Monday, January 15, 2018

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

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.
 
--- Mother Teresa

We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s lonely at the top.” Why do leaders often feel lonely? One reason is the complex psychological adjustment to authority and the unexpected nature of the peerless role. 

Leaders often feel their heads are on the chopping block when faced with difficult decisions with no clear answer. 

As Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury and I found in a recent study, these feelings of being accountable for tough decisions combined with a lack of socioemotional support tend to generate loneliness in leaders. 

Think about it: Who does a leader talk to when making these complex decisions? In many cases, they feel they need to present themselves as wise and omniscient in order to preserve their status in the organization. 

For these reasons, they often do not talk to their employees or even board members about the insecurities they feel around making the right decision.

Add to this toxic cocktail the emotion theorist Nico Frijda’s finding that perceived uncertainty tends to lead to negative emotions and it is easy to understand why leaders are often consumed by anxiety, insecurity, and loneliness.

This week, reflect on your social support network and who you can confide in and bounce ideas off of when making complex decisions. Take action to expand this network and, in so doing, your well-being and capacity to sustain yourself as a leader.
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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 1, 2018

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

While thoughts about moving forward yield thoughts about moving forward,
moving forward yields forward movement
.
--- Anthony Silard 

There are many people who dream, many people who act, and few who do both.

The greatest benefit you reap when you take action is that you come to see yourself as a person who takes action.

You replace the self-image of someone who sits around and never gets anything done with that of someone who acts authentically, boldly embraces change, and does what it takes to transform their dreams into reality.

Here’s a simple truth: There is no rehearsal for life. Your life is the rehearsal. Your preparation for the big day is the big day.

With this way of thinking in mind, recognize when you are over-thinking and instead take action and move forward in your life.

Go work out once this week. Give away some of your money to a worthy cause. Write the first page or two of that screenplay. Attend a new social event even if it’s initially out of your comfort zone. 

Do a bit—whatever you can—and experience how it feels. Then do some more.

The indelible experience of a single connection with another human being will do more than volumes of books and all the theories in the world to provide your deepest wisdom, passion, and conviction in life.

This week, gently push mental meandering aside and take a bold step toward an important goal.
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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, December 18, 2017

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

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

A passage in the Old Testament reads, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither’.

You came into this world owning nothing of any substance or physical weight external to yourself. You will leave just as empty-handed.

Have you ever seen the t-shirt ‘He who dies with the most toys….dies.’ The two most significant moments in your life—birth and death—have no material objects to show for them!

So perhaps there is something within this ‘nothingness’—perhaps even something that matters most despite weighing the least.

When you take time alone away from the adrenaline-arousing mix of people, events and tasks that crowd your every waking moment, you stop running from this emptiness. Instead, you make peace with the vastness within so you can understand the feelings it contains.

The next time you pick up a magazine, or turn on the TV, or pick up the phone, ask yourself, ‘Am I committing this action in order to move toward something that’s important to me or to move away from myself?’

As The Eagles famously reminded us, ‘some dance to remember, some dance to forget.’ Do you make decisions each day about how to spend your time to enthusiastically create new memories or to desperately flee from old ones?

This week, take some time to reflect on how you will develop your relationship with the one person who will always be there with you, no matter what: yourself.
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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, December 4, 2017

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

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, 
far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to
a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.
--- Tom Wolfe

Leaders today occupy a precarious position. Research by the social psychologist Michael Hogg of Claremont Graduate University suggests that because of the high status of leaders, followers tend to see them as strikingly different from themselves, members of an outgroup to which followers do not belong.

As a result, followers tend to not be too eager to socialize with leaders. Think about it: do you want to hang out with your boss on a Saturday night? I doubt it.

If you do invite any coworkers into your social life, you would probably prefer those with whom you feel you can let your hair down and just be yourself. You probably perceive such individuals to be similar in status to yourself in your organization—and, hence, to belong to your ingroup.

These intra-organizational social dynamics are unfortunate for leaders, as a 2004 study by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that today’s knowledge workers increasingly socialize with their coworkers rather than outside of their organizations.

Who, then, is left to socialize with leaders? For these reasons, leaders often feel isolated and lonely.

If you are in a leadership role, you may be wise to stop hoping for genuine friendships from the people you lead.

Instead, as an interview study I conducted with Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand reveals, you may be better off expanding your social network by joining peer groups that include other leaders also experiencing a similar excommunication to the outgroup by their followers.
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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, November 20, 2017

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

To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
--- Old proverb

In July 2004, the City Council of Monza, a small town in Italy, banned goldfish bowls. They felt strongly that goldfish should be kept in rectangular aquariums rather than in round bowls.

Search your imagination and try to figure out why they made this decision. I have to admit I was stumped on this one.

A statement from the City Council read: “A fish kept in a bowl has a distorted view of reality and suffers because of this.”

In other words, Monza city council members want goldfish, even if they are to live out their days in a glass encasing, to see the world as it truly is.

Have you ever been feeling sad and thought everyone else must also feel sad? Alternatively, have you ever been looking to rent a house or apartment and suddenly realized there are ‘For Rent’ signs everywhere, even though you walked by them unknowingly before?

We don’t see others, but ourselves projected onto others.

Rather than creating our life, we inherit a series of habitual patterns from our parents and others who have significantly influenced us. These habitual patterns, rather than what lies directly in front of us, determine what we see.

This week, identify the lens you cover your eyes with that distorts your view of reality and detracts from the way you experience life.

As the citizens of Monza have taught us, if you wish to liberate yourself from its control you first have to name 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).