Monday, December 29, 2014

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


There is only one thing that I dread: 
not to be worthy of my sufferings.
--- Fyodor Dostoevsky

Dostoevsky’s father, a violent alcoholic, served as a doctor at a hospital in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Moscow. Against his parents’ orders, he spent many hours visiting the hospital’s patients and listening to their tales of suffering.

At the age of twenty-eight, he was sentenced to hard labor at a prison camp in Siberia for belonging to a liberal intellectual group. Here’s how he described this experience: “In summer, intolerable closeness; in winter, unendurable cold. All the floors were rotten. Filth on the floors an inch thick … we were packed like herrings in a barrel.” In this suffocating environment, he had the first of many epileptic seizures.

This week, take some time to reflect on Dostoevsky’s question: Are you worthy of your suffering? In other words, have you done something with your pain?

If you were abused as a child, or had a difficult breakup, or are living with cancer, have you let your pain get the best of you or have you channeled it into something positive?

I know this isn’t easy to do. At times, we feel like it’s just not fair that we have to go through something so difficult. We wonder why our lives couldn’t have turned out differently. Remind yourself that you are not alone—that others also suffer from similar experiences—and identify a few forms of compelling action you can take to reduce this suffering 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, December 22, 2014

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


The truth does not change 
according to our ability to stomach it.
-- Flannery O’Connor

Many of us go through life focused on how to be “cool” or “hip,” which requires us to not demonstrate how we truly feel to others and instead act like we couldn’t care less.

We wouldn’t engage in such behavior unless it offered us benefits, such as new friends and romantic attention. Yet if withholding your true feelings wins you friends and people to date, you have to ask yourself about the kind of people your superficial actions are attracting into your life.

When you instead are willing to reveal your heart, you liberate others to do the same. This sets in motion a generative process that transforms your relationships from a burdensome chore to a mutual revealing of feelings that emanate directly from the heart.

By developing your capacity to express but not to expect, to guide but not to interfere, you will lay the building blocks for a lifetime of healthy, caring communication and fulfilling relationships. You will soon wonder why you left so much potential for mutual reinforcement and giving on the table for so long.

This week, make a simple pact with yourself to only allow words to emanate from your mouth that you truly believe—and if you can’t do that, then to keep your mouth shut until you can.

Your life will feel much more meaningful as you create the space for true intimacy and genuine friendships to flourish and allow the forgettable exchanges of the past to become an evanescent memory.

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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 15, 2014

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


Change alone is unchanging.
-- Heraclitus

You’ve probably heard the old saying by Benjamin Franklin that “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” I would add one other thing of which you can be certain in your life: change.

A favorite New Yorker cartoon shows a dog lying on a couch while another dog sits in a psychotherapist’s chair taking notes. The reclining dog says, “They moved my bowl.”

It’s amazing how much difficulty comes into our lives when our bowl is moved. Whenever a relationship ends, or you lose a job or contract, or a friend stops calling you back, it’s easy to say, “Why me? Why did this have to happen?”

Herein is the entry point for self-esteem in influencing your relationship with change. The more you can say, “I’m happy with the person I am and know I’ll handle what comes across my plate in life,” the more you can embrace change when it happens.

Instead of saying, “Why me?” and becoming the victim, you can choose to say, “Yes, me,” and “Yes, this is what’s happened.” Then, after some reasoned thought on what you most value, you can make the decision to say, “And here is what I’m going to do about it” (knowing one option is to do nothing at all).

This week, reflect on the connection between your relationship with yourself and your relationship with change, and how you will approach the role of change in 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, December 8, 2014

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


If a song’s about something I’ve experienced 
or that could’ve happened to me it’s good.
But if it’s alien to me, I couldn’t lend anything to it.
Because that’s what soul is all about.
--- Aretha Franklin

Current research in the field of narrative therapy indicates that narrating your life story in your own words enhances your comfort with the past, your sense of personal responsibility, and your inner resolve for self-initiated change.

To build your own narrative that will make your life story compelling to others, ask yourself honestly, “What am I truly passionate about?” and “What is the thread that weaves my story together and makes it meaningful and inspiring?”

Do you take contracts, pursue career opportunities, and build relationships that tap into your passion, or do you just belt out any old song that comes along? If you don’t sing your own songs, people will stop listening.

Have a heart-to-heart conversation with yourself and identify the stream of passion that has carried you to where you are today. Visualize the inner motivation that’s guided you past both the rocky cliffs that tested your resolve and the warm meadows where you tasted the fruits of your efforts.

This week, start building your own narrative of what has brought you to where you are today both personally and professionally. Consider the domains of your life where sharing your genuine narrative will help you to build the relationships you need to achieve your most important goals, and how you can adapt your narrative to different audiences while preserving its essence and authenticity.

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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).