Monday, February 8, 2016

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


Don’t let another season pass you by.
--- Tagline of a bed-and-breakfast agency on Maryland’s Eastern Shore

If you can’t find any good reason to take time for yourself, try this one: When you haven’t had time to find balance, you are likely to attach to negative emotions and then become unable to extricate yourself from the negative moods they generate.

This natural human tendency to over-focus on negative emotions is supported by research on cognition and emotion. Douglas Derryberry of Oregon State University and colleagues found that when we experience negative emotions, we construct a filter that rules out all other thoughts except those encoded in the negative emotional event.

Why do we do this? To seek information that renders our environment more controllable and understandable.

Living your life at balance, then, requires you to be proactive not in managing the stress you feel (which can be counterproductive in that it enables you to increase your tolerance to—and experience of—stress) but in generating less stress to tolerate.

It requires you to acknowledge that while you feel your life is out of balance when you feel stress, you also feel stress because your life is out of balance. Stress and a lack of balance, then, collectively degenerate into a vicious spiral that detaches you from your authentic self.

To prevent your life from spinning out of control, take this simple step today: schedule time for an activity dedicated to yourself. Whether it’s going for a long walk or to a dance class, think about what you truly enjoy and make time for it. You’re worth it.

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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 every other 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, January 25, 2016

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


The greatest struggle of your life, 
for which all your other struggles are mere preparation,
is to truly love yourself exactly as you are.
--- Anthony Silard

Life’s greatest struggle does not require you to reach a financial goal, or achieve a certain measure of status, or even to find the right partner or raise healthy children. It requires you to love yourself unconditionally.

Sound simple? It’s not. It means loving even the parts of yourself that you perceive as undesirable, or unlovable, or those of which you are ashamed.

It means to love these parts as much as every other part, and to know you are the only person who will ever love and accept you with no preconditions, clauses or requirements.

Reflect for a moment on where you are struggling in your life. Are you fed up with a dead-end job that no longer motivates you? Are you in a relationship with someone who shows up physically but not emotionally? Do you feel drained and distraught around some members of your family?

Take a step back for a moment from all the actors on your stage: they are mere reflections of your self-image.

Do the hard work of cultivating your love for yourself. Confront the mental barriers that obstruct your self-love—your inner critic that mutters, “I can’t believe you did this,” or “You would be something if only you were able to do that.”

Silence this voice and attune to the other, stronger voice that believes in you.

This week, begin to take the time you need to build this faith in yourself. Then return to the stage and create a new story.

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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, January 11, 2016

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


People will forget what you said, 
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.
--- Maya Angelou

A common adage for relationship harmony is that an individual has to choose between being happy or being right. While the goal of most intelligent people is to be right, the goal of a true leader is to make emotional connections with others.

Many elections have been lost by politicians who impressed people with their intelligence but could not connect with them as a human being.

During the widely contested 2000 U.S. presidential election between an arguably more qualified Al Gore and George Bush, Jr., one widely circulated voter comment was that Bush Jr. seemed like a guy with whom they would rather sit down and have a beer.

While this comment may seem superficial, it really isn’t: it speaks to how people feel about high-brow messages that lack feeling and passion. For this reason, it’s important for leaders to focus on their words not just being intelligent, but also making others feel connected and inspired.

The next time you have the opportunity to make a speech, let your primary goal be not to be correct, but to connect.

Juxtapose your empathy for the needs of the people in the audience and your passion for what you are asking them to do with your logical reasoning for why you believe they should do it.

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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, January 4, 2016

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


A stitch in time saves nine.
--- English proverb

Here’s how most of us approach balance. We focus on our job and work hard. It’s stressful, but life feels fine: we are fulfilling our purpose after all, or so we think. We coast along like this for days, even weeks.

Then one day we experience what Howard Weiss of Purdue University and Russell Cropanzano of the University of Colorado call an “affective event”—an event that evokes our emotions.

Because we have been gradually increasing our ability to tolerate stress in order to maintain our heightened level of work, our cup is already full when the affective event occurs. As a result, we cannot handle it well: our negative emotions spillover, we ruminate about the event over and over and are unable to stop feeling like its victim.

We wonder why our partner had to have lunch with their ex, or why a coworker had to insolently upstage us. Because we are in no internal shape to deal with such a negative emotional event, it overwhelms us.

This is why it’s so important to embrace a life at balance every day. If we haven’t been taking time for ourselves, we lack the inner capacity to handle situations in which difficult emotions such as anger, sadness or anxiety arise. As a result, we quickly become identified with and gradually overtaken by these emotions.

This week, welcome a strategy into your life to find balance so you can better manage the challenging emotional events you experience in your life as they occur.

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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).