Monday, September 25, 2017

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

We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world,
and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.
--- Robert Louis Stevenson

The social distance between two people—whether they are friends, family members or intimate partners—is a continually evolving variable that their interaction influences in each and every moment.

The more we treat other people with kindness while also non-judgmentally allowing them their freedom, the more they wish to be close to us.

The more we attempt to keep others under our wing to quench our insatiable need for reassurance that we are not alone in this world, the further we push them away.

The reality is that we have come into this world alone and will leave it alone. I realize that is a tough thing to write or read and it reeks of an individualistic approach to life.

I see it differently, however. We do not set foot on this earth to accumulate things or people. Most of us spend our lives trying to make as much money as we can, guided by this futile objective.
Rather, we are here to experience love and share it with others.

To progress in this endeavor, it is imperative that we accept others as they are and allow them to be free human beings: in other words, to offer them precisely what we desire for ourselves.

To do so, we cannot insist on a specific level of closeness that they must maintain with respect to us.

This week, acknowledge that each person in your life, at times, needs to be closer to you and at other times more distant. Adjust how you act toward them accordingly.
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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, September 4, 2017

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

Don’t criticize what you don’t understand, son. 
You never walked in that man’s shoes.
--- Elvis Presley

Do you express empathy toward the people around you each day? If you are like the rest of us in our increasingly technology-mediated society, you may be expressing less empathy toward others than you think. You may also be receiving less empathy from others.

According to survey research by social psychologist Sara Konrath of Indiana University, empathy rates in the general population have decreased by approximately 40 percent over the past few decades.

In a meta-analysis of 72 studies conducted between 1979 and 2009, Konrath found that people today are much less likely to agree with statements such as “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective” (a measure of cognitive empathy, or the mental process of putting oneself in another person’s shoes).

Konrath also found that people are much less likely to agree with statements such as “I often have tender, concerned feelings for people less fortunate than me” (which measures affective empathy, or the experience of emotions that attune to how another person is feeling).

What happens to us when we express and receive less empathy? We become disconnected from others. Our reduced social connections then lead to the toxic effects of loneliness.

This week, ask someone how they are feeling at least twice per day. Even more importantly, when they respond, stop what you are doing and truly listen.
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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, August 21, 2017

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

Thought and theory must precede all salutary action,
yet action is nobler in itself than either thought or theory.
--- William Wordsworth

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe was living in Weimar in 1806 with his girlfriend, Christiane, and their son. Napoleon’s army invaded the town and occupied their home, bursting into their bedroom with bayonets drawn.

While the German philosopher stood petrified, Christiane took charge of the situation. She barricaded the kitchen and cellar and quarreled with the marauding soldiers until they retreated. The next day, Goethe married Christiane.

While thinking can help you crystallize your deepest values and life vision, so can acting.

Without action, your thoughts can go on tangents that distance you further and further from reality. Being in the line of fire with Christiane and observing her courage provided Goethe with the wake-up call he needed to clarify his feelings toward her.

While your mind generates thoughts about what you want to do with your life, your actions generate feelings.

To confirm whether you want to become a singer, dancer, or podiatrist, you have to do more than study those vocations. You have to belt out a few tunes, get jiggy with some new moves, or put your hands around a few feet and experience how it makes you feel.

This week, practice taking bold action instead of thinking your days away and you will feel energetic rather than lethargic, and confident rather than timid as you witness yourself unabashedly living your potential.
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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, August 14, 2017

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

To love abundantly is to live abundantly,
and to love forever is to live forever.
--- Henry Drummond

All of us experience profound grief at various times in our lives. The passing of a loved one, a miscarriage, a break-up—unfortunately, difficult events are or at some point will be a part of all of our lives.

When we feel grief after the passing of someone we deeply love, it is not possible to process all of it at one time.

Consider the alternative: if you hadn’t had such strong feelings of love, you wouldn’t feel much grief.

As hard as it may be to do, push yourself to access the deep gratitude that lies within. Be thankful you had the opportunity to love, to feel such deep caring, to develop such a meaningful relationship.

Despite how challenging it feels to do, try to shift your powerless feelings of loss to powerful feelings of gain—toward an appreciation of how fortunate you are to have been blessed by this person’s presence in your life.

The alternative—no relationship; no love; no loss—is unfathomable.

Make a vow to yourself, when you feel able, to genuinely express love in each of your relationships and to fill your life only with relationships that provide a repository for the love within you and allow it to flourish.

While this may feel like small solace in these dark hours, it is love and only love—for the people around you—that will bring vitality back into 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 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, July 31, 2017

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

There’s not one wise man among twenty will praise himself.
---Shakespeare

The subject of narcissistic leadership has received much press over the past year. On the other side of the coin, researchers such as Bradley Owens of Brigham Young University have been making important discoveries about humble leadership.


Owens’ empirical studies have found humble leaders to admit their own mistakes and limitations, to be “teachable” or open to learning, to showcase follower strengths, and to emphasize the developmental journeys of followers.

As these characteristics of humble leadership overlap significantly with empathy and trust, two important ingredients of high-quality relationships, it seems that humble leaders might be adept at developing lasting and meaningful relationships. These relationships play a protective role in shielding them from the hostile effects of loneliness.

These associations are particularly important as relationship quality is the strongest (negatively related) determinant of loneliness.

In sum, it seems that leaders are able to shield themselves from loneliness by being humble. Conversely, when leaders are aggressive, overly sensitive, and less empathetic toward others—the hallmark characteristics of narcissism—they isolate themselves from others and become increasingly lonely.

This loneliness is dangerous for all of us, as the lack of wise counsel and social support associated with lonely leaders can short-circuit their ability to make sound decisions.

This week, emphasize the strengths and accomplishments of your followers, admit one of your mistakes, and reflect on other actions you can take to integrate humility into your personal leadership style.
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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, July 17, 2017

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

If youth knew; 
if age could.
---Sigmund Freud

It was a beautiful fall Monday morning. I would usually jump right into work, but I had presented at a conference the previous Friday night and all of Saturday. I needed a break.

I drove out to Great Falls, Virginia, a beautiful state park near Washington D.C. I was dealing with some difficult personal issues, and the walk under the iridescent, brightly colored fall leaves by the Potomac River was doing me a lot of good.

Every once in a while, I passed either a group of children on a school trip or an elderly couple walking together.

It dawned on me that the only people out in nature enjoying one of the most beautiful days of the year in Washington were children on school trips and seniors. Everyone else was busy working and being ‘productive’.

I thought about how ironic it is that we shut ourselves off from the inner guidance that is more readily available to us while walking in nature during the years when we most need it.

This week, get out your planner and start making meaningful commitments to schedule less work and more time for yourself and the people you love.

The only time you can influence your capacity to find balance is in the present moment. Embrace one of these moments now.
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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, June 26, 2017

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

The best friend you can have is like a brother or sister.
The best brother or sister you can have is like a friend.
---Anthony Silard

At any point in time, some of our friends desire to be closer to us and some wish to be more distant.

The irony of craving for less social distance from specific friends is that there are other friends who crave the same from us whom we routinely ignore.

Instead of continually playing a role in this food chain where less social distance is the coveted gourmet meal, you can make the decision to step off the hamster wheel of incessant striving for unreciprocated closeness and open your eyes to those people who, right here and now, are making the effort to spend time with you.

The others, if they are true friends, will eventually come around. If they don’t, the friendship was not much more than a mental construction you needed to cling to in order to feel less lonely in this world.

You can now make the choice to move on and appreciate those who both share your desire for closeness and have the capacity to co-create a healthy and meaningful relationship with you.

Stop and take a moment to bring a specific friend into your mind. Try to recognize the level of closeness they want with you in this present moment. Acknowledge the level of closeness that you, in turn, desire with this friend.

Visualize a few steps you can take to develop the friendship given your perception of the social distance both you and they can handle.

This week, take some of these steps.
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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).