Monday, December 18, 2017

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

The worst loneliness is not 
to be comfortable with yourself.
--- Mark Twain

A passage in the Old Testament reads, ‘Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither’.

You came into this world owning nothing of any substance or physical weight external to yourself. You will leave just as empty-handed.

Have you ever seen the t-shirt ‘He who dies with the most toys….dies.’ The two most significant moments in your life—birth and death—have no material objects to show for them!

So perhaps there is something within this ‘nothingness’—perhaps even something that matters most despite weighing the least.

When you take time alone away from the adrenaline-arousing mix of people, events and tasks that crowd your every waking moment, you stop running from this emptiness. Instead, you make peace with the vastness within so you can understand the feelings it contains.

The next time you pick up a magazine, or turn on the TV, or pick up the phone, ask yourself, ‘Am I committing this action in order to move toward something that’s important to me or to move away from myself?’

As The Eagles famously reminded us, ‘some dance to remember, some dance to forget.’ Do you make decisions each day about how to spend your time to enthusiastically create new memories or to desperately flee from old ones?

This week, take some time to reflect on how you will develop your relationship with the one person who will always be there with you, no matter what: 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 every other 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 4, 2017

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

The whole conviction of my life now rests upon the belief that loneliness, 
far from being a rare and curious phenomenon, peculiar to myself and to
a few other solitary men, is the central and inevitable fact of human existence.
--- Tom Wolfe

Leaders today occupy a precarious position. Research by the social psychologist Michael Hogg of Claremont Graduate University suggests that because of the high status of leaders, followers tend to see them as strikingly different from themselves, members of an outgroup to which followers do not belong.

As a result, followers tend to not be too eager to socialize with leaders. Think about it: do you want to hang out with your boss on a Saturday night? I doubt it.

If you do invite any coworkers into your social life, you would probably prefer those with whom you feel you can let your hair down and just be yourself. You probably perceive such individuals to be similar in status to yourself in your organization—and, hence, to belong to your ingroup.

These intra-organizational social dynamics are unfortunate for leaders, as a 2004 study by the Center for Work-Life Policy found that today’s knowledge workers increasingly socialize with their coworkers rather than outside of their organizations.

Who, then, is left to socialize with leaders? For these reasons, leaders often feel isolated and lonely.

If you are in a leadership role, you may be wise to stop hoping for genuine friendships from the people you lead.

Instead, as an interview study I conducted with Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand reveals, you may be better off expanding your social network by joining peer groups that include other leaders also experiencing a similar excommunication to the outgroup by their followers.
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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 every other 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).