Monday, July 27, 2015

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


There is nothing more powerful
than an idea whose time has come.
--- Victor Hugo

There are two distinct streams of which the innovator is aware: the creation of ideas and the timing of the public’s receptiveness to them.

Political science research by Chalmers Johnson indicates that revolutions—including the French Revolution (to which Hugo was referring when he wrote the above statement in Les Miserables)—tend to occur not when circumstances are at their worst, but when circumstances have been difficult for many years and are beginning to improve.

Consider the challenges you have faced in your life or have observed others confronting. While some time may have passed since these difficult moments, you can use this temporal and mental distance to reflect on how these moments have defined you and influenced what you stand for and want to do with the brief time you have left on this planet.

This week, create an “idea bank” of potential ideas to better society, such as a more environmentally friendly soap dispenser, or a website to match potential donors with worthy causes, or a magazine to raise public awareness about date rape.

Then wait for the right timing to spring into action.

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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, July 20, 2015

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


Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, 
but most of the things they make 
it easier to do don’t need to be done.
--- Andy Rooney

Henry Ford brought personal (physical) mobility to the masses, ironically, almost exactly a century ago in 1908 with the invention of the Model T. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs have brought virtual mobility (or the mobility of ideas) to the masses over the last two decades.

It was once a great privilege to own your own car so you could travel much further than ever before. Today, it’s a great privilege to own a laptop, smartphone, or tablet so your ideas can travel much further than ever before.

Yet we don’t get into a car just to drive. We first have a destination in mind and then map out our journey. We must do the same with our screens.

Every email is either a priority or distraction. The ability to make this distinction is one of the most evolutionarily adaptive skills of the 21st century.

If we just log on and see what strikes our fancy rather than developing a vision for how we want to use our digital devices, we lose ourselves along the way.

Your life vision must guide how you navigate the Internet and social media. They are merely mechanisms—as is the automobile—that will help you get to where you want to go if you know how to utilize them correctly.

At various times throughout the week, shut off all your screens and reflect on what you most value. Design some concrete strategies to guide how you allocate your time in the physical and digital universe.

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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, July 13, 2015

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


How on earth do you do it? 
Again and again you say words to me,
or pose questions that shine a light into me 

and make me clear to myself.
-- Hermann Hesse, Narcissus and Goldmund

When you begin a conversation, is most of your energy directed toward getting what’s on your mind out of your system, or toward giving the other person the opportunity to also share what they are thinking?

If reaching a genuine mutual understanding is high on your list of conversational priorities, the artful allocation of your energy to the second objective becomes vital.

When you listen first, you instinctively know how to build a bridge with the other person. You learn how to meet them where they are, not where you are.

Take my word for it—they’ll appreciate you for that. What’s more, they will then also want to listen to you.

Listening gets you on stage. After you listen, a captive audience is ready for your performance when it’s your turn to speak.

This week, ask yourself—with no-holds-barred honesty—whether you spend the bulk of your conversations listening to the other person or rattling off what you want? Do you stop and listen to others or do you say, “I pretty much know what they think so I’m going to push forward with my agenda.”

First, you don’t always know what they think. Second, until you listen, your agenda falls on deaf ears.

I’ve witnessed firsthand how ineffective most people are at getting their points across because they don’t set the stage by listening first. They throw their words into a vast, empty space where they can’t be forgotten because they weren’t even heard in the first place.

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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, July 6, 2015

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

The time you enjoy wasting
 is not wasted time.
--- Bertrand Russell

A friend of mine, Russell, was looking for a new job a few years ago. When I asked him how he felt about it, he replied, “It’s different now that I have kids. I just enjoy spending time with them. No matter what happens in my job search, it makes everything OK.”

Russell’s attitude is much different than many of the executives I coach, such as George, who feels uncomfortable coming home and spending time with his kids.

“I’m just not sure what to do with them sometimes,” George told me. “At work, I know I can get things done. I feel a sense of accomplishment. At home, I just sit around with my kids doing nothing really tangible or specific. It’s hard for me to sit with that and accept it.”

Ironically, Russell’s contentedness with his life—which doesn’t reduce his motivation, only his preoccupation with the results he generates—is precisely what enabled him to find a position a few weeks later in which he has become very successful without sacrificing his home life.

Happiness radiates outwards and attracts others. Russell’s comfort in his own skin made him appear like more of a known quantity, which generated trust and a belief that he could become a loyal, committed employee.

This week, make a pact with yourself to balance the time you spend at work with time engaged in activities with the people you love the most, including yourself. 

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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).