Monday, October 27, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships


The quieter you become, 
the more you are able to hear.
--- Ram Dass

What I often call ‘Male-Answer Syndrome’ is to try to fill any gap in conversation with words in order to attempt to resolve any problem immediately. Many people, particularly men (although many women have picked up this quality as an unfortunate bi-product of their struggle to climb the corporate ladder) waste mega-joules of valuable energy attempting to fix others’ problems.

What other people truly want is not to hear solutions (e.g. “Have you tried this?”) but compassion and understanding (e.g. “What you’re going through must be really difficult. I would be having a tough time with it too”).

This kind of admission of your own vulnerability may make your stomach churn—yet if you can’t genuinely own up to your own challenges and insecurities, how can you expect others to? The risk of such behavior is to end up in a make-believe Pleasantville where all the actors try to appear perfect and fill the space between them with endless dialogue devoid of real depth or learning.

This week, make a pact with yourself to find other ways to be supportive of others besides action-planning them to death. Make an effort to accept the unsettling ambiguity that comes with the other person having their own distinct human experience.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, October 20, 2014

Smile, It's Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Make a Difference in the World


And many strokes, though with a little axe, 
Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.
--- Shakespeare

Reflect on one of your most important life goals. Think of achieving this goal like your big day. Imagine yourself on stage in a Tony Award–winning performance, or in the finals at a dance competition, or running with a football tucked under your arm at the Super Bowl. Now visualize all the training you will have to do in the theater, in the dance studio, or at the gym to reach your goal.

The glory comes from focusing not on the glory, but on the training.

Whether your goal is to become a psychologist, or to write a novel, or to start a new organization to make a social impact, describe the training in as much detail as you possibly can.

When will you train? How? How often? With what partner? With which mentor? With what intensity? Which milestones or interim goals will reflect your progress?

No matter how large the goal you have in your mind, take some time this week to envision the specific strokes you will take to bring it to the ground.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, October 13, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become a More Effective Leader


In any decision-making process, 
it’s the people who participate
 in making the decision
who gain power from the process.
--- Anthony Silard

Many leaders are threatened by this statement. With a silent, inadmissible shout out to Bush Jr., they want everyone to know that “I’m the decider, and I decide what’s best.”

Yet the idea of sharing power with the people we lead becomes less threatening and more benign when we realize that there’s a difference between input and decision-making. A misunderstanding of this distinction is where organizations that attempt to operate by consensus often lose their way.

Here’s how the three-step process that enables employees to feel that they are included and truly have a voice in organizational decisions works: First, each employee is encouraged to participate and share what they authentically feel. Second, the leader (and/or others on the senior leadership team) does her or his best to listen to and deliberate with their constituents so the leader (and other employees) can truly understand their ideas. Third, the leader makes a decision.

As a consequence of this process, the leader can think to themselves in good conscience: “I’m the inclusive decider, and I decide what’s best after allowing everyone with a stake in this decision the opportunity to express and deliberate about their views.”

This week, reflect on how you can become a more inclusive leader that people truly enjoy working for because they feel detected as human beings, respected for their ideas, and the targets of your genuine care and concern.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, October 6, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Become Your Greatest Fan


We cannot prove to be acceptable to others 
until we first prove acceptable to ourselves.
-- Malcolm X

Self-love is the gateway to other-love because love is actualized in only one way—giving—and you can’t give away something you don’t have.

If you want to give a box of chocolates to someone you admire, you first have to be the proud owner of a box of chocolates. If you don’t have any chocolates, you’re plumb out of luck—and so are they.
Unfortunately, there’s another side of the lack-of-self-love equation: If you don’t feel worthy of love, you question and devalue it when it’s given to you. When someone offers you that same box of chocolates, you ask yourself, “Why is she being so kind to me? She must want something”—or, even worse, you question the gift itself.

When someone agrees to meet with you, the meeting becomes the chocolates. You say, “She must be meeting me out of obligation,” or “She must be tired of working and need a break, and no one else is around.”

If you don’t value yourself, you assume there must be a reason she wants to spend time with you since, after all, Time with You is in the liability rather than asset column of her life.

This week, make a pact with yourself to turn off the negative mental chatterbox that doubts your self-worth and the kind actions directed toward you by others. Instead, allocate your mental energy to positive thoughts that reinforce your deeper belief in the value and contribution you have to offer to this world.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).

Monday, September 29, 2014

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Balance Work and Life


All truly great thoughts
 are conceived by walking.
--- Nietzsche

Picture a constant race taking place between your actions and your thoughts. Your actions are almost always far ahead and winning the race. One of your greatest life challenges is to provide your thoughts the regular opportunity to catch up.

Thought of in this way, your life is a continuous two-tier process of thinking and acting. You’re either thinking about what you want to do, doing it, or thinking about what you’ve already done. Thought, action, thought, action—thoughts and actions fill your entire life, one after the other!

Since your thoughts will enter the scene at some point, the real question becomes whether they will come before or after your actions. Ask yourself this one question: “Will I take the time out of my life to set its direction, or will I allow my actions to leap so far ahead of my thoughts that I cease to recognize them?”

If you take time regularly to reflect on your life, your thoughts are more likely to precede and guide your actions. If you don’t, they are more likely to follow your actions and yield guilt and remorse. Inspiration or regrets—which will you choose?

This week, integrate time into your schedule for a smartphone-free walk in beautiful surroundings. Start with a ten-minute walk around your office building if necessary; whatever you do, begin. This simple action will lead to other strategies that expand the space for reflection and meaning in your life.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Global Leadership Institute and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday each week in your inbox and a free copy of Anthony's new audio CD, "The Surprising Source of Your Passion", enter your email here (1-step only).