Monday, November 28, 2016

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

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

It all started way back. As children, we take cues from our parents and other adults who wield power in our lives. We internalize what we think they think into our self-view.

When people who don’t love themselves or possess low levels of self-esteem become parents, they don’t know how to convey love to their children since they never received much of it themselves.

Instead, they are critical. Why? Because we always criticize others when we are critical of ourselves, and vice-versa. Their criticism, whether open or indirect, roughly translates as I don’t love you the way you are and You cannot be your true Self if you want my love—you must change.

As a result, we begin at a very early age to believe that receiving love depends on meeting certain conditions. We adopt the belief that we are unworthy of love and must mold ourselves into someone else in order to obtain it.

And why don’t we stand up and object against this tyranny? Because when we were children, our parents were so large in our minds that they were our world.

If they acted in an unhealthy way toward us, we couldn’t disagree with them, because to believe they were unhealthy and misguided would be to entertain the thought that our world was unhealthy and misguided. That would be too painful and would sweep the rug from under our feet.

Rather than blindly plodding along in the life you’ve inherited, take a bold step toward living the life you create.
_____________________________________________
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 14, 2016

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

If you chase two rabbits, 
both will escape.
---Old proverb

I have found this proverb particularly instructive in my own life. If I don’t write as the first activity of my day, it usually doesn’t happen that day. (I am now writing this Smile, It’s Monday, for example, as my day’s first activity.)

Think about it: If you want to see a movie, where do you park? Do you park somewhere else and hope to make it to the movie? Alternatively, do you drive to the theater, park, and walk in to see the movie?

Whatever is most important to you, do it first.

Yet the problem may be that you are not sure which movie to see. As Marcel Proust sagely wrote, while there are many pleasures in life, the real question is which one is so important to you that you would be willing to forego all the others.

There are some areas of your life that do not require a value judgment on which is higher priority because they are mutually compatible—for example, loving your spouse doesn’t mean that going to work is a repudiation of him or her.

(The same, however, may not be true for staying at work over a reasonable number of hours, or refusing to miss a work meeting when your spouse wants you to accompany them to an important medical appointment.)

Take a moment to reflect upon what is most important to you in your career. Then meditate on what you most value in your personal life. Whatever they are, do them first.
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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, October 31, 2016

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

Either write something worth reading
or do something worth writing.
---Benjamin Franklin

Staring death in the eyes can wake you up to life.

A colleague of mine is the CEO of a high-tech company in Palo Alto, California. Tom has a black belt and teaches kids karate on weekends. He lived for two years in China and speaks fluent Mandarin. He loves going to museums and learning about just about anything.

I was inspired for many years by how Tom was able to do so much with his life. I always wondered where he drew his energy from. A few years ago, I decided to ask him.

“I used to sit at home and do nothing all the time. I failed most of my classes in high school and was very involved with drugs,” Tom replied.

“One day when I was seventeen, I was driving drunk and crashed straight into a tree at forty miles per hour. I was in a coma for three months. The doctor told my family he didn’t think I would survive. I spent two years in a hospital bed wearing a body cast, not knowing if I would ever walk again.”

“That gave me a lot of time to think,” Tom continued. “I vowed that if I ever got out of that hospital, I would make the most of my life.”

Make a pact with yourself to make the most of the limited time you have left on this planet. Embark on activities that will enable you not merely to exist, but to live.
_____________________________________________
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, October 17, 2016

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

My best ideas—those that deviate more from the norm and 
are more likely to break common assumptions, or in other 
words, be more groundbreaking, come to me on vacation: 
I have a theory that the truth is never told 
during the nine-to-five hours.
---Hunter S. Thompson

One of the best strategies I know of to take more time away from work is to commit yourself to taking vacations by booking them in advance.

If you can schedule blocks of time to work on an important work project, why can’t you schedule blocks of time to just play and have fun with the people you love or on your own?

What are you living for anyway? If you can’t enjoy yourself along the way, what’s the point of working in the first place?

Taking time to become a well-rounded person rather than an office drone means scheduling trips in advance and spending some time planning them just as you so easily schedule time to plan your work goals.

As with work goals, planning vacations dramatically increases your chances of making them happen.

Committing yourself to a vacation (and, hence, your inner well-being) is important because otherwise it’s too easy to keep putting it off in the name of productivity, more money, and all of your other worldly concerns.

I’ve taken more vacations than I can count that I wouldn’t have taken if I hadn’t planned them ahead of time because of the work pressures in the weeks leading up to lift-off. Do you think I regret even one of those vacations?

Every single time I have returned to work rejuvenated, more productive, and with much more innovative ideas for completing the projects I’m working on.

This week, dedicate some time to researching and scheduling your next vacation.
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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, October 3, 2016

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

None of us will ever accomplish anything excellent 
or commanding 
except when he listens to this whisper 
which is heard by him alone.
---Emerson

I worked with a man in his mid-forties who felt like a hamster spinning on a wheel going nowhere. John had been working for a few years in an advertising firm in Santa Barbara, California.

At four on a Friday afternoon, his boss would come into his office and berate him for not finishing a promotional presentation, and then say, “Why don’t you work on it and let’s check-in at six.” At their meeting later that evening, he would give John more tasks to complete by Monday morning.

John wanted to speak up to his boss but couldn’t get up the nerve. I encouraged him to take some time alone to figure out what he truly valued in his career. John started meditating on Wednesday evenings with a local meditation group.

John found the inner clarity to initiate a difficult conversation with his boss about the limits he needed to establish to experience more work-life balance. While his boss was initially understanding, in practice he still pressured John to work evenings and weekends when there were “short-term deadlines”—which was just about all the time.

John took a position in another advertising firm that took a more holistic approach to working with its employees and clients. While still working some evenings, John felt more aligned with the values of the company’s founders and became more passionate about his career.

This week, take an inner detour to reflect on where your life is and what you want it to become
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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 19, 2016

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

 
Travelers, it is late. Life’s sun is going to set.
During these brief days that you have strength,
be quick and spare no effort of your wings
.
---Rumi 

An accountant from Memphis I used to coach told me in one of our earlier sessions, “I’m thinking about taking two weeks off. I’m sure I’ll pay for it later.”


I replied, “If you don’t take time off, you can be sure you’ll pay for it later.”

Many people share Francis’ thoughts about “time off.” It’s a very limited outlook. Why? Because time off is really “time on” other dimensions of your life besides your career.

One of the primary problems the executives I coach face is they can’t take time for themselves or the people they love. They always feel they’re ‘too busy,’ or that taking a vacation would be ‘selfish.’

This week, try making a list of the true price Francis (and you) will pay for not taking time away from work.

Here are a few of the adverse side-effects you can anticipate from neglecting to take “time on” the non-work areas of your life: disconnection from your values and priorities, damaged or even lost relationships as others (rightfully) give up on your playing a consistent role in their lives.

Then of course there’s the lost productivity at work because you’re cutting with a dull blade. Productivity requires cognitive space to revisit and improve work processes—in other words, “time off.”

Then of course there’s the assortment of vices and illnesses that accompany self-evasion: excessive drinking or drugs, petty arguing, physical or emotional infidelity, headaches, ulcers, emotional bankruptcy…the list goes on.

After reviewing your list, schedule some “time on.”
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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 5, 2016

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

Efficient information sharing:
#1—Digital. #2—Phone. #3—Face-to-Face.
Building meaningful, enduring relationships:
The reverse
.
--- Anthony Silard

Despite wearing a brace on each forearm, receiving regular cortisone injections, and facing surgery on her hands from sending up to 4,000 texts per month, a 16-year old from Chicago continued to send about 30 texts per day. 

“I know it’s not good enough, but I am trying,” Annie Levitz shared. “It’s not even good texts. It’s things like, ‘Hey, what’s up?’”

According to a Pew report, texting became the highest-growth mode of communication for teens from 2006 to 2009, doubling during this period from 27 to 54 percent. 

Further, half of teens send over 50 texts per day, one in three sends over 100 texts per day, and 15 percent send over 200 texts in a day or 6,000 texts per month.

The MBA students I interviewed reported that texting and IM-ing using the application WhatsApp are not only the predominate mode of communication between students, but in many cases the only means through which students communicate outside of class. 

“I made one phone call to another student from my smartphone during the first week and then never again for two years,” one student remarked. “It was just understood that we all used WhatsApp.”
 
Consider the ramifications of this digital shift for the development of communication skills such as listening with empathy and speaking with authenticity: when these complex interpersonal skills are not developed through practice, they atrophy.

Call a few people today that you usually text. Keep a journal of how these small changes influence your everyday relationships.
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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).