they’re treated well, then they’re gonna be smiling, they’re gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience.” The key words there are treated well. To me that means loving those we serve. It also means being set up for success. In that same interview Branson discusses putting staff first so everything else can fall into place. I have often said in education we must put teachers first so students can be first. Let’s treat everyone well!

Thinking About Love

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Love, Rob Hart by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on March 6, 2022

What is love? Now there is a question. When I looked it up there are at least eight different kinds of love depending on what source you are studying. Lately, however, I have been obsessed with this idea of leaders, organizations, businesses, and now even governments, loving their people. We all want a community in which to “belong”. A community in which everyone can bring their best self to and leverage their talents each and every day. If we want people to be engaged, whether at work or civically, we must create communities of belonging. So how do we do that? By loving each other!

My thoughts on this were prompted by a line Rob Hart put in his great new book that I just finished, The Paradox Hotel. I’ve got pages of quotes from the book for further pondering, but here is the prompt for this post: “There are different kinds of love, nevertheless they are all still love.” Very true!

Maturana and Verden-Zöller (2008) asserted that, “We humans are loving animals that become ill when deprived of love” (p. 7). They went on to assert, “…that these many different expressions do not denote different forms, kinds, or levels of love as an emotion, but that they in fact connote only different relational dimensions of our living as loving animals” (Appendix 10). So, nevertheless, all the different kinds of love are still love. It seems we have let success, measured in monetary terms, expectations, or desires for what others do take over for our love. Because love is not blind acceptance we must be sincere in creating mutual respect. Love is about a coexistence where we do not put our own desires expectations or aims ahead of others and begin to manipulate. When we think about love in this way it really is about a feeling of belonging and making sure others have the opportunity to belong.

Clearly, love is a complex thing, but all the different kinds of love are still love. What goes around comes around. So let’s all show a little more love.

Reference The Origin of Humanness in the Biology of Love, Humberto Maturana Romesin and Gerda Verden-Zöller Edited by Pille Bunnell, Imprint Academic 2008.