Monday, January 29, 2018

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

The pessimist complains about the wind. 
The optimist expects it to change. 
The realist adjusts the sail.
--- William Arthur Ward

One morning I called my wife, who had been visiting her family in central Mexico with our two children for the previous two weeks, and she told our three-year-old son I would be coming the next day to join them. 

In response, he picked up the phone and said, “No. Don’t come.”

It hurt my feelings for a while. A lot. 

Then I had no choice but to let it go and to try to understand him. He had been the man of the house for two weeks and probably felt I was coming to supplant him and take away his mommy. 

About an hour later, ironically while I was still writing this piece, she called me back and told me that Daniel was crying and wanted to talk to me. “I want you to come,” he told me through his tears. 

The relationship I have with my son contains the same dynamic I experience in my friendships: ever-fluctuating social distance. Perhaps you experience this dynamic also in some of your important relationships. 

This week, make a commitment to do two things: First, to appreciate your friends, family members or intimate partner when they demonstrate their wish to be close to you; second, to grant them the social distance they need when it is more than you desire. 

You will be pleasantly surprised at how your understanding results in others wanting to be by your side more often.

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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here

Monday, January 15, 2018

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

Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted
is the most terrible poverty.
 
--- Mother Teresa


We’ve all heard the adage, “It’s lonely at the top.” Why do leaders often feel lonely? One reason is the complex psychological adjustment to authority and the unexpected nature of the peerless role. 

Leaders often feel their heads are on the chopping block when faced with difficult decisions with no clear answer. 

As Sarah Wright of the University of Canterbury and I found in a recent study, these feelings of being accountable for tough decisions combined with a lack of socioemotional support tend to generate loneliness in leaders. 

Think about it: Who does a leader talk to when making these complex decisions? In many cases, they feel they need to present themselves as wise and omniscient in order to preserve their status in the organization. 

For these reasons, they often do not talk to their employees or even board members about the insecurities they feel around making the right decision.

Add to this toxic cocktail the emotion theorist Nico Frijda’s finding that perceived uncertainty tends to lead to negative emotions and it is easy to understand why leaders are often consumed by anxiety, insecurity, and loneliness.

This week, reflect on your social support network and who you can confide in and bounce ideas off of when making complex decisions. Take action to expand this network and, in so doing, your well-being and capacity to sustain yourself as a leader.


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Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC 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, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.

Monday, January 1, 2018

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

While thoughts about moving forward yield thoughts about moving forward,
moving forward yields forward movement
.
--- Anthony Silard 

There are many people who dream, many people who act, and few who do both.

The greatest benefit you reap when you take action is that you come to see yourself as a person who takes action.

You replace the self-image of someone who sits around and never gets anything done with that of someone who acts authentically, boldly embraces change, and does what it takes to transform their dreams into reality.

Here’s a simple truth: There is no rehearsal for life. Your life is the rehearsal. Your preparation for the big day is the big day.

With this way of thinking in mind, recognize when you are over-thinking and instead take action and move forward in your life.

Go work out once this week. Give away some of your money to a worthy cause. Write the first page or two of that screenplay. Attend a new social event even if it’s initially out of your comfort zone. 

Do a bit—whatever you can—and experience how it feels. Then do some more.

The indelible experience of a single connection with another human being will do more than volumes of books and all the theories in the world to provide your deepest wisdom, passion, and conviction in life.

This week, gently push mental meandering aside and take a bold step toward an important goal.
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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).