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).