Monday, June 29, 2015

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


Love demands not that you think less of yourself, 
but that you think of yourself less.
--- Anthony Silard

Life is a process of displacement. When you are born, you immediately become #1. As long as you are single, you remain #1—it’s still about you and your freedom.

When you get married, you become #2—you have to learn to put your spouse first (without compromising your deeply-held values—that’s why choosing the right person is the most important decision you’ll ever make in your life) if you want the marriage to work.

When you have a child, you become #3. By the time you become a grandparent, you’re lucky if you’re still in the Top Ten.

While this sounds like a self-defeating prospect, it’s the opposite: you gain tremendously by having people in your life who build their lives around you and support and love you.

While it sounds like you become weaker, it’s the opposite: you become stronger. While it sounds like you become a follower, it’s again the opposite: this is true leadership. The front-stage star is not a leader, but a showman—not the director, but an actor.

The true leader is the one you don’t see, the back-stage architect whose undying devotion enables the unfolding drama, which involves many, to captivate and enthrall, night after night.

This week, take some time to reflect on how you perceive commitment in your life, and what you are willing to do—and, most importantly, to give of yourself—to share your life with 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, June 22, 2015

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


I am sitting here in the smallest room of my house
with your letter of criticism before me.
It will soon be behind me.
--- H.L. Mencken

The paradox of disapproval is that the more you make peace with it, the less it shows up on your doorstep.

When you don’t pay attention to disapproval and instead just focus on moving in the direction you instinctually feel is right, you become successful on your own terms—the only way to gain approval in the long-run.

Herein lies a counterintuitive point about approval: To maximize the overall approval you will receive in your lifetime, you sometimes have to go against the opinions of the very same people whose approval you seek.

The fact is that most people have better things to do with their time than send disapproval messages to those who are confident and refuse to tune into their frequency.

I know I’m asking you to rise to a daunting challenge that will cause you discomfort. Let’s face it: receiving disapproval isn’t a lot of fun. Julie Andrews didn’t include disapproval on her list of favorite things as she sang and danced in the Austrian mountains in The Sound of Music. It’s not at the top of my list of favorite things either.

Yet are you here to have fun, or to walk proudly toward compelling goals that will motivate you for a lifetime?

This week, bring to mind one person whose disapproval has had a paralyzing effect on your life. Make a vow with yourself to put their disapproval behind you.

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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, June 15, 2015

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


Success is 1 percent inspiration
and 99 percent perspiration.
--- Thomas Edison

Loving your job doesn’t mean loving it every moment of every day.

As the old Zen saying goes, “Before enlightenment, wash the dishes. After enlightenment, wash the dishes.” As much as we might desire to the contrary, inspiration just won’t wash the dishes. So unless you want them to overwhelm your kitchen, you have to get your hands dirty and wash the dishes.

Yes, I know this can be frustrating. I feel this frustration myself: sometimes I review a presentation or edit a chapter (or a Smile, It’s Monday) for the umpteenth time and think, “This is definitely the perspiration.”

Yet your purpose is the motor that will propel you through the most mundane of tasks.

Your purpose enables you to glide through even the trite and the trivial because you perceive these tasks as no more than steps on your path toward building a loving family, or reengineering how companies do business, or providing the person you love with a stable, emotionally resilient partner considerate of his or her needs.

However you want to live, reflect on it this week and then write it down in your Vision Statement (my book The Connection: Link Your Purpose, Passion, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World includes a guide to creating your own Vision Statement) so you can always return to it during your challenging moments and find the patience to endure the “perspiration” that accompanies you every day on your journey.

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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, June 8, 2015

Smile, It’s Monday: Your Weekly Wake-up Call to Build Meaningful Relationships


A few vices are sufficient 
to darken many virtues.
--- Plutarch

Joanna, a public relations executive in her mid-fifties I used to coach, had been married for thirty years. She and her husband had three children.

Then one day she discovered her husband had cheated on her with a younger woman. She immediately asked for a divorce.

He tried to woo here back, claiming that while he had made a mistake, it had only been one time and he would never do it again. He argued that they should stay together for their children, and that he still loved her.

She was intransigent in her resolve to divorce him. “He disrespected me,” she told me.

What should I have advised her? Should she have forgiven him? There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question.

Yet one thing is certain: his single act of less than an hour of sex with another woman has destroyed his family and a relationship he spent over thirty years constructing. In a matter of minutes, he almost completely depleted a trust account into which he had spent over thirty years of his life making deposits.

For this reason, clarifying your deepest values in a Vision Statement that you refer to at the start of each week is so important. When the desire for short-term gratification asks you to lend an ear, you need to be able to contrast this voice with a larger vision that guides your life throughout all of the moments that constitute it—especially the challenging moments that most define who you are.

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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, June 1, 2015

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


I will bring you a whole person 
and you will bring me a whole person
and we will have us twice as much
 of love and everything.
--- Mari Evans

Once we become tired of the common escape routes from confronting ourselves plentifully available in today’s digitally-mediated society—such as social media, smartphones, and so on—we often turn to another person in search of the ultimate escape: the subordination of our personal identity into a relational identity that we form with this person.

The problem, however, with building our identity upon the shoulders of a specific relationship is that when the relationship becomes uncertain―note I use when, not if, as periodic uncertainty is characteristic of all relationships―we feel like we are falling to the ground.

We wish to avoid this outcome at all costs, and attempt to hem in the relationship within the constraints of what we feel will make it safer―”He shouldn’t say this,” “She shouldn’t do that,” because if they do then I’ll lose my security within the relationship. And since my personal identity is tied to the success of this relationship, I’ll lose my security within myself.

In short, we attempt to put the other person in a cage molded by our needs and delusions. Like a bird waiting for the door of the cage to open, they crave their freedom from our expectations and eventually fly away.

This week, reflect on what brings happiness into your life and also strengthens your relationship with yourself.

When you are ready, begin to view others not as objects to fill an inner need, but as individuals whom you can appreciate for their inherent beauty and with whom you can share 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).