Monday, July 22, 2019

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

The price of anything is the 
amount of life you exchange for it.
--- Thoreau

About six years ago, a friend of mine was sitting in a restaurant with his wife in a small town in France and noticed that almost everyone in the restaurant was looking at their smartphone while they were having dinner. Then he noticed he and his wife were doing the same.

When I told him I was writing a book on this subject, he asked, “Are you sure spending less time on the Internet and their smartphones is something people want to do?

At the time, I didn’t know how to answer him.

“It’s kind of like legal heroin,” he continued. “It’s really come to this point where people are addicted and many are happily addicted.”

Stanford psychologist Kelly McGonigal begs to differ. “People have a pathological relationship with their devices,” she claims. “People feel not just addicted, but trapped.”

Perhaps most disconcerting about this story is that it occurred in 2011. Today, this story is no longer a story: it’s what we witness just about every time we go out.

To share this story today is like recounting that you went to a baseball game and observed the fans standing up and cheering. What’s not new is not news.

This week, take some time to reflect on your relationship with your phone. Design some strategies that keep you in control of how you use technology rather than the other way around. The quality of your relationships with the people you love hangs in the balance.

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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, June 24, 2019

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

When there’s not commitment, 
there's confusion.
--- M. Scott Peck

Commitment is not for everyone. I didn’t think it was for me for the first forty years of my life.

I was never able to “think” my way into it. The mind can come up with reasons to support just about anything, which in my case included a dystopian view of marriage and an inability to confront inner demons.

I was only able to commit to marriage once my love for my (now) wife became stronger than my fear. I wish I could tell you exactly how it happened; the only savior I can point to is empathy.

After being apart for a year-and-a-half, I experienced a moment of knowing with her that transcended rational thought. I had been teaching Compassionate Communication and realized that I hadn’t understood her well when we had been together.

When we saw each other again, I told her I loved her.

“I love you,” she replied.

“You loved me before, but you weren’t getting what you needed in our relationship,” I shared. “Let’s sit down and talk about what you would need to feel comfortable in this relationship.”

We agreed that we would give it another try, and if it was going well, I would propose within six months and we would marry within a year of our engagement.

I proposed just over two months later. Six months afterwards we were married. That was over eight years ago.

This week, ask yourself what you most wish for in this area of your life, whether it’s marriage, children, or simply a more intimate connection with your partner.

Make a commitment not to make a commitment, but to confront the inner demons obstructing your path toward what you desire.

_____________________________________________
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, June 10, 2019

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

Life requires you to learn and then balance two foundational skills: how to choose how you want to live, and how to live with what you choose.
--- Anthony Silard

About ten years ago, I was wrestling with my inner demons about commitment and went on a walk along the Potomac River outside of Washington, DC with a close family friend who had been married to his wife for over forty years.

“How have you managed it,” I asked him.

Robert looked at the turbulent rapids and thought for a while. Then he said, “I think the best advice I ever received was from my aunt, while I was fixing my tuxedo just before Charlene and I were married.”

He had my attention. “She said, ‘Robert, always remember this: Whatever Charlene does, just give. No matter what happens, always give. And you two will be fine.’”

Robert helped me to understand what marriage truly means: commitment to giving to the other person through thick and thin.

Challenging advice to hear at the time. When you’re single, it’s all about you: choosing how you want to live. That’s what you need to do: go exactly for what you want (without stepping on anyone along the way) because later you’ll be living with your choices.

As Robert’s aunt illumined, it’s not about you anymore once you’re married. Especially once you have kids.

Don’t get me wrong: you’re still important—the way a servant is important. You are still a human being, but not one that’s being served anymore; instead, you are now serving others.

In so doing, you enable your potential future spouse and children to build their lives around you. This is both the rawest and most rewarding form of leadership available to humankind.

This week, reflect on how you wish to live in this area of your life so you can later live with what you choose.

_____________________________________________
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, May 13, 2019

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

Loneliness is the poverty of self; 
solitude is the richness of self.
--- May Sarton

Loneliness has become the suffering of our generation. Yet it’s important to note that loneliness and solitude are not the same.

Another way to think about it is that social isolation is objective: if you are physically alone, you are isolated. Loneliness or solitude, however, are subjective. They are emotional states that emerge from how you perceive your social isolation.

Just as one person’s trash is another’s treasure, two people can each be physically alone and one can experience a devastating rejection and abandonment by others while the other can feel an ineffable wholeness and oneness with the world independent of—or interdependent with—the other people in their life.

In fact, believe it or not, the same person can feel both in the same day; such is the ephemeral nature of emotions.

This distinction between loneliness and solitude is an age-old, perennial issue human beings have been managing for centuries. Yet thanks to our smartphones and digital devices, we seem to be edging toward a collective loneliness—subjective, negatively experienced isolation—unlike any we have previously experienced

This week, make a commitment to enhance how you engage with others. When you find yourself rushing around and experiencing the superficial conversations that induce loneliness, take some time to slow down and reflect on how you approach your relationships. Then reengage with others in a more meaningful way.

_____________________________________________
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.

Friday, May 3, 2019

Are you ready to build community with us?




“I’m putting my trust in renowned keynote speaker and workshop leader Anthony Silard to help me learn the rules of some rather complex games, this one called ‘life’ in particular.”

- Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times best sellers, MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

You are invited to our Compassionate Communication Workshop tomorrow, May 4th, 2019 in Claremont, CA. This is a donation-based event whose proceeds go to foster youth leadership programs in San Bernardino. Our facilitator Dr. Silard has taught the art of communication to hundreds of thousands of executives over the past 25+ years and can help you communicate better and create a compassionate heart connection.

Ready to get connected with your community and learn to communicate more effectively? See the attached flyer or visit us at Meetup.com/Got-Disconnection for more information. Want to help build community with us? Spread the word by sharing our event with family, friends, and coworkers!


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Do you want to create a compassionate heart connection?



“Anthony’s mini-workshop was outstanding! The explanations were clear and accessible, his presence was both humble and strong, and the process introduced worked very well. The concepts introduced have great value at every level of communication. We had nearly 30 people show up (an unusually large crowd)—a demonstration not only of trust in him, but also a strongly-felt need for...less hurtful communication. I am so impressed with what he has done, and with the humble generosity of his heart."

- Steven Smith, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, 
   Claremont McKenna College

You are invited to our Compassionate Communication Workshop on May 4th, 2019 in Claremont, CA. This is a donation-based event whose proceeds go to foster youth leadership programs in San Bernardino. Our facilitator Dr. Silard has taught the art of communication to hundreds of thousands of executives over the past 25+ years and can help you communicate better and create a compassionate heart connection.

Ready to get connected with your community and learn to communicate more effectively? See the attached flyer or visit us at Meetup.com/Got-Disconnection for more information. Want to help build community with us? Spread the word by sharing our event with family, friends, and coworkers!


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Do you strive to be a successful leader?


A Harvard study found that 85% of a leader’s success is attributable to personal character. Leadership—whether personal or organizational—hinges on the development of character. Anthony Silard, Ph.D. defines leadership as “the capacity to develop multiple key relationships toward a common purpose.”


Anthony Silard, Ph.D. has taught the art of communication to over hundreds of thousands of executives over the past 25+ years. He has developed an interactive and engaging model that creates a simulated environment and enables anyone to work through their most sensitive issues with the people they most care about. You are invited to our Compassionate Communication Workshop on May 4th, 2019 in Claremont, CA. This is a donation-based event whose proceeds go to foster youth leadership programs in San Bernardino. Facilitator Dr. Silard holds the belief that in these divided times, we cannot build community without the ability to effectively communicate. 

Ready to get connected with your community and learn to communicate more effectively? Visit us at Meetup.com/Got-Disconnection for more information. Want to help build community with us? Spread the word by sharing our event with family, friends, and coworkers!

Monday, April 22, 2019

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

Man wishes to be happy even when he so lives
 as to make happiness impossible.
---  Saint Augustine
Social media has, strangely, created its own demand. By isolating you from your friends, your loneliness becomes greater and you feel more motivated by what the British psychologist Pamela Qualter calls the “reaffiliation motive” to check your social media and see what your friends are doing.

In some ways, social media is like calling the delivery number of a pizza franchise in your neighborhood. The more frequently you order, the fatter and less capable of walking outside to a grocery store or restaurant you become.

So what do you do? You call the delivery number more often to save yourself from an increasingly challenging walk (to real, face-to-face connection).

By putting you in contact with the many who matter little to you (e.g., former classmates, friends of friends) it diminishes your ability to connect in real time with the few who do.

Yet you still crave the intimate connection that only real-time interaction produces, which expands your demand for what seems the most effortless way to tap into it—ironically, the technology that’s stamped it out of your life—social media.

So, like the pizza chain gleefully delivering delicious garbage to your home, social media throws you overboard and then dangles a life preserver in front of your flailing, desperately lonely, sputtering body. You never quite make it back into the boat of human connection, but neither do you have the capability to swim away.

This week, come up with a strategy to titrate your use of social media and revitalize your experience of real life.

_____________________________________________
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.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Are you craving connection with your community?


A Cigna study released in April of last year found that approximately 50 percent of Americans are lonely. We now spend less time outside interacting with others in our community and more time isolated indoors behind a screen. Psychologist Jean Twenge of San Diego State University and others have found that the suicide rate and depression have skyrocketed while self-esteem is at an all-time low.

Are you craving connection with your community? Do you need a change in your communication style? You are invited to our Compassionate Communication Workshop on May 4th, 2019 in Claremont, CA. This is a donation-based event whose proceeds go to foster youth leadership programs in San Bernardino. Facilitator, Anthony Silard, Ph.D. has taught the art of communication to over hundreds of thousands of executives over the past 25+ years and can help you communicate better and create this compassionate heart connection.

Ready to get connected with your community and learn to communicate more effectively? Visit us at Meetup.com/Got-Disconnection for more information. Want to help build community with us? Spread the word by sharing our event with family, friends, and coworkers!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Are you feeling disconnected?



Facebook, Twitter, email, texts… We are in contact with many, yet connected with very few. How are these social trends affecting you? Are your relationships missing a heart connection? 
You are invited to our Compassionate Communication Workshop, a donation-based event whose proceeds go to foster youth leadership programs in San Bernardino. 

Whether you want to work on your personal relationships, better understand your own motivations and relationship needs, or are a professional wanting to connect with your coworkers and clients more compassionately, all are welcome to join our group and attend our workshops. Facilitator, Anthony Silard, Ph.D. has taught the art of communication to over hundreds of thousands of executives over the past 25+ years and can help you communicate better and create this compassionate heart connection.


Ready to get connected with your community and learn to communicate more effectively? Visit us at Meetup.com/Got-Disconnection for more information. Want to help build community with us? Spread the word by sharing our event with family, friends, and coworkers!

Monday, April 1, 2019

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

On the mountains of truth you can never climb in vain:
either you will reach a point higher up today, or you will be training your powers so that you will be able to climb higher tomorrow. 
---  Nietzsche

If you aren’t able to take time out to empty your life of what it currently contains, how will you be able to fill it with what you desire it to contain?

People who are at peace with themselves know their inner acceptance is not a fixed destination, but an ongoing journey. They are on a constant search for truth that will never be fully realized.

Those on this journey know their biggest problem is looking back at them in the mirror. They are relentless in their drive toward specific (internal and external) goals, yet take time out to reconsider the strategies they implement to achieve these goals.

What strategies do you practice to reconnect with yourself and ask the hard questions that lead you toward what you consider truth? Do you take a long bath, or have a relaxing meal with a close friend, or go for a long walk under the sunset?

If you wish to live according to your beliefs, it’s imperative that you take time daily to renew those beliefs. As the founder of client-centered therapy, Carl Rogers, envisioned, life is a process of “becoming” in which we can always move closer to what we value and the person we want to be.

This week, take some time out of the mix to check-in with what you most value and start moving toward it.

_____________________________________________
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, March 11, 2019

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

I could not bring myself to believe that if knowledge presented danger, the solution was ignorance. To me, it always seemed that the solution had to be wisdom. You did not refuse to look at danger, rather you learned how to handle it safely. 
---  Isaac Asimov

A HR director told me the other day, “The digital age is the wrong period for me, as I’m an empath—I love people.”

“Actually, the digital age may be the best possible period for you or anyone else who truly listens,” I responded, “as people like you are in such short supply that many others feel a gravitation pull to talk about their lives with you.”

She thought for a moment and then nodded, “Yes, I suppose that’s true.”

If you are visiting a family and they invite you to stay for dinner, instead of refusing as you usually do because you want to return home and check your online dating profiles and see who has swiped right on your profile, accept the invitation and hang out with them.

The conversation may open up avenues both cognitive (new ways of thinking about what you are looking for in a relationship) and social (you may become closer with them, and they may even have a friend to introduce you to at some point) in your life.

If you can do what your smartphone-addled peers are unable to do—stop and truly listen—the social opportunities available to you will be rich and unparalleled.

Make the decision to slow down to the speed of real, digitally-unmediated life and you will be joyfully surprised to find that your relationships become more vital and meaningful. The more you fill your life with the right people, the more likely you are to meet the right person.

_____________________________________________
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, February 25, 2019

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

The Internet is one thing and its opposite. It could 
remedy the loneliness of many, but it turns out it has 
multiplied it; the Internet has allowed many to work 
from home, and that has increased their isolation. 
And it generates its own remedies to eliminate this 
isolation, Twitter, Facebook, which end up increasing it. 
---  Umberto Eco

Until we learn how to temper our insatiable lust for social recognition—which social media companies capitalize on—technology will continue to erode our experience of the real world. We will continue to experience less face-to-face interaction and an elusive inner craving for real people in our lives.

Face-to-face relationships are already becoming a nostalgic concept; many are unwilling to cede the convenience and cool detachment of their digital personas to recapture them. Yet, the craving remains.

For this reason, it is no coincidence that “reality shows” became popular after the advent of social media. Before the Internet, many would have responded to the concept of a reality TV show with “Why would I want to watch someone like me?” Now we watch because we are not viewing people like ourselves; rather, we are viewing people like who we once were.

A bi-product of our new affinity for viewing rather than experiencing life is that we are devastatingly lonely. According to a Cigna study based on the UCLA Revised Loneliness Scale released in April 2018, almost 50 percent of Americans are now lonely.

Make a commitment to rid yourself of the illusion that took root somewhere in the back of your mind over these past fifteen years that you are somewhat famous now that you have followers on social media. Much more important than their approval of you is your approval of yourself—an approval much, much harder to win. This week, take some time alone and start winning it.

_____________________________________________
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, February 11, 2019

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

Most social media is neither. 
---  Anthony Silard

This is a bold statement. Please allow me to back it up. First of all, social media is often not social. Why? Because it doesn’t generate the fulfillment of a social life.

When you go to a party, or go on a hike with a friend, or eat lunch with someone you care about, these activities call upon your social abilities and fulfill a dimension of your life, the part of you that needs and desires to relate to other people. For these reasons, these activities are called “social.”

Social media, on the other hand, is a poor substitute: hunching over a screen typing in information about yourself and broadcasting it to others while reading the information they in turn type into their keypads or keyboards about themselves while hunched over their screens does not adequately fulfill our vital need to socialize.

Neither are most social media posts ‘media’ in the sense of reporters reporting the news. The viewing of vacation photos or a former classmate’s diatribe about politics is not exactly the news.

Such sharing of information is not the “news” in pure, distilled form, only contacts sharing unfiltered details of their lives 99+ percent of which are too trivial for any news outlet designated with the task of sifting through such submissions to print. In other words, Facebook is too much face and not enough book.

This week, design some strategies to spend less time on your phone and more time connecting with real people in real time.

_____________________________________________
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 28, 2019

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

Experience is a comb which a man 
gets when he becomes bald. 
---  Emerson

Life is an intriguing paradox: you are the spectator during the most fragile, vulnerable periods of your life, and the player when you are the most able.

As an infant and small child, you are the spectator. You connect with everything around you and observe it all with wondrous curiosity.

Then you become the player for decades. You spin through life and act the days away.

Over time, as you become older and (physically) weaker, the spectator takes over again, looks back on your life, and considers the player’s moves.

Many people ignore the spectator’s values and allow the player to do whatever she or he feels like in the moment.

There’s tremendous irony in the human tendency to wait until the game is almost over to become the spectator and understand the player’s motivations.

You can short-circuit this natural human inclination: If you want to live a happy, successful, and meaningful life, you can make the decision to get off the field and talk to the spectator now, not after it’s too late to do anything about what she or he has to tell you.

This week, come up with a novel way to connect with the spectator. Design a unique strategy that will enable you to integrate some time alone into your busy schedule so you can renew this connection.

_____________________________________________
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 14, 2019

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

We live in a society bloated with data yet starved for wisdom. 
We’re connected 24/7, yet anxiety, fear, depression and loneliness are at an all-time high. We must course-correct. 
---  Elizabeth Kapu'uwailani Lindsey

Do you remember the expression, “Hang up and drive.” Here’s another that’s more appropriate for the digital era we live in, when very few people make phone calls anymore: “Stop texting and call.”

Make the decision to pick up the phone instead of engaging yet again in a textual exchange that does not make you feel very connected with the other person.

Why? Because 93 percent of communication has nothing to do with the words you write and send to someone, and everything to do with your and the other person’s nonverbal cues—smiling (or not), posture, gestures, tone of voice, and so on.

Without the social cue of our body language to either back up or contradict the words we share, you and the other person are biologically wired to distrust what is said.

Loneliness has a motivating aspect in that most people become more attentive to social opportunities in order to avoid it, a phenomenon called the “reaffiliation motive.”

In other words, we need people. Developing meaningful relationships is not “nice to do,” but “need to do.”

This week, pick up the phone and call someone who has that increasingly rare quality of being willing to answer or return your call promptly. Give them the social importance they merit in our increasingly disconnected society.

Let your phone call be but one step toward the renewal of your connections with others.

_____________________________________________
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.