Monday, October 31, 2011

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




When there is no light at the end of the tunnel,
it becomes very dark.

--- Anthony Silard

One of life’s greatest dangers is to not have the faintest clue what to do next. You’ve no doubt seen movies about celebrities who lose their way and succumb to drugs, self-destructive behavior, and even suicide. They achieve their goals beyond their wildest expectations, find themselves without anything left to aim for, and enter a personal hell. Consider the trajectory of Johnny Cash’s life as depicted in the movie Walk the Line. Celebrity brings a rush of excitement to the life of a former door-to-door salesman from Arkansas, which is quickly followed by depression and an addiction to pills. What pulls him out of it? A compelling Vision to improve the lives of prisoners and to love a woman. Did the Man in Black ever finish helping prisoners and then say, “Been there, done that. Time for a new goal”? No way. Did he run out of love to give to June Carter? Never. What unattainable Vision do you have that you will never stop working toward? To be a loving and devoted parent? To be an excellent doctor on the cutting-edge of health care treatment? To help people attune to their inner energy through the most compassionate yoga instruction possible? I realize this is a hard sell. I’m asking you to buy a ticket to a destination you’ll never reach. I know it sounds counterintuitive. So why buy your ticket? Because it’s the journey—not the destination—that gives your life meaning. To step on board, ask yourself this question over the next few days: “What will I never attain, yet willingly pursue for a lifetime?” Answering this question will help you discover your deepest passion and life Vision.

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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, October 24, 2011

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Create the Intimate Relationship You Desire




Don’t tell me, show me.
--- Lyndon B. Johnson

Whatever he tells you he is usually is either how he wishes he were or how he perceives himself, but not how he truly is. In our microwave society, many people have come to believe that you can just add water, have a few dinners and—poof!—you understand another person. The only true indicator of how someone will act in the future is how they act in the present—especially when they have to handle adversity—which is only revealed over time. Have you ever heard the saying, “Watch how your date treats the server. It’s how he will be treating you in six months”? Whether it’s a romantic interest, a new friend, or a potential business partner, there are no shortcuts to building trust. A farmer can’t throw seeds on the ground and expect a good harvest. There is no express lane to understanding another person. The only tried-and-true method is to patiently observe their daily actions over time. Dedicate some time to getting to know someone a little better this week by asking them a few open-ended questions about their life, and then listening to what they have to say without judgment. Alternatively, just spend some time with them by going for a walk together or sharing a meal. These encounters, when repeated often over time, are the only way to build the necessary trust to create a healthy, meaningful relationship.

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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, October 17, 2011

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


Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick
themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

--- Winston Churchill

When you dream, you experience moments when the future rushes in and you see what your life can become—if only you pay attention. To dream is to enlarge and expand these moments when you stumble over the truth; to put the activities you attach so much importance to on hold; and to plumb the depths of and attempt to understand the deeply rooted feelings these quiet moments evoke within you. Why is it so important to dream? Because going for what you really desire in life isn’t easy; it means putting an end to keeping your dreams at bay and your ceiling low. It means that just when you thought you wouldn’t be able to find any further reserve of effort within, you dig a little deeper until your metal detector starts buzzing and lighting up. It means no longer saying: “If I aim too high and don’t get what I want, I won’t be able to live with myself. It’s safer for me to just stay where I am and not think about something greater. This way, I won’t be disappointed.” If you insist on living this way, get ready for a life you don’t have to get ready for. Instead, take some time this week to design a few unique strategies to integrate time to dream into your daily life. Write down a few small, concrete ways to think regularly about what you most want to bring 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, October 10, 2011

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


Freedom is not free.

--- Inscription on the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.

To develop your own Vision for your life and relentlessly pursue it is the only freedom I know of. Like anything of import, it’s not free. The cost is to drill down to the core of your suffering. Why do this? Because confronting the pain that lingers inside you is precisely what liberates you from it. You will then be able to discover your passion for what you want to change in the world. “But why go through all this pain to confront even more pain that’s better forgotten?” you may be thinking. “I’d rather focus on what makes me happy.” I realize what I’m asking you to do isn’t easy. Let’s face it: “Confront My Suffering” probably isn’t the first thing you want to put on your “To Do” list. Yet it’s worth your time to fight the human tendency to avoid thinking about the pain you’ve experienced. Once you integrate these periodic self-dialogues into your schedule alongside “Meet Mary for Tennis,” your life’s mission—like a mountain lake after the sediment has sifted to the bottom—will start to become clear. Where you once saw an abundance of time and a scarcity of opportunities, you will see the opposite. Most importantly—for you and the rest of us you share this planet with—you will find a sense of meaning in the brief amount of time you have left on this earth, which will guide you toward thoughtful, compelling action. Take some time this week to think about the suffering you’ve experienced in your life, what it has taught you, and what this learning guides you to change in your life and the lives of others.

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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, October 3, 2011

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




Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.
--- African proverb

Many venture capital firms are actually more likely to invest in an entrepreneur who has already failed in a prior business effort, as long as the entrepreneur can demonstrate how he or she learned from it. Why? The entrepreneur has experienced the learning curve that only ‘failure’ generates. It’s my experience that the most successful leaders all have one thing in common: they “fail wisely.” After being fired from the company he started at age thirty (Apple), Steve Jobs used the opportunity to build the most successful animation company in history (Pixar). He later returned to lead Apple through its most successful period and revolutionize the music industry. Jobs has said that being fired from Apple “freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life … The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again.” Jobs is living proof that what one person calls “failure” is evolution and positive growth to another. As adults we brood over our “failures”—which is precisely what keeps us failing over and over again. Our feelings of failure generate even greater feelings of low self-esteem that diminish our capacity to succeed. The next time you have a thought such as “I’m a failure” or “Look, there I go, messing up again,” mentally reengineer your negative thought by instead asking yourself the questions: “How can I fail wisely?” and “What must I learn from this experience to help me more effectively reach my goals?” Apply the inner wisdom that emanates from your responses to move more assuredly forward—with the new skills and learning you have picked up along the way—toward your goals.

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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).