Byron's Babbles

Leading Like The DC League of Super-Pets

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Superhero by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on December 4, 2022
Batman & Ace

This past week I worked in Las Vegas, Nevada and on my flight out there I watched the animated adventure centered around the pets of DC superheroes, DC League of Super-Pets. I loved it! The movie is chocked full of leadership lessons, lessons about friendship, and learning to rely on others. Every one of the pets has a story. Also, the relationship of the pet to the superhero has a story. This alone is important to note. As leaders we must understand our own story and well as the stories of those we serve. Additionally, it always comes down to relationships.

No leader works alone. They have teams, friends, and those in the organizations they serve. During my work this week I was reminded that everyone I have ever worked with has played a significant role in my success. In the movie, I was reminded of this by Batman (Keanu Reeves) refusing the to adopt Ace (Kevin Hart) from the shelter. His reasoning was that Batman works alone. Ace was the only shelter pet to work with Krypto (Superman’s dog played by Dwayne Johnson) that had not found a match with a Justice League member. In the end, Batman realized he had never really worked alone. Nothing really great has ever happened by someone working alone. We all have teams, friends, and supporters. We must nurture those relationships.

Batman also made another astute observation in the movie. He told Lex Luthor (Marc Maron), who was hoping to gain superpowers, that superpowers were overrated. How many times have you looked at the skills or talents of others with envy, or even as if they have superpowers. We don’t need what others have. We need what we have. We need to keep becoming the best “me” we can become! We don’t need to look outside for superpowers, we already have those powers within.


Superhero Fantasy World

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Superhero by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on October 30, 2022

Everyone knows I like hard rock music and that I like reflecting on lyrics. I’ve been listening to some Falling In Reverse lately and the song Superhero has caused me to do a lot of thinking the expectations we put on others. I do a superhero activity in my leadership development facilitation, then always tell groups we should study persons, not the superhero we think they are or, more importantly, we want them to be. While I agree, we sometimes see people as superheroes, we must remember they are human. They will make mistakes and let us down. And, they are living their lives, not us. But let’s remember that none of us are the worst thing we have ever done. In the song Superhero it says, “I don’t wanna be a superhero ‘Cause I can’t save the world.” We have to watch putting people on pedestals that none of us can live up to. This is not saying we should not have heroes, role models, and mentors that we watch and learn from, but we must remember they are humans just like us.

In an interview, Falling In Reverse’s lead singer, Ronnie Radke, said this about Superhero: “Wow! That’s a radio song! That song is about people expecting you to be a certain way and when you step out of that fantasy they either go crazy or they go crazy actually. It’s what I have learned over the years is if I do something not pleasing or wrong you never hear the end of it.” Did you catch that? That was a pretty profound statement! What I called a ‘pedestal’ earlier in the post Ronnie calls a ‘fantasy.’ How many times do we expect others to live up to a superhero fantasy only to go crazy when they don’t quite live up to our version of the fantasy.

We also do this with our kids and students. Yes, our young scholars will, and should, live up to high expectations, but sometimes we forget that every path matters. For everyone in our lives we need to be careful to not create a false and unhealthy narrative about what it means to be successful. I always say we need to be helping those we serve to be significant. We are not each responsible for saving the world individually or sacrificing ourselves. As the song says: “I just wanna do better.” So let’s quit the fantasy stuff and help each other be the best we can be!

Being The Hero Inside You

Posted in DTK, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development, Mindset Mondays, Superhero by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on April 22, 2021

Our lives are such a dynamic experience. Sometimes we may feel like life is static and fixed, and other times we are moving and shaking. But, upon further analysis we are actually in a state of perpetual flux. I was reminded of this in Chapter 34, “Beyond The ‘Blah-teau’” in Mindset Mondays with DTK by David Taylor-Klaus (DTK). Expansion and contraction is the metaphor that comes to mind here. DTK said, “To genuinely expand what we are capable of doing, we must also expand our being” (p. 245). Back to my metaphor. When something expands it would be more spacious and able to fill up the world with its biggest and best version. On the other hand, our contracted version becomes tighter and collapses and shrinks. Thus reducing capacity.

As part of the constantly expanding universe, we too are constantly being called to expand. DTK observed, “This includes recognizing our current capacity and consciously stretching it to make room for what’s next, and for who we are becoming next” (p. 245). We must know who we are to know what we want to create in the world. DTK made reference to superheroes saying, “Dropping the superhero cape and BEING the hero inside” (p. 247). I loved that because this week and last I have been doing a leadership development session using superheroes as a through line. Just like superheroes, we all have great powers, but are also vulnerable and have doubts. We must channel who we really are and our own personal superpowers to expand and evolve to make the great impact we we put on this world to create.

Leading Like A Superhero


Ever since we were kids we’ve dreamed of becoming superheroes. During our first fall gathering of 3D Leadership, I used a superhero throughline and had participants research superheroes and pick one that best represented themselves; or they could create an all new one. As always, they were super creative (a superhero power) and as they shared out I asked them a few questions:

  1. What is your superpower?
  2. How did you get your powers?
  3. What’s something that your arch nemesis has?
  4. Where would you live when your not saving the world?
  5. If you were on a team of superheroes, what would your role be?
  6. What would you fight the enemy with?
  7. In addition to your powers, what weapon would you want?

A couple of these superheroes really jumped out at me: Wonder Lori and Glinda. Wonder Lori was a new and made up superhero and Glinda was based on the good witch in the Wizard of Oz. The superpowers for these two were empathy and serving. Pretty good superpowers for leading like a superhero, right? Really being a superhero is about tapping one’s ability to do extraordinary things; and, being able to help others doing extraordinary things.

I was really struck by the superhero Glinda from the Wizard of Oz. The participant picked Glinda because of her power of always showing up at just the right time. This blew my mind because I had never thought about this in all the times I have watched the Wizard of Oz. But, what a great superpower, right. All of us as leaders would love the superpower of showing up at the right time. Glinda really did show up at just the right time, every time.

Additionally, the participant quoted Glinda at the end of the movie when she said, “You had the power all along, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.” This is such a powerful statement. Glinda was a great teacher—and this compliment is not undeserved. The first lesson she teaches is one of delegation. She tells Dorothy the Wizard might be able to help her get home, but that the journey to Oz is a long and treacherous one. Dorothy needs, as always seems to be the case, more information and asks for it (she’s very good at asking questions). Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the Yellow Brick Road and never take the ruby slippers off her feet. Of course, the Munchkins help her get started and find her way on the yellow brick road. Dorothy has more questions, but Glinda is a master delegator: she waves her wand and disappears! Remind you of any great leaders you have worked with?

Even though we don’t see Glinda very much in the movie, she’s clearly behind the scenes keeping watch, removing barriers, and doing things to help without desiring any recognition. We learn this in the scene in which Glinda sends snow to counteract the effects of the sleep-inducing poppies. Glinda never rushes in dramatically on a white horse (even thought there are really cool horses in the movie that change colors) to fix everything herself and, in the process, undermine Dorothy’s self-confidence as a leader. Even when Glinda reappears at the end of the movie, it is only to make sure that Dorothy has learned the lessons of the ruby slippers for herself – “You had the power all along, my dear, you just had to learn it for yourself.”

Leading Like Mr. Incredible

Screen Shot 2019-03-06 at 2.05.58 PMAt our most recent 3D Leadership gathering in Florida we had the participants make name tags because our group size was around 80 individuals. But you know me, I couldn’t just have them make a normal boring name tag with a name, they also had to put the name of the superhero that they would most want to be. Then during some presenting out they had to tell us why. Great activity and way to get to know others! I was blown away, however, by one person, Bradley Warren, Assistant Principal at Waterset Charter School, who put Mr. Incredible AKA Byron on his. I was honored and asked the person why and he said, “You remind me of Mr. Incredible.” I’m pretty sure he was kidding, but… So, I had to do some studying on, you guessed it, Mr. Incredible.

IMG_4985Basically my research revealed that Mr. Incredible started out like any other superhero by saving the world several times. Then I found that he and other superheroes were forced to suppress their superness (yes, I made up that word). During this time it was tough for Mr. Incredible because he was looking for ways to be great and help others. Also, during this time he got married and started a family. Sounds like a lot of us, right? This reminded me that God intended us all to be leaders, fight for what is right, to win, and to defend. I try to live up to this call every day.

The big thing that stands out about Mr. Incredible to me is the fact that for him to realize it was not all about him was that he had to end up with a real family with the real day to day challenges and tribulations we all face. In thinking about it, all of the superheroes are real people with real challenges who lead real lives. It’s easy to be Mr. Incredible, or any other superhero for that matter, when you have super powers. It’s much harder to be a dad and husband, like the real Mr. Incredible, Robert Parr, who works each day and raises kids to adulthood has to do.

“No matter how many times you save the world. It manages to get back in jeopardy again.” ~ Mr. Incredible

We all need a challenge and we all need to do our part to save the world. Whether that is in the world of education, like in my case, or wherever your passion and purpose takes you. We must all choose to lead. We need to all realize we are valuable whether we can leap tall buildings (which we can’t) or not. We can, however, make a huge difference just being who we are.

What great leadership lessons I learned from a simple name tag. Thanks Bradley, for making me evaluate and reflect on whether I am living up to the Mr. Incredible standards. Do you have any Mr. Incredible insights to add?