Monday, May 7, 2018

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Create the Intimate Relationship You Desire

I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. 
I make mistakes, I am out of control 
and at times hard to handle.
But if you can't handle me at my worst,
then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.
--- Marilyn Monroe

What is your path to meeting the right person? To go out to bars and clubs? Alternatively, is it to take part in activities (alone or with others) that you naturally enjoy and help you build a stronger sense of who you are?

“Doing things I enjoy sounds well and good,” you may be thinking, “but while others are working on their love for themselves, I’m going to be out meeting people and bringing a real relationship into my life.”

If you don’t think building your relationship with yourself is that important, let me ask you a question: Would you prefer to meet someone who is needy and dependent because they haven’t cultivated their relationship with themselves, or someone who is strong, stable, and comfortable in their own skin?

Which person is more likely to choose to spend time with you because they value you for who you are, not for what you can provide to them that they can’t provide themselves?

This week, make a commitment to spend more time building your most important relationship―with yourself.

The more comfortable you are being alone, the more likely you are to make decisions from a stable place within where you are genuinely aware of the kind of person you desire and how to go about bringing them into your life.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, April 23, 2018

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

The worst loneliness is not 
to be comfortable with yourself.
--- Mark Twain

Boredom simply means time alone that is uncomfortable.

How do you become comfortable talking with someone you haven’t seen in a long time and no longer know very well other than becoming reacquainted with them and conversing until a feeling of comfort reemerges?

How do you become comfortable playing basketball other than … by playing basketball?

Similarly, you build your comfort level with spending time alone by …  spending time alone.

Most of us are so afraid of boredom that we run from it, which prevents it from maturing into an opportunity for self-understanding and psychological clarity.

Others can’t stand boredom because they associate it with inefficiency—a four-letter word in a culture hyper-focused on productivity.

Yet love, truth, happiness, inner peace, meaningful relationships—all the things we care about are never efficient: they involve trying, retrying, and retrying different approaches again until we find one that works, and then reworking it again once it stops working.

How can we develop this tolerance for the necessary inefficiency of developing meaningful relationships—including with ourselves?

The answer lies within you: in your case, it may be walking for forty-five minutes after work and watching the sunset. It may be going to a concert and allowing the music to connect you with your soul. It may be through meditation or yoga.

This week, make a pact with yourself to loosen your attachment to short-term results and open yourself to doing what it will take to form a deeper connection with yourself and others.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Live the Life You Have Imagined

Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself
even though you never touch its coattails.
--- Clarence Darrow

Can you recall the times in your life when you stumbled over the truth—when you realized what your true inner calling is, or the kind of person you wish to spend your life with, or what family truly means—even if only for a brief moment? 

Most of the time we let these moments pass us by because our ego doesn’t allow our soul to fully absorb what’s holding its attention. 

Our ego diverts us back to our worries about what we have to do tomorrow, or our insecure need to regain our traction on the hamster wheel to nowhere we’ve been sprinting on in our job, or our impulsive desire to follow up with so many people so we can feel as if we know everyone—while in truth we know no one. 

Due to our constant preoccupations, we turn a blind eye to that faintly perceptible feeling inside instead of letting it grow. 

Here’s my simple advice: go back to those moments in your life when you actually felt something. Remember those feelings, give them room to freely evolve, and learn what they came into your heart to teach you. This is your passion.

This week, take some time to reflect on what has given your life meaning. Recall those moments from your past in which you felt a connection with the deepest part of yourself. Then consider how you will enable what you most value to emerge in your life.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, March 26, 2018

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

Truth is the only safe ground to stand on.
--- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Speaking with your authentic voice and sharing what is true for you can be terrifying.

It means sharing your fears, insecurities, and major life issues. It means being vulnerable.

It means others will know how to use your words against you, to manipulate you, to hurt you. 

I’m not suggesting you roll over and expose your underbelly to everyone. But if you want to connect with others meaningfully you have to open up about what really matters. You have to ask for what you truly want. 

If you are consistently punished in a relationship for speaking up about how you feel, you will never feel fulfilled in that relationship. 

You have a fair-weather friend, nothing more. They’re with you as long as you stay in your TV set for them to control. 

But you may have more channels than they want to see, and they’re going to have to get used to that if they want to be around the real you.

This week, try being more assertive about a small issue with someone you trust and with whom you do not feel intimidated to have a challenging conversation. 

Balance your assertiveness with empathy for how they are feeling and your approach is likely to bring about the outcome you desire.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, March 12, 2018

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


You are connected to every other human being
you’ve ever encountered by a universal life force.
This synergy can give rise to your passion
.

--- Anthony Silard

A question I am often asked is, “If I haven’t suffered a lot in my life, does it mean I can’t have any passion?” I respond that the good news is your passion doesn’t have to come from your own suffering. 

I’ve observed in many of my clients that the flip side of an easy, sheltered childhood can be a lack of passion to change anything in the world. (If you are content with the cards the world has dealt you, after all, why change the deck?)

I’ve also had the privilege of working with many others who, despite enormous privilege, have found their passion through opening their hearts to others.

How does this occur? When someone else suffers, you suffer too. If this weren’t the case, you would never cry during a movie. The same is true with joy. Watch someone smile, and you will smile. When a friend laughs, you laugh. 

The passion created inside you when you observe others suffering comes from compassion—com, “with” and passion, “to suffer.”

Compassion doesn’t mean “to suffer with,” which would bring you down and render you unable to sustain your caring for the other person, but “to be with someone in their suffering.”

This week, find a cause you believe in and contact an organization that appears to be doing good work in this area and ask how you can help. Even a small amount of interaction with people less fortunate than you may be all it takes to ignite the fire within.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, February 26, 2018

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


It is easier to perceive error than to find truth, for the former lies on the surface and is easily seen, while the latter lies in the depth, where few are willing to search for it.
---Goethe 

Have you ever watched a heron fly above the ocean and then suddenly plunge into the water, submerging itself in its quest for fish? Imagine you are flying above a lake and dive deep into the water, not for dinner but to reach the bottom.

Once you arrive at the lake’s floor, let your body become still. As the water settles and becomes clear, let your mind do the same.

Sitting there, in the depths of the lake, is your true self. When the lake is clear, you see to the bottom of who you truly are. You become calm, peaceful, and serene, just like the water.

Once you encounter even a glimpse of truth, all it takes is a tiny stone to fall into your lake to destroy the inner peace that accompanies it. The first ripple leads to other, larger ripples, and soon the water is stirred up and you are no longer at peace.

For these reasons, many of us simply avoid this relentless search. We hide from truth instead. How? Email. Alcohol. Drugs. Texting. TV. Food. Sex. Shopping. Superficial relationships. Name your poison—there are plenty to help you avert your authentic self.

This week, dedicate yourself to taking a small step forward in your search. 

How? Go to a meditation. Take a walk alone. Just sit. Find what works for you. Do a little and build up a bit of your trust in yourself. Then do a bit more.

_____________________________________________
Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.