Byron's Babbles

Gift Yourself Being Present For Your Own Personal Time

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Kevin Eikenberry, Leadership, Sara Canaday, Virtual LeaderCon by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on September 18, 2020

What a great week it has been. I have been working with schools, starting the fall gatherings of 3D Leadership, recording teacher webinars for the National FFA Organization for their virtual National FFA Convention and many other things. One of those many other things was having the opportunity to participate in and speak during the “Daily Debrief” of Kevin Eikenberry’s Virtual LeaderCon. What an incredible program and experience. It went on all five days this week with over 30 individuals with world-class expertise. I have an entire notepad filled with notes. I certainly will be using posts in this blog to process my learning. Additionally, I have already used things I learned from Virtual LeaderCon in the other work I have been doing this week.

There were so many great pieces of advice said that I wrote down, but on Wednesday, Sara Canaday, was great. I’ve know Sara for a while and she is the author of Leadership Unchained. At the end of her discussion with Kevin Eikenberry, he asked her one last question. He asked, “What’s the one piece of advice you want to give to the leaders here at Virtual LeaderCon?” Without hesitation, Sara answered, “Gift yourself with being present for your own personal time.” Huge! That his me like a ton of bricks. But…how to really do that, right?

“Gift yourself with being present for your own personal time.” ~ Sara Canaday

Well, we actually learned some things earlier in the conversation between Sara and Kevin that are useful in answering the question of “How?”. While Sara tells us we should calendar at least one hour, and really try for two, for personal time to marinate the happenings and learning from the week, the Virtual LeaderCon conversation taught us we probably are already doing some this. For example, my taking time to write this blog post represents taking time to marinate and process learning. Sara talked about how we always take the things people write way to literal. Its why we have trouble making changes in our lives, which as we learned from Rumi in the 13th Century when he said, “…Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” I’m sure you have experienced the person who when they finish a book becomes obsessed with everything in the book – quoting it constantly, trying to implement every single thing in the book, actually trying to shape-shift into the author, et cetera, et cetera. Really, it’s impossible to do that and frustrating to everyone around that person. We need to take what we read and learn and apply it where applicable and needed.

The point here, specifically, is to find the things that work specifically for you, and don’t forget the things you are already doing. For me, for example, my blog is very important and personal for me to marinate the happening and learning of my life.

Yesterday I tried to also put into practice Sara’s suggestion of the the one hour of marinating personal time by using something I already had to do – an hour drive to a school I am supporting. Usually I would be listening to a book or podcast, but yesterday morning I decided to just enjoy the morning – no sound at all. I left home in the dark and was headed east at exactly the correct angle to watch the sun come up (the sunrise in the photo featured in this post was of that very sunrise). I noticed so many things. I noticed the soybeans at different stages of maturity. Some were ready to be harvested (in fact I saw some being cut on my drive home); some were still a beautiful deep green; and many others were somewhere in-between. I also noticed the fresh cut sorghum-sudangrass on both sides of the road near a large dairy farm. I had noticed these sorghum-sudangrass fields on previous trips to this school and had noted this this farm was on the same cutting schedule as my own sorghum-sudangrass crop.

There were so many other things I saw. But, here’s the deal: My mind became so clear I was able to come up with a great new idea that I can’t wait to implement. Because I drive a lot, it will be very easy to gift myself a little more personal down time – a present to myself. Where can you gift yourself being present for your own personal time?