Monday, December 31, 2012

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


http://www.blackpast.org/files/blackpast_images/John_F__Kennedy.jpg

The most important step to becoming a leader 
is to find
something greater than yourself and dedicate yourself to it.

--- Anthony Silard

With race riots consuming Birmingham, Alabama, in May 1963, Robert F. Kennedy warned his brother John that if he did not act soon, they would spread to many cities across America—especially in the North. JFK sent Congress a groundbreaking civil rights bill that lost him the backing of the millions of white Southern voters who had helped him achieve a narrow election victory three years earlier. John acknowledged to his brother that he might lose the 1964 election because of his decision, and then declared, “If we’re going to go down, let’s go down on a matter of principle.” Here is a clear example of a leader believing in something greater than himself so strongly that he was willing to go down with his ship over it. Go down he did, yet the ship he built is still navigating the rough waters toward racial equality.

What do you believe in that’s greater than yourself? Write down something you feel so strongly about changing that you would be willing to suffer for it. What about the world makes you feel uncomfortable, even angry? Channel this energy into an unbridled passion to work for change. Don’t let these thoughts ramble into, “But someone else is more appropriate to do this,” or “I don’t have the time right now. Someday….” Change begins with you, in the only moment that exists—the present. Get started.

What do you want to change in the world with your limited time here? How has your motivation to work for change evolved throughout your life? What are you prepared to do about it now—starting in this New Year? Tell us about it in the comments.

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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 24, 2012

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


http://thegirlbythesea.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/cloud-fluffy-lamb.jpg 
Those who dream by day are cognizant of many
things
 which escape those who dream only by night.

—Edgar Allan Poe

Pick a situation and ask yourself if you are integrating time to rest into your daily schedule or jumping from one activity to the other without creating opportunities to connect with your inner longings. The simple act of asking yourself, “How am I feeling?” periodically throughout your day and then thinking or writing, “I feel…” and following it with whatever you are genuinely experiencing in the moment will create a vital link to your heart and the deeper feelings within. These feelings—often shoved to the wayside when you solely engage in activity without allowing time for emotional renewal—will grow proportionally to the attention you give them, and inform you what your life truly means to you.

“This sounds great, but where will I get the time for all this?” you may be thinking. “I’d love to take all this time to feel, but there are these little things called results that my boss holds me accountable for.” Your self-time doesn’t have to be extensive to be impactful: even five or ten minutes out of your schedule every hour or two will enable you to connect with your deeper motivations. Schedule a few breaks into your schedule today. Note how differently your day flows when you punctuate your list of tasks with short periods to rejuvenate, replenish your energy, and recapture your passion.

Do you take many breaks during your work day? How long do you usually break for? How do these breaks help you? Tell us about it in the comments.


______________________________________________

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 17, 2012

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


http://raymcdonald.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/looking-in-mirror.png

If you want to meet the right person,

you must first become the right person.

--- Anthony Silard

So many of us bounce from one relationship to the next, sharing our woe-to-me-the-victim stories with our family and friends: “He was too this…”, “She was too that…,” and so on. Yet we deny the true role of an intimate relationship in our lives: as a mirror to the soul. Many of us will spare no expense to avoid gazing into that mirror. We are constantly trading in what we have for a newer version, only to find the same problem soon sprouting up in the next relationship. We become like the person who perpetually slams their foot on the clutch in every car they drive, and then develops the erroneous perception that all cars have substandard clutches. The last thing we think of doing is evaluating our driving skills. Yet it is our approach to relationships—beginning with our approach to our relationship with ourselves—that does not determine, but influences more than any other factor whether we are able to sustain a healthy intimate relationship.

This week, take some time out of the mix to reflect on how you can become the right person. Ask yourself this tough question: “What has been the clutch I’ve been slamming my foot on in just about every relationship I’ve been in?” Identify what you have to work on to become more compassionate and loving toward others. Take your first step by becoming more compassionate and loving toward yourself. Then venture forth once again, with an open heart and a new lens with which to experience intimacy.

What has helped you to develop a healthy intimate relationship in your life? What have been some of the obstacles? Share your successes and challenges in this area with us in the comments.


______________________________________________

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 10, 2012

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


http://www.ppchero.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/chain-links.jpg

The chain of destiny can only be
grasped 
one link at a time.

--- Winston Churchill

The Nazis weren’t defeated because Churchill hemmed and hawed and did a lengthy cost-benefit analysis of the situation in Europe. They were defeated because he stood up for the values he believed in and took action. So here’s the secret: Do something! Do anything that moves you in the direction of your Vision. Live your values—in as small a way as you’d like. Instead of thinking about it for a moment longer, grab the first link on the chain and get started! It really is that simple.

Yes, I know this is easier to say than do. You may be used to sitting around and watching the world go by. You may spend year after year waiting for a promotion, or to be “discovered,” or for the person of your dreams to stumble into your life, or for that dream job to drop into your lap. Once you become accustomed to spending your days stumbling around in the terrain of your mind—an appealing endeavor because your thoughts are under your control, do not bring rejection, and do not require you to actively confront deeply entrenched fears—developing a propensity for action is no easy task. Make a pact with yourself this week to stop kvetching about what you ought to be doing with your life and to instead grasp one link in the chain and make it happen. In so doing, you will create a new chain that will lead you toward a new destiny.

How do you spur yourself into action? Tell us about it in the comments.


_____________________________________________

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).


Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Top Five Communication Books of All Time: Number 1

When I came across this book in an off-the-beaten-track bookstore in a small town, I wasn't expecting much. For one, it predates almost all the communication books that define the modern genre and I had never heard of it. Was I in for a surprise: Robert Bolton's simply titled People Skills is so full of useful communication strategies it should be designated a bible for the field. It appears a bit dense at first, but with a bit of patience you will discover a model so comprehensive you will swear all the other authors must have read it over and over again with a fine-toothed comb before putting pen to paper. Not only that, but the emphasis on feelings and needs is laid out with so many ancillary, aligned strategies that you could spend a lifetime practicing them: not a bad idea, actually.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Top Five Communication Books of All Time: Number 2


No other communication book has ignited an entire movement as has Marshall Rosenberg's Nonviolent Communication. His model seems simple from the outset, but when you try to implement his strategies you will see how nuanced it is. Marshall encourages us to connect with our feelings and needs, and communicate in a more disarming, open way that truly forges connections with others. He is an ardent advocate of world peace and truly has an expansive vision of a world in which people communicate from the heart. Unlike most modern-day prophets, his vision is coupled with cohesive strategies that just might bring his vision a little closer to the reality you experience in your home and office.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Top Five Communication Books of All Time: Number 3

Harriet Lerner's The Dance of Connection is such an excellent book for people who want to improve their personal communication style and, hence, their relationships, that I'm not sure where to start. A more anecdotal book than her foundational The Dance of Anger, I would start with this book and then, for a deeper understanding of her model, continue on to her earlier book. Lerner's books are purportedly for women to break dysfunctional patterns in relationships, but I believe every one of us who wishes to connect with the people they care about can benefit from her useful strategies.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The Top Five Communication Books of All Time: Number 4

Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen of the Harvard Negotiation Project have written one of the best communications books ever for people who want a general introduction into how to improve their communication skills. Difficult Conversations has more versatility than most. It's filled with many excellent communication strategies to internalize and practice daily.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Top Five Communication Books of All Time: Number 5


For a long time, people have been asking me to post the books I most recommend for participants in our Collaborative Communication courses. I've decided to post what I consider the best five books ever written on communication, one per day for the next five days.

An important note: My Top Five Communication Books of All Time List is intended for those people interested in improving their skills in personal and/or business/professional communication. The strategies in these five books can be adapted (with some care) to either personal or professional settings.

Since Strangling Isn't an Option is #5 due to Sandra's helpful analysis of different types of communicators (e.g. ourselves and the people we deal with every day), and also because it's infused with her very friendly and convincing writing style.

Monday, December 3, 2012

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


http://www.nikhathi.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Albert-Einstein-albert-einstein-1280x1024.jpg 
I never came upon any of my discoveries

through the process of rational thinking.

--- Albert Einstein

Which method do you use? Do you rely on your thoughts, or do you step back and trust your feelings to guide you—often toward the breakthrough you’ve been seeking? To understand how your thoughts can lead you in the wrong direction, envision what you’d like to become in your career. Picture yourself as a lawyer, a doctor, a ballerina, a lion tamer, or whatever. Imagine you already are now what you want to become. Which feeling comes to your mind more quickly—happiness or pride? If you imagine yourself feeling happy, this career warms your heart and emanates from your true inner purpose. If, alternatively, you envision yourself feeling proud of your career, it’s because you’re doing what you think others think you should be doing. Not what others think, which you never truly know, but what you think they think. Building your life on such far-fetched speculation is like trying to build a castle on sand. Not only will this “should” path not lead you to where you want to go (since you’re walking toward a destination you can’t accurately describe), but it will transform you into a shell of a person.

This week, ask yourself this simple question a few times each day: “How am I feeling?” Start your response with “I feel…..” and finish the sentence. Do this at regular intervals throughout the day, and record your responses. What do your feelings tell you about your desired life direction?

How do you balance your thoughts and feelings, and let their guidance move your life in the right direction?  Share your successes and challenges in this area with us in the comments.

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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).