Byron's Babbles

Explicitly Rethinking Your Leadership

Posted in DTK, Global Education, Global Leadership, Leadership, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 28, 2020

There are so many great pieces of information in today’s chapter in Mindset Mondays by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). The lesson (#5) was entitled “Rethink Your Thinking.” I have a school leader I am mentoring for a client right now who I just had a conversation about this very topic with. In fact, I actually said, “You need to rethink how you are doing this to get it streamlined.” He was involving himself in every single thing that happened. Every single thing that is happening in the school has his fingerprints on it. Result: the rest of the team is not using their expertise to the fullest, and he is so bogged down, he can’t get it all done. As DTK pointed out, “Delegating the activities and tasks that drain energy frees you up for activities that fuel your growth, serve your clients [in this case the teachers and students], and deepen your impact.” We need to think about and recognize how the highest and best use of our time can be most powerfully spent.

This will be easy to solve for my men-tee. He already believes in distributed leadership and a flattened hierarchy, so all he needs to do is “declare explicitly” empowerment to others. Notice my terminology here: “declare explicitly.” I have found this to be a step that gets left out. Sometimes as leaders we need to make sure and make the implicit, explicit. In order to rethink his thinking and go down the much more improved and streamlined path, my men-tee must make sure the teachers know explicitly what needs to have his fingerprints on and what the teachers can just do. The teachers are at street-level working with our students and are in the best position to make many decisions and solve issues because this is where the data is created.

Impossibility To Possibility Thinking

Posted in DTK, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 22, 2020

This week’s lesson in Mindset Mondays With DTK was entitled “Challenge What’s Impossible.” I loved David Taylor-Klaus‘ story of early in life deciding he would not become a father because he had come to believe in his high school Human Physiology and Anatomy class (with his favorite teacher, Mrs. Southworth, by the way) that there were just too many things that could go wrong in human development – it was just too high a risk. Bottom-line, he got past this “impossibility thinking” and has three healthy children who completely changed his life. David told us this is proof that the impossible is possible.

As I read this my mind went to how everyone, 192 days ago when the World Health Organization declared us in a Global Pandemic, went “owe my gosh, there is no way we will be able to read facial expressions, body language, or build relationships using virtual options for connecting. In the book The Hidden Brain: How Our Unconscious Minds Elect Presidents, Control Markets, Wage Wars, and Save Our Lives, author Shankar Vedantam taught us that when people lose the ability to read facial expressions, they also lose the ability to make quick, unconscious judgements about people and scenarios. Vedantam also discussed research from Rick van Baaran done in an Applebee’s in the Dutch town of Heerlen that showed a statistical significance in size of tip if the server repeated the order back exes actly as ordered. This research showed how people respond positively when they feel in sync with each other.

Well, let me tell you, believe we have made the impossible possible using virtual technology to connect. I’m not so sure I am not better and reading faces on Zoom than I was in person. In fact, I stopped a professional development I was doing to ask two participants if they were texting each other. They said “yes” and wanted to know how I knew that (it freaked them out a little). I explained that I was watching there expressions and could tell when one got the text from the other and smiled/laughed and then the other reacted to that reaction. It was not a problem that they were texting because actually they were talking about the content of the webinar, but I needed to see if my skills on reading people had improved that much. Additionally, I believe I am able to uses names (because they are attached to the video of the person on most all virtual connection platforms. So, while being in-person is still my preferred way to connect, at least for now, I, for one, and I know others who would agree, we can make the impossibility of building relationships, reading people, and getting in sync with each other using virtual technology to connect possible.

The lesson here: Way too often we quickly decide something is impossible and then live as if it is absolutely true. David Taylor-Klaus taught us in this fourth chapter that “Labeling something as ‘impossible’ is a close cousin to giving up all together” (p. 60). By believing we can make the seemingly impossible possible, we can create a completely different future for ourselves and those we serve.

Belief Is The Price Of Admission

Posted in Baseball, Coaching, DTK, Global Leadership, Leadership, Mindset Mondays, Uncategorized by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 15, 2020

I love baseball. Something exciting happens every day and this past week was a great week for the game of baseball. Albert Pujols hit is 660th career home run this past Sunday, September 13th. This tied him with Willie Mays. That same day, Alec Mills threw a no-hitter for the Chicago Cubs. That was the first of his career. Monday, in Lesson 3 of the great book Mindset Mondays With DTK, by David Taylor-Klaus, which contains 52 weekly chapters designed to be done on Mondays, the lesson was entitled “Believe in the Impossible.” The lesson was about Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile in 1954. Everyone told him the four-minute mark could not be broken, but this did not stop him. He believed it could be done and that he was the person to do it. Bannister even broke the traditional way of training (how it’s always been done) and came up with his own, unconventional, way of training.

“Just because they say it’s impossible doesn’t mean you can’t do it.” ~ Roger Bannister

This made me think about professional baseball players and how impossible being good enough to break records or pitch no-hitters must feel at times. After hitting his 660th home run Pujols said, “To be able to have my name in the sentence with Willie Mays is unbelievable,” Pujols said. “I’m really humbled.” But really, Albert Pujols does believe he can do it. He tells us, “There is no time to fool around when you practice. Every drill must have a purpose. I try to never get away from that, habits are important.” This tells us, just as David Taylor-Klaus pointed out, that our belief in our ability to do something matters greatly. If we don’t believe something is possible, nothing else really matters.

I’m a really smart player. If you tell me something, I get it quickly. If there is something wrong with my hitting, tell me what’s wrong and I’ll pick it up right away. That’s the best thing I have going for me, my ability to listen to a coach and fix what I’m doing wrong. ~ Albert Pujols

Baseball, perhaps more than any other sport, is about heroes. Albert Pujols certainly has a hero’s story. That hero’s story starts like every other baseball hero story; with the player believing in himself – really believing in himself. This is why all of us imagine ourselves as pro baseball players, but only a few actually make it happen. It is important for us to recognize our ability to achieve goals. How we view ourselves, how we measure our value, how we assess our potential, and how we determine our worth all combine to create the life we will live. Are you paying the price for admission? Belief.

I Don’t Want We’ll See!

Posted in Choices, DTK, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Mindset Mondays, REWIRE by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 7, 2020

Here is my second of 52 posts reflecting on the 52 lessons in David Taylor-Klaus‘ great book Mindset Mondays With DTK: 52 Ways To Rewire Your Thinking and Transform Your Life. The title for Lesson 2 was “Collect Better Evidence” and dealt with our ability to choose. DTK taught us that our limiting beliefs are what limit our possibilities.

“The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward.” – Amelia Earhart

This reminded me of something I learned from my son, Heath, when he was very young. Yes, I said I learned from him, which was often the case. He would come and ask me about going somewhere, doing something, or buying something and I would give the standard parent cop out statement, “We’ll see.” That did not fly with Heath. He would pop back with, “I don’t want we’ll see!” Once he started doing this it didn’t take long for me to realize these were teachable moments.

When something came up that was a “We’ll see” situation I would sit down and say “Ok Heath, let’s weigh out our options and make the decision right now.” Needless to say, sometimes the decision went in his favor and many times it did not. Bottom line: Heath will tell you his ability to make good and quick decisions and be ok with the results is a result of our “I don’t want we’ll see” moments.

Heath will also tell you that I say, “Let’s do something; even if it is wrong,” a lot. No action is the worst choice of all. I used to tell my students that there are really no bad decisions if you have analyzed all the evidence you have available. Sometimes things just are not going to go the way you want them to.

DTK argues in Lesson 2 that with awareness and practice we can collect better evidence giving us the power to make the choices enabling us to realize our vision. How many times have you said “We’ll see” to a choice you need to make for your own life? The choice is yours. We need to tell ourselves “I don’t want we’ll see!” We need to choose can over can’t and do something.

“Who Am I Not To Be?”

Posted in Coronavirus, COVID-19, Doomscrolling, DTK, Global Leadership, Growth Mindset, Leadership, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on August 31, 2020

IMG_9431This morning, on day 170 of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic, I am committing to a 52 week journey in a new book that gets released tomorrow, September 1st. I have been perusing my advanced copy of Mindset Mondays With DTK: 52 Ways to REWIRE Your Thinking and Transform Your Life for several days and really like what I have found in the book. As the author, David Taylor-Klaus, told us in the book, it is to be savored over time and used every week for a year. I love books that are organized in 52 lessons to use over a years time. This gives me a chance to also do a weekly reflection blog post, of which is this the first of at least 52 I am committing to do.

“The greatest weapon we have against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another.” ~ William James, discussed on pages 39-41 in Mindset Mondays With DTK

The title of the first lesson was Choose Consciously. It was ironic that DTK called our ability to choose, a weapon. In a leadership gathering I facilitated over the weekend I used superheroes as a throughline and we talked about leadership weapons. The ability to make the right choices was a superpower weapon of choice for some. “Who am I not to be?” (DTK, 2020, p. 40) is a statement that DTK has made to himself. So, really, who are we to not be? Whatever we want to achieve starts, as DTK taught us, with examining our own ideas of what is and is not possible.

Screen Shot 2020-08-31 at 8.07.42 AMThe choices we make are even more important in this time of “doomscrolling.” I usually love the creation of new words, but I’m not real big on this one that means continuing to surf or scroll through bad news. The act of doomscrolling, then, is to roll toward annihilation. So, back to David’s question, “Who am I not to be?” The one thing we get to control is our mind; so, we need to quit things like doomscrolling and control our mindset and beliefs.

Social media has been a blessing staying connected. One of the other challenges, besides doomscrolling, however, that has been created because of our ability to easily connect is some continually comparing themselves to their peers. DTK addressed this in the first lesson saying, “So instead of comparing our beginning to somebody else’s middle, we actually, see their success as an inspiration instead of a threat” (DTK, 2020, p. 41). I have always believed that each of us has our own personalities and set of skills that make us very special. We just cannot let ourselves fall in a trap of comparing, because there just is no comparison to ourselves – we are a “one-of-a-kind”.  We cannot allow our internal expectations of what defines success keep changing depending on what others desire. Think about it: “Who am I not to be?”