Monday, December 20, 2010

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




There is only love – all else is illusion. 
At every moment, in every conversation you have ever been in or ever will be in, 
you and the other person are each either seeking love or expressing love.
--- Anthony Silard

We seek love in many ways, such as shouting, belittling, attempting to guilt someone into doing what we want them to do, manipulating, giving the silent treatment. Arguments happen when two people are seeking love at the same time. Our most intimate, loving moments – including “lovemaking” – happen when two people are simultaneously expressing love. Here is the key to effective communication: When the other person is seeking love, listen. Show empathy. Try to understand their needs. When they are expressing love, it’s your opportunity to be assertive, to get your needs met. In fact, it’s the only time when you can get your needs met, because it’s the only time when they will actually listen to you. Identify a person who has been a thorn in your side lately. The next time they get on your nerves, remind yourself that they are seeking love in their own way, yet are pushing it further away from them because they haven’t learned healthier ways to get their needs met. How can you lighten your position just a little bit, and help them to get the love they desperately need? Try this strategy – it’s the first step to filling your life with more loving, meaningful 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 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).

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to Grow Your Organization in Hard Economic Times


This conference met my needs and exceeded my expectations. I cannot recall when another conference has addressed my needs/interests so well and provided so many inspiring and practical ideas.
-- Michi Gates, North Bay Regional Center

This conference influenced my outlook on how long I see myself continuing as a nonprofit director. I plan to stick it out and to pursue becoming a great leader… I would recommend this to other nonprofit directors without question. Great Content!
-- Rod Malloy, Mission Solano

Join us for the 2011 webinar series that is helping sustain and grow organizations during these hard economic times.

The Certificate of Transformational Nonprofit Leadership offers you access to the top trainers in the country in the areas of fundraising, social marketing, work-life balance and financial management. Including: Michael Maccoby (Professor, Oxford University’s Said School of Business), Tony Schwartz (Author, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working) and Alan Andreasen (Professor, Georgetown Business School).

In this cutting-edge nonprofit leadership certificate program, you can expect to learn to:
 


1. Develop some innovative new fundraising strategies to leverage resources for your cause



2. Manage and inspire people with fewer resources 



3. Keep staff morale high in the face of cutbacks

4. Leverage financial resources and board involvement in a tough economy


And much more!

Space is limited to 20-25 participants as to provide an intimate learning experience. The series starts this February. For more information visit our website www.socialleaders.org or contact our Program Director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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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, December 13, 2010

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




Even a hunter cannot kill a bird which flies to him for refuge.

--- old Samurai saying

Leaders who act with integrity pay less attention to the latest political or economic calculus and instead focus on the human calculus. These leaders hail from all walks of life and hold positions ranging from CEO to service representative. Take Chiune Siguhara, the Japanese consul general in Kaunas, Lithuania in 1940. After the Nazi’s Blitzkrieg on Poland, Polish Jews fled to neighboring Lithuania. One of their only hopes for escape as the Nazis continued their takeover of Europe and closed in on Lithuania was to obtain transit visas to travel to Japan. Siguhara issued these visas despite many refugees not having passports or proper identification. Despite repeated orders from his superiors to stop, Siguhara issued over 5,000 transit visas. After he was fired from his position for insubordination by the Japanese government, he continued issuing transit visas until his last day, even handing the lifesaving documents from the window of his departing train. Meditate on the wisdom of the Samurai before moving forward on your next initiative. Instead of immediately pushing for what you want, ask yourself first, “What is the human calculus here?” Write down the effects of the various options on the human beings involved – your employees, customers, the people in your community – and then make your decision.

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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).

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

When My Career is Going Well My Personal Life Suffers... When My Personal Life is Going Well My Work Suffers


I can’t talk to people in the office about all the stress in my personal life, but it affects my work or at least my overall well-being at work.

My friends and family can’t understand why I spend so much time at the office and get paid so little for it and/or get so little credit for it.

I often feel isolated and lonely in my mission to create change, to make a social impact or excel in my career.

If any of these three sentences made you nod your head or made you want to stop reading and ignore your initial reaction, keep reading!

Leadership guru and president of The Center for Social Leadership, Anthony Silard, has been working with individuals on these very issues for the last 15 years.

Life coaching and executive coaching is a way to bring balance, serenity and greater success into your life. Everything you need is already within you, but sometimes you need a trained guide to help you find it and apply it.

Tony really facilitated rather than trying to impose his ideas or beliefs. He led us through a very sequential process of coming up with the goals and objectives that we had in our minds already. Yet when we asked for suggestions and his opinion he was willing to give it and was very knowledgeable and experienced. 

Heidi, Former Executive Director of ROCK

To learn more about life coaching and executive coaching options with Anthony Silard visit our website www.socialleaders.org or contact our program director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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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, December 6, 2010

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



There is no point in living if you can’t feel your life.
--- Mexican proverb

Our deepest motivations do not come from the instrument we over-use in our technologically-driven society (the mind) but from the other vital organ – the heart – that will atrophy if we continue to ignore it in the name of efficiency. When we stop feeling, we stop enjoying our lives. Determine some changes you can make to your schedule to reclaim your heart every single day. Go to a concert. Stop work at 6 and take a yoga class. Watch the leaves change. Make love with your partner more often. Free up unstructured time in your daily schedule to just be. The more you access the messaging that emanates from your heart each day, the more you will accomplish in your life and, even more importantly, the more you will enjoy what you accomplish. If you don’t feel joy from what you achieve, after all, what’s the point of achieving it? Write down a few changes to your schedule that will enable you to make a heart connection with yourself and/or others this week.

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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).











Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Conference That Best Fits the Needs of YOUR Organization/Business


Tired of conferences that don’t speak specifically to your needs or the needs of your organization/business?

Tired of conferences that leave you more overwhelmed because of the time out of the office instead of rejuvenated and refueled?

Tired of presenters that speak at you instead of engaging you and creating opportunities for you to interact with other participants?

In these hard economic times, with the very limited resources that are available for staff development, you want to be sure you are getting your money’s worth!

Work with the Center for Social Leadership’s president and leadership guru, Anthony Silard, to create a conference that best fits the needs of your organization/business and your staff. Throughout Anthony’s fifteen years of teaching leadership he has developed many easy-to-implement techniques and strategies in all areas of nonprofit/for-profit development. Choose from over 30 leadership workshops, such as: Effective Communication for Managers, Balancing Success and Happiness, and Strategic Planning Made Easy.

To see a full list of workshops and conference models, please visit our website at www.socialleaders.org or contact program director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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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, November 29, 2010

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




Most comedians have sick mothers.
--- Jim Carrey, comedian

I was struck when I heard the comic star make this comment in an interview. He shared how he spent a lot of time while growing up attempting to make funny faces to make his mother laugh, to cheer her up and ease her suffering. U2 front man Bono once said that no matter how large the crowd, every singer is always singing for one person. Who is the person you are trying to please, or make happy, or make proud of you? Everything we do is motivated by love. If you can distill whose love you are trying to win through your work, you can discover the roots of your passion. You can also determine what is causing you to become a workaholic and lose your balance. Why? Because you will never “win” anyone’s love; you only have to allow it into your life if it’s there, or move on with your life if it isn’t.

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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).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

What You Think Should Not Always Be What You Say… But What You Say Should Always Be What You Think


Where do you want to see more compassionate, effective communication in your life? With friends and family? With yourself? At work? All of the above?


Bring a compassionate communication workshop series to your office or personalize a compassionate communication workshop series for your family, marriage, or group of friends. The base skills are the same... Open yourself up to learning better communication in one area of your life and it will spread to all the other areas.

Tony has a unique facilitating style that creates an atmosphere that is warm, relaxed and casual. The way he speaks and interacts with others makes people willing to open up and be honest during the workshop.
-- Tan Mongkolpla, 
George Washington University

I was not planning on attending the workshop because there was too much going on in my life. Work was really hectic and I had a deadline coming up. But once I got to the class I realized it was more relaxing and beneficial to be there, spending some time focusing on myself, rather than being at home worrying about all that I had to do.
-- Francyni Salido, World Bank

For more information on our compassionate communication workshop series and how you can choose the right model for your business or your family, please visit our website www.socialleaders.org or contact our Program Director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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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).

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Statistics Show: The Average Nonprofit ED Only Stays in Their Position for Four Years


The Center for Social Leadership is changing that! Join us for the 2011 nonprofit leadership webinar series that is helping nonprofit EDs and senior staff to happily stay in their positions longer.

The Certificate of Transformational Nonprofit Leadership will help you:

Reduce burn out and turn over in your organization…

Be more effective in the office so you can improve your work-life balance…

Refine your personal leadership skills so you can take your organization to the next level…

... So you don’t become a statistic!

The Certificate of Transformational Nonprofit Leadership offers you access to the top trainers in the country in the areas of fundraising, social marketing, work-life balance and financial management. Including: Michael Maccoby (Oxford Business School), Tony Schwartz (Author, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working), and Alan Andreasen (Georgetown Business School).

Space is limited to 20-25 participants to provide an intimate learning experience. The series starts this February. For more information, visit our website www.socialleaders.org or contact our Program Director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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Please join my Full Alignment Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/?tid=1505301745809&sk=messages#!/group.php?gid=67625744947&ref=ts

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alignment: It’s Not Just a Yoga Term


Align your actions with your vision

Align your daily schedule with your biggest priorities

Align your current self with the person you want to be when you turn 80

Full Alignment: A Practical Guide to Transforming Your Life Vision Into Action is the best resource to help you along the journey toward Alignment in all areas of your life.

In this landmark book, leadership guru Anthony Silard shows you how to bring your life to purpose by transforming your lofty dreams into concrete, deadline-driven goals and then choosing actions on a moment-to-moment basis that are congruent with your deepest values.

To purchase Full Alignment or for more information on our special bulk rate (for nonprofits and education institutions) visit our website www.socialleaders.org or contact our program director, Hannah Kahl, 202-241-6721 / Hannah@socialleaders.org

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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).

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Business Days Conference in Romania

I'm in Tirgu Mures, Romania, a beautiful city with very warm, friendly people in Transylvania. The food is excellent, I am eating way too much and enjoying it…. Live TV interview last night about Leading in Tough Economic Times. Tomorrow (Wed.) I am teaching a leadership conference to about 400 people that I have been told will be broadcast live on the internet, I will come on at 2 pm Romania time/7 am EST: www.businessdays.ro

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Personal Leadership Strategy of the Month



Don’t Become a Prisoner of Your Own Thoughts
In Hermann Hesse’s fictionalized account of the Buddha’s spiritual journey, Siddhartha, the main character, an Indian man, does not develop a true compassion for human beings until he feels a tremendous sense of loss when his son leaves home to live his own life in another town. Until that point, Siddhartha has a detached philosophy about humanity that does not truly comprehend human emotion and love.

Here is a well-known fact about philanthropy: the single event in a person’s life that renders him or her most likely to become a donor is having a child. A first child, like a first love, can bring a torrential rush of emotion into your life and turn everything you once valued upside down, or right side up. If you rigidly follow your thoughts without paying attention to the direction your feelings are steering you in, your life goals will become sterile and unappealing once your feelings inevitably surface.

Kahlil Gibran admonishes us of the dangers of not balancing thought with feeling: “Keep me away from the wisdom which does not cry, the philosophy which does not laugh and the greatness which does not bow before children.” If the path you’re walking on doesn’t feel right, you will eventually reach a point where you don’t have the energy to go any further.

Your thoughts set you on a path but they don’t sustain you during the journey. When you stop to rest you need nurturing, which comes from your heart. If you feel it’s too late to change course because you’ve already finished graduate school, or have a mortgage to pay, or have made commitments you don’t feel you can get out of, your undetected heart will eventually make its desolation known in the form of stress, dramatic episodes, periodic illnesses, unexpected anxiety, or depression.

Your thoughts are like an endless computer program. They entice you because they always provide more to do. Neurological research suggests you have over fifty thousand thoughts per day. If keeping yourself busy is one of your goals, thinking is an attractive option: you will never run out of thoughts to pay attention to, flesh out, and expand upon. Many people, especially men, get locked up in (and by) their thoughts because they’re only comfortable when on an action-planning mission. When you have to be doing something active to feel content, thoughts fill the void.

Feelings are fewer and simpler. Recall the feelings you’ve already experienced today: they probably number less than ten, and possibly even fewer than five. You may have felt happy in the morning, irritated and angry and then depressed in the afternoon, and then joyful again in the evening. Your feelings, while fewer in number, drive you in a more sustainable way than your thoughts.
Aristotle’s famous words were “Know thyself,” not “Know about thyself.” Mapping out all the facts, data, calculations, and projections you run through your mind—with all their inherent permutations—is like trying to solve a puzzle that expands by five pieces every time you put another piece into place. This mind-dominated process is unlikely to lead you to where you want to go.
If you want to find your path, get out of your way. Be aware of the potency of your thoughts to mislead you. Recognize the mental formations you’ve inherited that pressure you to become the one among your siblings who is the apple of your mother’s eye, or the one to fulfill the legacy of your father’s work. Become conscious of your left-brain thoughts that impel you to pursue a “safe” or “socially prestigious” career even though your true calling (which you emotively understand in your right brain) is to teach yoga, ride horses, or lead expeditions. Never stop paying attention to your feelings: they’re the only warning bell God lodged into your inner circuitry to remind you of your higher purpose.

-- Excerpt from Anthony Silard's Full Alignment



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).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Alignment Quote of the Week


You are what you think, others think, you are.
--- Anthony Silard

The lead singer of U2, Bono, once said that even when there are 70,000 people in the audience, every singer is always singing for one person. Whose opinion drives your actions and everyday decisions? Whose love or approval are you trying to win? People approve of people who are strong and confident, not those who struggle to win their approval. Determine the values you will live by and then go after what you truly desire in life and you will, circuitously, win more approval than you could ever imagine.

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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).

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How To Make Marriage Work for 64 Years


Two couples go out together for dinner. One couple is in their twenties and has been married for just over a year, and the other couple is in their seventies and has been married for forty-five years. After dinner they go for a walk together. The two men start talking and walk about fifteen feet in front of the women. As they pass a large field, the younger guy turns to the older guy and says: “I have a question I’d like to ask you. It’s so wonderful how you and your wife have been able to make your marriage work for so long. I was just wondering, do you still go out of your way to do nice things for her?”
“Oh, yes, nice things……..my wife…….you mean like the flower….the red flower with a long stem?”
“A rose?” asks the younger man.
“Yes, that’s it,” the older man replies. He then turns back to his wife and says, “Hey Rose, I still do nice things for you, don’t I?”

At a recent Compassionate Communication workshop, I invited a good friend, Robert, who has been married for 64 years, to join us as a guest. Robert is 94 and his wife is 91. In front of about twenty participants, I asked him to share the secrets of his success, his Best Practices, how he has made his marriage work, how he has created what I refer to as a "DMSR" – a Deep, Meaningful, Sustainable Relationship – what most of us are aiming for in our lives. Everyone sat on the edge of their seats, waiting to hear how Robert would respond. Here are some of the strategies he shared:

1. Be careful not to throw words around. They can start arguments. It's amazing how powerful words are. As Don Miguel Ruiz writes in The Four Agreements, be impeccable with your word. Think about what you are saying before you blurt it out. If you say the wrong word, admit it.

2. If you hear words you don't like, ask the other person what they meant. Don't make assumptions, and try not to take things personally.

3. Tolerance.

4. Forgiveness.

5. Have a sense of humor. "None of us are getting out of this alive anyway," Robert joked.

6. It’s not as exciting as it used to be, but who cares. It’s nice to have all the memories that we share, and to spend time with our grandchildren, and live vicariously through them. Do you think this far into the future about your own life? With what kind of person do you want to share your life’s memories?

7. Find opportunities for little loving gestures for your mate. Find out what they love as clues for what to give them (e.g. a certain type of chocolate candy to bring back from every trip). The most important thing in a relationship, and in life, is love. All else is an illusion. Love is actualized by giving. We give by attuning ourselves to the other person’s needs and doing whatever we can to meet those needs, as much as we are capable of (which is probably much more than you have been giving) without compromising who we are. We also give by being open about our own needs, and learning how to receive.

Do you want a DMSR in your life? Are you in a relationship that you want to cultivate? Finding the right relationship is only the first step; the second, more challenging step, is keeping it. Whether you are single or in a relationship, this course is for you. For more information: www.totalconnection.org .

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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).

Friday, August 20, 2010

Compassionate Communication series live in DC -- Back by popular demand!


So many of us believe the right things, want to say the right things and truly want to be empathetic, nurturing and authentic in the way we interact with others. But, are we always successful?

Communication is learned not by theory, but by practice:

Compassionate Communication Workshop Series
September and October!

Space is limited so sign up today!


The Compassionate Communication Workshop Series focuses on three core skill areas, each vital and necessary for healthy communication:

1) Listening with empathy (Detecting the unmet needs within the other person)

2) Speaking with authenticity (Identifying and sharing your own unmet needs)

3) Holding your anxiety (Letting go of the expectation that your needs will be met within your preferred time-frame)

Please click here for the program details: http://www.execleaders.com/index.php?lengua=eng&pagina=main&subseccion=1263325635


Session Dates and Times for the September How to Use Compassionate Communication to Create the Relationships You Desire Three-Evening Workshop Series - Live in Arlington, VA (across Key Bridge from Washington D.C.)

Thursday, September 9: 6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, September 14: 6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, September 21: 6 - 8 pm

Session Dates and Times for the October How to Use Compassionate Communication to Create the Relationships You Desire Three-Evening Workshop Series - Live in Cleveland Park, Washington D.C.

Thursday, October 21: 6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, October 26: 6 - 8 pm
Tuesday, November 2: 6 - 8 pm


For more information on this workshop series and how to register, click on http://www.execleaders.com/index.php?lengua=eng&pagina=main&subseccion=1263325635 or contact Program Director Hannah Kahl directly at hannah@execleaders.com

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Listening Creates True Empowerment


For those of you who would like to develop your listening skills, I suggest you watch this 30-min. video of Carl Rogers, the father of client-centered therapy, in action. These interviews with ‘Gloria’ are very revealing. (They will also take you back to the 60s…) Please note how Rogers refuses to give her the answers, and instead applies an approach of knowing the right questions to ask so that Gloria – a woman who is recently divorced and wrestling with the decision of telling her daughter she is sleeping with another man – can come up with her own answers. Rogers was way ahead of his time, and his approach can be applied in both your personal and professional life, in any interaction where you want to help the other person to realize the power within them.

This difference – between ‘bringing’ a solution yourself and ‘bringing out’ a solution from within the other person – has far-reaching implications for how we perceive power, individual choice, and love. When we love someone in a way that is free from attachment, then our love manifests in our desire to help the person progress along their path toward their goals. When love is mired in attachment, we can’t handle emotionally the thought of the other person becoming independent – even as (hopefully, if we desire a relationship with them) a step toward interdependence – so instead we make suggestions that keep the other person doing what we desire them to be doing, which makes us controlling and creates co-dependency.

The Carl Rogers videos: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBkUqcqRChg
(They are in 5 parts, one should give you a link for the next; just in case,
here's part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m30jsZx_Ngs
part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RX_Y3zUPzEo
part 4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zHxl5NtcDow
part 5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L19nXMvbS8E
If your time is short, I recommend skipping Rogers' explanations of what he's doing and just dive into the interview - what he is doing will become apparent quickly.)

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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).

Friday, June 18, 2010

An Encounter


A young African-American man came up to me while I was writing at Borders this morning. “May you help me?” He’s mentally disabled, having trouble forming words – yet he says these words so clearly from repeating them so often. He says some other words I don’t understand, and puts his hand out to shake mine. Used to saying no to peddlers, and resenting when they have me ‘cornered’ (e.g. while writing in a café or sitting at a restaurant), I put my two hands up and say, “I’m sorry, I can’t.” I don’t shake his hand. Then I watch him approach every other customer in the store – and even the Borders employee running their café (he clearly is not constrained by social norms), and speak the same words: “May you help me?” I watch him, he’s moving his hands now across his head in a motion you don’t see often, which I think relates to his disability.

Should I walk up to him? I ask myself. No, I have work to do. My work is helping others. I’m ironically measuring the social impact of some recent conferences, including a leadership program for low-income youth. But here is someone who needs my help, right here, I think. No, I’m busy. After much mental deliberation, I get up, walk over to him, and ask, “What is it you are trying to do?” I have trouble understanding his response, but he repeats it a few times and I finally get it: he’s staying in a rooming house and needs to pay sixteen dollars for the night. I reach into my pocket and hand him five dollars. He shakes my hand, and looks at me with genuine appreciation.

Then he does something that breaks my heart. Not knowing how to express his gratitude, he crosses the psychological chasm between us and hugs me. Not the kind of masculine chest-thumping hug I’m used to with other men, but a genuine embrace, an expression of love, unfettered by the fear we have of each other in our society.

I came back to my seat and tears welled up in my eyes. His name is Michael, like the angel. He was my angel today. He reconnected me with my heart, and helped me to feel again.

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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, May 10, 2010

These Jobs Are Goin’ Boys, and They Ain’t Comin’ Back


It’s hard to pick up a newspaper or magazine without reading more gloom-and-doom descriptions of what’s happening in America. Fear is in the air. The unemployment rate has increased to its highest rate in decades.

While fear will not get us through this difficult period, embracing the changes that have taken place in our economy will. As a result of the tremendous gains in technology and communications (most of them, ironically, generated by U.S. companies) any job that can be easily performed by someone with a college degree and a measure of training is being outsourced to developing countries – and, as The Boss presciently sang on his Born in the USA album, it ain’t comin’ back.

Proof of this large-scale shift in labor is right in front of us. It even happens in our country. In 2009, Chevrolets were produced in Michigan with union labor averaging $71 per hour, while Toyotas were built further south in Arkansas with an average $47 per hour wage. It should be no surprise that GM faced bankruptcy while Toyota, despite some recent product recall hiccups, continues to flourish as a market share leader.

In the case of GM and Toyota, the difference in labor costs are at least comparable. What happens when the job of a telephone rep who helps fix your printer can be performed in India or Panama – with the help of Internet voice-over phones that make international calling virtually free – for less than 20 percent of what it costs to pay someone in the U.S.? Your job goes there.

You can blame capitalism if you like, and say it’s not working anymore. Yet that’s far from the truth: in fact, for many people around the world it’s working better than ever before. The economic picture for the United States and other industrialized nations has been one of stagnation. In 2008, for example, the United States experienced 1.1% GDP growth. According to the CIA World Factbook, other developed countries generated similarly flat growth rates: Belgium and Germany (1%); the EU (0.8%); the UK (0.7%); Canada (0.4%); France (0.3%). Many industrialized countries actually experienced negative growth in 2008 – in other words, their economies shrunk – such as Sweden (-0.4%), Japan (-0.7%), Italy (-1%), and Denmark (-1.2%).

The picture changes, however, when we move further south. The other four most populous countries in the world (not counting the U.S., which is third) had very different experiences in 2008: the world’s most inhabited country, China, experienced 9.6% growth, and the other most populous nations – India (7.4%), Indonesia (6.1%), and Brazil (5.1%) – also experienced much higher growth. In fact, 171 nations experienced higher growth than the United States in 2008, almost all of them in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Furthermore, only two Western European nations experienced economic growth of over 2 percent – Greece (2.9%) and Norway (2.6%).

Here’s a sobering fact: In 2008, over 90% of the people in these five countries – the non-Americans – experienced an average of 8.14% economic growth. (The United States contains fewer than 10% of the people in the world’s five most populous countries.) In other words, on average, for every 10 human beings in the world’s five most populous nations – which contain just under half the world’s population – nine experienced economic growth 7 times higher than did the Lone American.

The new global picture recalls the joke where the Lone Ranger and Tonto are surrounded by attacking Indians.
The Lone Ranger says to his sidekick, “What should we do, Tonto?”
Tonto replies, “What do you mean we, white man?”

These hard numbers force us to recast our doomsday reports about having a bad decade, and to reconsider how far we will get by continuing to rant and whine about the economy. Why? Most people around the world are not hearing us.

Yet to think people in developing countries are living high off the hog and poverty is being eradicated would be a grave error. First of all, economic growth does not reflect base level of income (e.g. if average family income were to grow by $400 in two nations, one with an average GDP in the prior year of $4,000 and another with GDP of $40,000, their growth rates would be 10% and 1%, respectively). Nonetheless, high growth rates in a developing country, if consistently achieved, can yield astonishing increases to GDP (similar to the effects of saving money with a high, compounded interest rate), as we have seen in China.

Second, we don’t have to look any further than Haiti – which ranks eighth in the world in income inequality – to see the devastating effects of a lack of resources and infrastructure on people living in indigent poverty. As hard as the toll of our changing economic climate has been on us, we must remember that in just about every developing country, a small elite controls almost all political and economic activity while the rest live in squalor with inadequate health care, housing, and education. It is this elite that primarily benefits from high economic growth.

The phone rep at the call center in Bangalore who helps fix your iPhone – and, whether you are American, French or Aussie, has undergone rigorous training in your colloquial expressions and cultural sense of humor – most likely can’t afford to buy one herself. Yet the fruits of globalization have undeniably been spreading, at least by nation if not by village.

“OK, I get the big picture,” you may be thinking right about now. “But I still need to know how to find a job. I need to support my family.” Whether you have been laid off or are no longer motivated in a dead-end job and fear the consequences of making a transition, here’s the question you have to answer: What do you offer to the world that uniquely emanates from your heart? Why? Just about anything else you do with your productive time can be easily reproduced by someone who charges much less.

While some people have highly specialized knowledge in an area that cannot be easily replicated (it’s unlikely that you will replace the child psychologist who understands your kids better than you do with another who video-conferences in from Argentina and charges one-third of what you are paying – yet let’s not rule that out altogether), your passion is most likely the only thing you produce that can never be outsourced. The key to career security, then, is to connect your passion with what others value.

George Lucas once said, “A lot of people like to do certain things, but they’re not that good at it. Keep going through the things that you like to do, until you find something that you actually seem to be extremely good at.” The director who brought us Star Wars reminds us of the importance of matching our passion with our potential. Add what others need and are willing to pay for to the picture and you have a viable career option.

To summarize, there are two key steps to success:

1) Figure out what you love to do (and can do well).
2) Find someone to pay you to do it.

What you love to do is much more than crunching numbers or committing everyday procedures to memory. All the facts that you memorize can also be memorized by someone willing to work for 10 percent of your salary in a nation far, far away. They can probably even be memorized by a computer. Yet while knowledge can be outsourced, wisdom can’t. Don’t forget that your computer was designed by programmers living within the constraints of humankind’s current level of knowledge.

Thanks to information technology networks that span the globe, this level of knowledge has more reach than ever before, although not necessarily more depth. Consider it a given that jobs comprised of tasks involving your mind and hands will move to countries where other minds and hands and microprocessors can perform them more cheaply.

Your true calling, however, does not stem from your mind or hands. It originates in your heart. For this reason, it cannot be generated elsewhere. It’s your unique stamp, your signature product, and no one else can produce it any more than they can write a letter to your beloved as you can.

The American psychologist William James once said that the deepest human craving is to feel appreciated. A matchmaker who truly cares about her clients and enjoys meeting them for lunch to listen to their tales of woe will never be replaced by a website. The same is true for your mortgage broker, insurance salesperson and your tax accountant – if they provide their service from the heart, with a genuine desire for your well-being. You willingly cough up your dough for the trust, integrity, safety and empathy for your unique situation that they provide.

Yet we can’t be overly idealistic. Money talks, especially when we’re strapped financially. When you are fretting about the next mortgage payment, sitting your child down in front of the Argentine psychologist on Skype begins to look more appealing. As I often tell passionate CEOs, especially of nonprofits, passion alone is not enough: it gets us out of the starting gate, but not across the finish line. We also have to be strategic – to look at fields that have high barriers to entry, e.g. that take more to thrive in than a college degree, an internet connection and a mastery of the English language.

In the heady days of the internet boom, many referred to the new ‘information society’. We have now moved on; we all have access to more information than our parents could have dreamed of while growing up – yet many of us are either unemployed or painfully watching the minute hand on the clock inch its way to the time we punch out or leave class. Millions of people in far-flung countries have access to this information now: it’s no longer a differentiator.

We now live in a knowledge society: to survive, you must corner a specific niche of knowledge that has a high barrier to entry (i.e. that no one else has or can easily obtain) and utilize this knowledge to serve a strong customer need. Yet regurgitating knowledge alone doesn’t work; it must emanate from your heart and tap the reserve of passion that may be laying dormant within you.

When you join a company, you are betting your future on the staying power of its core concept, core values and unique strategy for adding value to its customers. If it’s not unique enough, it won’t survive. Competition now comes from every corner of our globalized economy and takes no prisoners. If you can’t find such a company, consider starting one. As my sister, who runs a youth entrepreneurship organization, often says: If you can’t take a job, make a job.

Identify the critical needs of a customer group that aren’t going to go away anytime soon. In other words, name their pain. Then reconsider the critical take-away from this article: How can you serve their needs in a way that you are personally, deeply passionate about and that applies specific, nuanced knowledge that you and you alone possess? And don’t forget, geography does count in certain professions. No matter how quickly the latest technology can connect you with someone in India, your landscaper, hairdresser, or dentist are not about to be rendered obsolete anytime soon.

A woman recently published a pornographic magazine in Braille for blind people that includes 3D body images they can pass their hands over. Why? She felt compelled that, surrounded by sexual imagery in our society, blind people deserve this sexual outlet also if they so desire. Sure, this new style of book can be published much more cheaply in China, but she may be aware of that and already publishing them in China. Either way, she has the first-mover advantage and the opportunity to build a brand that generates loyalty among her customers.

What’s your idea? First, name the pain of a key customer group. Then identify your passion to assuage this pain. Ask yourself honestly, “Is my passion matched by my considerable talent to make this happen?” and “Is this a purpose I believe in? Is this what I want my contribution to the world to be?” If so, then get started. If not, go back to the drawing board and come up with a Plan B until you find the right match. Be ready for the inevitable obstacles that will stand in your way, and to continuously enhance how you go about your initiative until you get it right.

So hope is not lost. Yet as many a political leader has understood, hope is an opiate. As important as hope is, it’s equally important to read the writing on the wall and embrace the change you need to make in how you approach your career. Make the life-changing decision to take time out to meditate on what is most important to you, what you are truly passionate about, and the knowledge niche that you and you alone can occupy to add value to the lives of others. Once you find this niche, globalization will cease to be a word you mutter under your breath, and will become a blessing that has pushed you to let go of what others will gladly do and to discover how to integrate what you truly love 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 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, March 29, 2010

Embracing Change

This (very) brief excerpt from my upcoming book, Beyond the Goal: Discover the Hidden Driver of Enduring Success, seems appropriate to help our group members cope with all the change that's taking place around us right now, and to remember that lasting change is not a solitary process.


Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.


-- Samuel Johnson

The eighteenth-century English poet offers a sage reminder that although you may be ready for change because you’ve had many hours and days, or perhaps even years, to brace yourself for it, your employees, or co-workers, or family members, or life partner may need some time to also adjust themselves psychologically to what you’ve suddenly informed them is coming down the pipeline.

Why are people so resistant to change? In truth it’s not change they are so resistant to as much as “being changed.” Think about it: If you agree with Shakespeare, who wrote that “There is no reality; only perception,” then you agree that each person’s perception creates their reality. The world is lived, then, in the mind. The mind creates associations (e.g. “Longer hours are the key to success” or “Our product line is the best out there and assures the comfortable life I am living.”) that become entrenched and hard-wired over time.

To let go of these long-established mental patterns requires immense courage. If you don’t help the people you lead to find this courage within by leading in a way that increases their sense of security with you and with the company or organization, then your team members will act not with an abundance-mentality of what could be, but out of a scarcity-mentality that centers around their fear of losing what they have.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Discipline is Misunderstood and Why It's Important, Especially Now


It's so easy in challenging times - whether the economy is affecting you at work or changes in your personal life are affecting your emotional well-being - to forget about what you most care about and allow a negative emotion - such as fear, insecurity or anxiety - to get the better of you. I hope this excerpt from my book Full Alignmment (http://www.execleaders.com/index.php?lengua=eng&pagina=main&subseccion=1233524277) causes you to rethink your relationship with what you value most, and the role of discipline in pushing you to stay focused on it.

THE ORIGINS OF DISCIPLINE

Discipline is derived from the word disciple, or “follower.” In our modern society—which places such a high value on individualism—this word has taken on some very negative connotations. When you think of a “disciple,” what image comes to your mind? Do you think of a follower of another person’s Vision or principles? Does the word evoke images of people blindly following the decrees of megalomaniacal leaders all the way to their own demise, such as the more than nine hundred Americans who followed the orders of Jim Jones and drank cyanide in Guyana, or those who followed David Koresh in Waco, Texas?

How about the word “discipline” itself? Does this word dredge up negative memories of teachers, parents, or coaches who were constantly “disciplining” you when you were growing up? You may have been conditioned to think of discipline as something imposed on you from the outside. Like anything else that obstructs your freedom, you most likely perceive discipline as something you want to rebel against.

When you were a child, you may have had a teacher who didn’t care about you or have your best interests at heart. Your acts of rebellion may have actually been acts of conformity—to your higher Vision for what you knew was possible for your life. Your survive-and-thrive instincts may have told you to disrupt a damaging power relationship and pursue your own agenda.

Alternatively, you may have been a “rebel without a cause.” You may have intuitively realized that you needed to destroy a power relationship that wasn’t working without considering what you wanted to replace it with, like a revolutionary who hasn’t yet learned how to govern.

To reconstruct your relationship with discipline, ask yourself this question: What if the teacher, head honcho, or boss-man were your higher Self? Would you still want to rebel against discipline if the person imposing it were none other than the you that you know you can be?

BOARD YOUR OWN SHIP

Why is it important to understand your early encounters with discipline? Because you have rightfully taken issue with the form it has taken in your life. Yet when you blindly rebel against it you deny yourself the considerable benefits of its function. Your rite of passage to growing up just may be to stop equating rebellion with progress. It may be to realize that your rebellious instinct when others try to control you and your willingness not to rebel against your higher values are both acts of Vision-Alignment.

Here’s the secret ingredient for becoming a fully formed human being: Replace the discipline others used to get you to do what they wanted you to do with your own discipline to get yourself to do what you want you to do. To achieve self-discipline, you have to get with the program—your program! You have to walk the path you yourself laid.

Take this leap of the imagination. Feel the presence of two powerful forces within you. You are the Visionary and also the “Actionary.” The Visionary develops a Vision for what you want to accomplish in your life and how you will act toward others. The Actionary takes these lofty ideals, this higher “code of ethics,” and transforms them into your daily actions. While the Visionary chooses how you want to live, the Actionary lives by what you choose.

You are both the director writing your life scripts and the actor reading from them. You are the one making the decisions and the one acting them out. You are the one who makes commitments and the one called upon to deliver. Part One of this book was about how to develop the Visionary within you. Part Three is about how to develop the Actionary. In every single moment of your life in which you become the Actionary and make your Vision happen—especially the moments that test your resolve because you would rather be doing something else—you exercise discipline.

In an earlier chapter, we discussed how “to lead” comes from “to guide” or “to travel.” You are the only one fit to guide your journey, to be the Visionary or leader of your Self. You are the captain of your ship as it sets out to sea. Yet you are also the passenger on the dock searching for the right ship to board. Here’s the key question this chapter urges you to answer: Will you choose your Self as your captain or will you board another ship?

No one else fully shares your Vision for what you want to achieve in your life. Everyone else has another agenda. Some care about you immensely and truly desire for your happiness. Nonetheless, their own agenda. They have a unique Vision for how they—and you—should go about this thing called life. Without discipline you are unable to follow your leader within, the designer of your own agenda. Instead, you give up on it and follow the agendas of others. You board another ship.

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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).