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?

Safety Nets Instead Of Safety Barriers

Posted in DTK, Leadership, Mindfulness, Mindset Mondays, REWIRE by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 4, 2020

Funny that David Taylor-Klaus (DTK) talked of becoming a grown-up with our fully formed prefrontal cortex, giving us more rational and limiting beliefs. Funny because I had someone (who I have worked with and have a great relationship with), in a loving way, describe me as having the mindset of an eighth grader this past week. Well, I resemble that remark. Grown-up, I am not; and proud of it.

DTK described some of his childhood “rope-in-the-tree” swinging antics that landed him with a broken nose and shattered wrist. His last statement about the story was, “Sadly, my parents forbade any future effort to test my theory.” Probably no one else reading DTK’s book would highlight that sentence but me. But, there is such a fine line between protecting us, which his parents were very well, and beginning to limit our beliefs with, so called, “rationale thinking.”

This is a pretty extreme example, but as an educational leader I think about this a lot. What’s the correct balance of risk-taking and over-protection? What might DTK have learned if after he healed, he had retested his rope swinging theory again? I am not suggesting that we put our children, or ourselves for that matter in harms way, but I am a believer that we cannot live risk-free. What if Thomas Edison had quit risking failure after electric light bulb prototype 9,999?

For me, it’s about the “what if?” I would rather admit failure than having to explain “what if?” DTK in Chapter 6 of Mindset Mondays With DTK told us we must not let ourselves become victims. We have clear choices and clear steps to make a shift in believing in ourselves. We need an “I can” mindset giving us a belief that we are strong and capable. DTK told us, “Who we believe we are matters.” It is so important that we allow for risk with our children and all we serve. Again, I am not advocating putting anyone in harms way, but finding a way to be a safety net. That metaphorical, or maybe even real one, looks like allowing for risk, but allowing for failure so that learning can happen.

To take those risks it is very important that we make sure that we, our children, and those we serve hear “I can” instead of “I can’t.” We need to be safety nets and not safety barriers.

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.