Byron's Babbles

“I am what I think that you think I am”

“You will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do.”

~ David Foster Wallace

In Chapter 22 entitled “What You Think They Think” of Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), he told us “…people are generally not thinking of or even about you, they’re generally thinking of themselves” (p. 169). I loved this chapter because it points out something that we all do and all need to stop doing – worrying about what others think. DTK pointed out that we can’t control what others think, and what they think of us is none of our business. And, don’t forget; more than likely they’re not even thinking of you anyway. If we just remember they’re probably not even thinking of us, we can become freed of negative thinking.

“I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do. That is character!”

~ Theodore Roosevelt

We need to worry about measuring up to ourselves, not others. It is an irrational and unproductive obsession to worry about what others think. Sociologist Charles Cooley put it this way: “I am not what I think I am and I am not what you think I am; I am what I think that you think I am.” Part of this is because we are placing undue importance on external validation, so much so that we sometimes place more emphasis on the commendation or disapproval we receive than on our actual actions. We need to do things, say things, and ask things that make sense to us. Let’s not worry about others, but care very much about what we think of what we do.

Irrational Exuberance

As an artistic leader versus being a technocrat, I have always been that one focusing on how great things were going to be; how great that lesson I just planned would go, how that next webinar would go, how many gazillion people would want to be part of a new leadership program, or how much everyone would love that latest workshop activity I just planned. Sometimes, because of this focus, I am viewed as not being detail oriented enough, or not being realistic enough. Some of that might be true, but as David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) pointed out Chapter 21 of Mindset Mondays with DTK entitled “What Could Go Right?”, nothing can ruin an organization quicker than not planning for success.

I’ve actually seen and experienced this with new schools that weren’t prepared for the large number of students who enrolled. It is tricky to not be prepared for great things. Without thinking through what could go right, we won’t be ready to handle great things when they happen.

“Stop being afraid of what could go wrong, and focus on what could go right.”

~ Unknown

DTK pointed out that companies buckled under the pressure of not being able to handle what Alan Greenspan called, “irrational exuberance,” during the dot-com era. Bottom-line: we must focus on what could go right. I like the quote above because while we need to have operational awareness of challenges and obstacles, we must not fear them. What are the next things that will go right for you?

What Lies Beyond Your Imperfections?

Posted in Authentic, Authenticity, DTK, Educational Leadership, Flawsome, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on January 10, 2021

Funny how things work out. I’m reading the great book Flawsome: The Journey To Being Whole Is Learning To Be Holey by Georgia Murch right now. Her book teaches us that being the best you you can be requires us to accept our flaws. As she said, “Your unique flaws draw people to you.” I love that and have been enlightened over the years to understand that people want me for who I am, not someone else. It is about being authentic.

So what’s funny? I’m also reading Mindset Mondays With DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). DTK’s book is is set up in 52 chapters set up to be read on, you guessed it, Mondays. This week I’m on Chapter 20 entitled Beyond Imperfections. So, some of the same stuff I was learning from Murch. DTK told us that trying to present ourselves as perfect is inauthentic. I have known organizations that have also got caught up in believing they are perfect. DTK wrote, “The fantasy that we’ll become perfect leaders, perfect partners, or perfect people is just that – a fantasy.” Remember, no organization or person is perfect. My imperfections make me, well, me.

So by recognizing our flaws and imperfections we can also find and develop our perfections. This is why I am such a believer in finding our strengths. Let’s recognize our weaknesses and grow our strengths. You be you!

Living Lifeopoly

In Chapter 19 entitled “Mistakes Don’t Matter” in the book Mindset Mondays With DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), he used the metaphor of life being a little like a game of Monopoly. Well, I couldn’t resist created my own game called Lifeopoly. And, yes, Lifeopoly has a red hash line underneath it. I love creating new words. I even drew a prototype box for the game shown here as the featured image of this post. Let me know what you think. This chapter was all about mistakes and our mindset in dealing with those mistakes. DTK described it this way, and I have inserted a blank for you to put whatever area you’ve considered yourself a failure in: “The wounded version of myself was making this one significant failure mean that I would always be a failure at ___________________” (p. 151). As a person who can make hundreds of mistakes per day, I have developed a mindset of considering what I can/have learn(ed) from these mistakes. Failing at something once does not we we are always going to fail at it. Never forget, we have to be bad at something to get good at it.

I loved the Happy New Year card that DTK described getting from a friend that said, “This year, may every mistake be a new one” (p.152). I thought this was very appropriate given this is the first week of 2021. I am also reading the great book The Midnight Library: A Novel by Matt Haig right now. I’m not going to divulge too much here because you need to read the book, but there are three great passages in the book that caused me to reflect on making sure we grow from mistakes and life’s events. Additionally we need to not get so uptight and view some things as moves on our Lifeopoly journey. Our time and energy is best spent being the best “me” we can be, and as an educator I’m reminded we need to make sure our students have as many experiences possible and help them understand how to grow and learn from the mistakes and experience life offers. Here are those passages from The Midnight Library I believe will cause you to do some reflection about life decisions and mistakes:

“‘Because, Nora, sometimes the only way to learn is to live.'” ~ Mrs. Elm to Nora

The Midnight Library, p. 67

“Everyone’s lives could have ended up an infinite number of ways.” ~ Nora thinking to herself

The Midnight Library, p. 54

“‘If you aim to be something you are not, you will always fail. Aim to be you. Aim to look and act and think like you. Aim to be the truest version of you. Embrace that you-ness. Endorse it. Love it. Work hard at it. And don’t give a second thought when people mock it or ridicule it. Most gossip is envy in disguise. Keep your head down. Keep your stamina. Keep swimming…'” ~ Mrs. Elm to Nora

The Midnight Library, p. 93

How about you? Are you embracing your you-ness?

Keep Getting Better By Always Striving To Go Somewhere New

Yesterday marked the 18th week of reading Mindset Mondays With DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). Chapter 18 entitled “Work On Yourself” did not disappoint. Interestingly, I am reading Peter Frampton‘s incredible book Do You Feel Like I Do? A Memoir right now, too, and there are some parallel’s. DTK told us that “When we look at where others are in their life and compare that with where we are, it’s not apples to apples” (DTK, p. 146). One of the things that really stuck out in Frampton’s (I really want to become friends so I can call him Peter) book was how much he valued getting to play, collaborate, and learn from other superstars in the business. Never once do you ever get the hint of him comparing himself to Ringo Starr, George Harrison, David Bowie, Bill Wyman, Jimi Hendrix, Billy Preston, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, B.B. King, Rick Derringer, Robert Cray, Roger McGuinn, David Hidalgo, or Dean DeLeo, just to name a few. Now, regardless of what kind of music you like you better have recognized a couple of names on that list.

Frampton is so humble that he always believed the collaborations were chances for him to learn and get better. This is a huge takeaway for me from the book. Others would have just seen these opportunities through vanity’s eye. He used the metaphor (and you know how I love metaphors) of being in a fishbowl at a very young age of English rockers. Frampton went on to say, “I’m asking about touring and what they do and everything, so I’m learning how a successful band works. But just seeing this person [Bill Wyman] who’s a Rolling Stone, who’s now my friend, and he’s friends with my parents and was this regular guy – so okay, I don’t have to be something other than who I am. It was kind of like an apprenticeship. I was learning as I went, and getting these amazing opportunities along the way” (Frampton, p. 33). We need to make use of our “apprenticeships” to become the best we can become. That best needs to be authentic. We have to find our own sound, pun intended. Frampton described it like this: “I just wanted my own style. I wanted to be one of those guys who,they play one note, and you know who they are” (Frampton, p. 59). Frampton was, and still is, working to get better each day.

“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” ~ Peter Frampton

p. 261 in Do You Feel Like I Do? A Memoir

Finally, I love how DTK tied it all together at the end of Chapter 18 by saying, “Comparing how you are being, what you are doing, and what you are accomplishing in any given moment to your best in that moment is the ONLY valid comparison. It’s the only comparison that serves. It’s the only comparison consistently worth making” (DTK, p. 147). Frampton says he is one lucky guy, but I do not think that luck has anything to do with it. What I learned from Peter Frampton was humility, perseverance, passion, purpose before ambition, collaborative learning, working hard, and always reinventing yourself.

The Books That Opened My Eyes In The Fourth Quarter of 2020

Well here they are; the collection of blog posts inspired by great authors and great books in the last quarter of 2020. There has been so much great learning from books this year. So many times it might be just a sentence or paragraph that makes me pause and reflect, make me want to study something a little (or a lot deeper), or make me want to read another book. That’s why I always seem to have three to four books started at the same time. I know, that would drive many of you crazy, but it is how my mind works. Everything we read fills our mind with new information. We never know when those new bits of information might come in handy. The more knowledge we have, the better-equipped we are to tackle challenge we may face. You might want to consider allowing yourself some time to read each day. Because of all the distractions available to us now we don’t spend much time on any one thing. When you read a book, if you’re like me, all of your attention is focused on the story, I get lost in the content and the rest of the world just falls away, and you can immerse yourself in every fine detail you’re absorbing.

I’m sure I am going to need to update this post as it is just the 28th and I know of two or three posts I am formulated that are inspired by great books I am reading right now, but I wanted to go ahead and get this out there and will update before the end of the year. I’ve already posted about the posts inspired by books from the first three quarters of the year in these three posts:

The First Quarter Of An Incredible Year Of Reading

Second Quarter 2020 Book Inspired Posts

2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

Here are the posts inspired by great books for the fourth quarter of 2020:

October, 2020

Do Not Look Outside Yourself

Shine Brighter

Take Off The Mask & Cut Out Those Frustrations

Safety Nets Instead of Safety Barriers

Approaching The World With A Sense Of Childlike Wonder

November, 2020

Becoming The First Me

Getting Wound Around The Axle

What Are Your Filters

Catch Me And Prop Me Up!

Leading With Artisanship

Building A Community

Beyond COVID-19

The Education Catapult

Do Ideas Cause Change Or Does Change Cause Ideas?

Spreading The Wealth

December, 2020

Do You Feel Like I Do On Christmas 2020?

Building The Cocoon

The Language To Open Our World

Adding Fiction To The Reading Diet

Going Platinum

If Only We Would Just Ask

A Great Unknown

A Penguin Inspired Quest


2020 Third Quarter Book Inspired Posts

Here is the third of five posts highlighting the books that inspired blog posts throughout the year. These are from the months of July, August, and September. The last post will name my top books of 2020. You can bet that some of these books that inspired posts will be on the top books of 2020 list. President Harry S. Truman said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” Reading gives us the opportunity to experience and understand the lives and actions of others, the lessons learned from others, or how someone did something. These opportunities are readily and economically available through reading. We can learn a great deal about someone we might not, and probably won’t, ever meet. In some cases we may be learning from someone who died long before we were born. Being a leader is very complex. Leadership involves technical skill and knowledge, relationship building skills, and skills that we won’t know we need till the situation arises. Thus we need the mental exercise sessions that reading provides. So, as President Harry S. Truman also said, “The Buck Stops Here!” if you want to tap into some of the greatest knowledge from our past, present, and future the buck stops with you starting to develop your reading habit.

July, 2020

What The H@#* Is A Team Player

August, 2020

“Who Am I Not To Be?”

What Are Your Muses?

Big Momentum

Complex & Different

Codifier of Compassion

Why Are You On This Planet?

Become More Human & Less Machine

September, 2020

Explicitly Rethinking Your Leadership

“What Might Have Beens” Are Risky

What Do You Expect?

Don’t Overlook The Brilliance Of Our Students

Impossibility to Possibility Thinking

Leading With Global Reach

Don’t Get Naked At 8:00 AM

Gift Yourself Being Present For Your Own Personal Time

Belief Is The Price Of Admission

I Don’t Want We’ll See!

Seeking Opportunities to Observe & Update Our Worldview

Leaders Crashing & Flying Higher



The Language To Open Our World

Posted in DTK, Education, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 21, 2020
Language Matters: “I get to go to the dentist!”

In Chapter 17 of Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK), DTK taught us that our words matter. He used the phrase “work-life balance” that gets used a lot to drive this home. He hates that phrase and he even tried to Google it reversing “work” and “life” and didn’t get anything. To this he said, ” Our culture is so distorted that even Google’s algorithm has it backwards!” (p. 140) I have actually used this topic in leadership development gatherings to discuss whether our work defines us – if it does, should it? Any thoughts?

It’s sad that the norm is for us to put work first when considering balance. This makes me wonder if this is why so many are having trouble coping during these, now 284, days of the Global Pandemic. If we listen to the things we say (myself included), I would have to say “yes.” I’m hardly on any Zoom where someone doesn’t talk about “pandemic fatigue”or “work/life blur” among many other phrases I have heard people say. We need to find the strength to persevere through the next however many days of the pandemic. One way is to think about the words an language we use. DTK quoted Judith Glaser as having said, “words create worlds” (p. 140). He then said, “The way you speak about something is a window into what you thin about it, which informs how you feel, which shapes the actions taken and, therefore, the results that naturally follow. Your words do much more than serve as a mechanism for communication. Your choice of words matters. Words not only communicate what you’re thinking and what you believe, they create your reality” (p. 140). As I always say, “Language matters.”

This goes for what we say to ourselves and others. In education we say things like “You must read for 90 minutes.” Why don’t we say (and I suggest this to teachers all time), “You get to read.”? Words matter!!! Let’s help our kids understand they “get to read” and “get to be educated,” not “have to.” Even today I was reminded of this when I going to the dentist for my six month cleaning and checkup. I kept telling myself, “I get to go to the dentist.” Okay, so it doesn’t always work, but it really did put me in a different mindset. I know this might be seen by some as Pollyanna thinking, but that’s exactly the kind of thinking we need to have. Remember, language matters, both the words we say to others and even more importantly those we say to ourselves.

If Only We Would Just Ask

Posted in DTK, Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 14, 2020

Have you ever complained about something? I know. Stupid question, right? We have all complained about something. Many times a complaint is an unspoken request. Additionally, when we don’t ask for what we want we tend to complain about our needs not getting met. I guess as much as we complain, we must not be very good at asking for what we want. I also believe it to be much more complicated than this, however. When we ask for what we want we make ourselves vulnerable to being turned down or judged negatively for our request. Sometimes people don’t ask because they do not believe they really deserve what they are asking for.

Let’s think about this from a case study perspective. Let’s say I like running through the television channels a time or two. Or three. Or four. It seems my wife is not into that as much as I am. Now, my wife could complain about me, or she could ask me to stop doing that. Did you catch that? If only we’d just ask! Remember, many times a complaint is an unspoken request. We also need to make sure we are paying attention to what it is that makes others complain as well. Also, don’t forget, we are generally much better at listening to ourselves than others.

This very subject was the topic of Chapter 16 entitled “Work On Yourself” in Mindset Mondays With DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). I loved that he quoted one of my favorite presidents when he said, “If leading is the ultimate responsibility, then it makes sense to start by improving yourself, and working on yourself even harder than you work on your business. As Harry Truman said, ‘The buck stops here'” (p. 134). What does this mean? We need to express what DTK calls the “dream behind the complaint.” The buck stopping with us begins with us expressing what we need to have changed or done. Again, if only we’d just ask!

A Great Unknown

Posted in DTK, Growth Mindset, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 8, 2020

David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) used the smoothing of a rock under a waterfall over a period of time as the metaphor in Chapter 15, Define Yourself, in Mindset Mondays with DTK. He wrote, “Just as it is in nature, there’s no escaping the fact that your human experiences shape who you are.” He went on to say, “Yet you neither become nor are defined by the events that impact you.” DTK’s metaphor made me think of the beach and ocean. Beaches are constantly changing. Tides and weather can alter beaches every day, bringing new materials and taking away others.

Even though a beach is constantly changing (just like us) every beach has a beach profile. A beach profile describes the landscape of the beach, both above the water and below it. We, like the beach, all have a profile that the events of our lives do not have to define. While ever rolling in a constant rhythm of ebb and flow, each wave, day, and week is different. No matter the changes, the beach is always beautiful – just like us.

We never know what we are going to encounter. Just like the beach has new weather and tidal patterns in its future, we have an unfamiliar element, perhaps a great unknown. But, it’s only by encountering the unknown that we can learn, grow, and experience adventure.