Monday, March 25, 2013

Smile, It's Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Make a Difference in the World


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Future generations may well have occasion to ask themselves
“What were 
our parents thinking? Why didn’t they wake up when
they had the chance?” 
We have to hear that question, from them, now.

--- Al Gore

After losing the 2000 presidential election, Al Gore spent some time contemplating what to do with his life. Disheartened by the most questionable election loss in U.S. political history, Gore channeled his energy into lecturing and lobbying domestically and internationally for environmental causes. In 2006, Gore released the Oscar-winning film An Inconvenient Truth and placed global warming squarely on the U.S. political map (it was already on the radar of 169 countries around the world—the U.S. and Australia notably excluded—that ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which has reduced the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases worldwide) and in the consciousness of millions of people worldwide. The former vice-president won the Nobel Peace Prize for his groundbreaking environmental work.

Compel yourself to wake up every single day this week and hear the question he raises about the values guiding your life from the future generations who will live with the consequences of your decisions. Put your answers into your Vision Statement (my book The Connection includes a guide to creating your own Vision Statement), and start transforming them into action for the benefit of the rest of us with whom you share this planet.

Have you experienced a moment in your life which, like Gore losing the 2000 election, you interpreted as a wake-up call to focus on what you truly value? Share it 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).

Monday, March 18, 2013

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


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Some men never seem to grow old…Satisfied, yet ever
dissatisfied, settled, yet ever unsettled,
they always enjoy the best of what is,
are the first to find the best of what will be.

--- Shakespeare

Like Shakespeare’s fabled men of yesteryear, can you hold two opposite feelings within you at the same time? Can you feel fulfilled and unfulfilled all at once?  People join the causes of leaders for two reasons: First, the appreciation leaders feel for what they already have in their lives makes them genuinely happy people. The positive feelings and encouragement they emanate to others make them enjoyable to be around. Second, the ambition leaders have to achieve something even more meaningful makes others feel secure because they see the leader’s commitment to their cause. The leader’s ambition ignites their passion to grow, to accomplish great things, and to make an impact.

This week, ask yourself whether you can contain this dualism. Do you appreciate what you have (the seed of content) and radiate this inner happiness to others? Do you simultaneously hunger for something more (the seed of discontent)? Do you draw a soul-uplifting feeling of contentedness from just being alive, or the sense of belonging when sharing a meal with a close friend; or the rush of nostalgia when you listen to one of your favorite songs; or the inner serenity when you hike to a beautiful panoramic mountain view; or the ineffable joy when you see a child smile—yet also feel discontent enough with the status quo to want to change it? Consider how you will discover this unique balance of comfort and discomfort in your life, and within this balance create—and enjoy—the life you desire.

How do you balance ambition and appreciation in your life? What are the effects of this balance on your effectiveness as a leader? 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, March 11, 2013

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


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To the mind that is still,
 the whole universe surrenders.
--- Lao Tzu

If you are running all day long from one meeting to another, arrive early enough to your next meeting to walk around the block a few times before entering the building. You will end up using this time to reflect on the purpose of the meeting and the key points you want to emphasize. The outcome of these few moments of emotional renewal? The world will surrender to your calm, directed energy. You will become both more confident about what you have to offer and more empathetic to the needs of the person you’re meeting with, and will be more likely to obtain the results you desire. The same is true for any task you want to complete. If you are pulling a four-hour stretch writing a proposal or crunching out a spreadsheet, take a fifteen-minute break halfway through and go for a walk or pull out a yoga mat and do some stretching exercises in your office. Let go of the task at hand, relax your mind, and you will be pleasantly surprised to discover how much more effectively you finish your work.

Make a pact with yourself this week to schedule not only your tasks and activities for the day each morning, but also your breaks. This simple act holds tremendous leverage and will help you “recover your edge” throughout the day. Each word you speak will be better chosen and more impactful, and you will get your tasks done much more efficiently and happily.

How do you balance activity and emotional renewal throughout your work day? 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, March 4, 2013

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


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You win or lose the most important battles of
your life 
before you even arrive at the battlefield.

--- Anthony Silard

I’m sure you’ve heard the old expression “To love others you must first love yourself.” Why is this true? If you don’t love yourself, how will you value the love you have to give? After all, it comes from a person you don’t love, so what could it be worth? And why would you want to give away something you don’t value? That would be like saying to a friend, “Hey, I really don’t like this shirt. It’s a miserable excuse for upper-body clothing. Here, you have it.” There is a corollary that strikes to the root of violence and conflict in our society: If you don’t value yourself, neither will you value anyone else. How can something that’s worthless determine the worth of something else? In what contest does a judge with no value select the winner? The prerequisite for the job of valuing another person is to value yourself.

Have a genuine heart-to-heart conversation with yourself in which you plumb the depths of your long-entrenched perceptions of your self-worth. Ask yourself, “Do I value myself as I should?” Be honest: acknowledge where you are right now—the real, uncut version. Then envision how your life could be if you were to have the self-confidence you deserve. Finally, determine how you will move your life toward this image of what you know, deep in your soul, it can become.

How have you learned to love yourself? 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).