2011 in review

Thank you all who viewed my blog in 2011! I will start posting new blogs shortly to kick off 2012! Happy New Year!

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,100 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 18 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

You wanna know what love is?

This post is a bit selfish – it’s not really for anyone but me and my amazing partner, Hannah Katharine Anthony. But if leading by example is good, then loving by example must be even better.

Today is our fourth anniversary. Some say there is nothing significant about four years, it’s just another year gone by. But when you’re married to someone like her, you know that every second you are together is indescribable, and that every second apart is like dying a thousand deaths – even when you don’t want to admit it.

I know I don’t say it enough in public spaces, but today I have to. You see I’m full of love today for so many reasons. Even though I’m away from my wife today on our anniversary, it is because I’m doing something else I love. Tomorrow is “Day 0” of the LeaderShape Institute, and I have the privilege and honor of leading here at the University of Cincinnati. For those who may think its weird that I’m spending time away from my wife during our anniversary, or for those who may think I’ll be in the dog house because of this; you don’t know the extent of my wife’s love. So if you’re looking for love, or you’ve ever wondered what it is, let me help you out – as I have one of the best teachers around:

Love is…

– seeing the best in someone who puts up their worse on a regular basis

– loving in spite of…period

– doing something, anything, to make your partner happy

– sacrifice, and communication, and pain

– being vulnerable; more vulnerable than you’ve ever been before

– putting up with your exact opposite, and never once complaining about who they are

– selfless, and caring, and so patient

All of these things embody the person I married four years ago, and there is nothing at all I would change about her, who she is, what she does, or how she loves. She is perfect in almost every way. Her only fault may be her unwavering commitment to me. So if it’s not clear by now, I’m going to let Ray Charles speak for me about my best friend in his song Talkin’ ‘Bout You:

Who is my friend, when all friends are gone
You always defend me, if I’m right or wrong
Who knows how to love me, in my way
Who’s always there, every night and day

Who is the sugar in my tea
When I’m in trouble, who sees about me
I’m talkin’ ’bout you, I do mean you

I thank God for you Hannah, and need to remember to do it more. I love you – and it wouldn’t be an anniversary without a few musical selections for your listening pleasure. I’ll always be by your side, and you are truly the love of my life. Happy Anniversary!

Be Unconquered, pt. 4

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

The time has come. Finals are here – the challenge that you’ve been building to for the last several months. For some this will be just a simple “test” (forgive the pun). For others the challenges you face are much more daunting. You’re tired, anxious, maybe a little done with it all. For those just starting the academic journey, you have another 11 semester (plus) of this. Are you ready? Of course you are. The last stanza of this powerful and ancient poem leaves us with a declaration that should reaffirm us all: no matter the path before me, I am in control of my life; I control my destiny.

Earlier tonight, I reminded a group of students with whom I work that success is a process. There are a few steps one must achieve if they are to be “masters” of their fate, and “captains” of their souls:

1. Do everything you can to know yourself more than anything else in this world. Before any text, other person, or skill, you should have an intimate understanding of yourself, which includes your strengths, talents, fears, and passions. How can you ever master that which you do not know?

2. Build relationships that will build you. Surround yourself with people who care about you, and for whom you care about. The reciprocal love that you put out and receive will shape your life in extraordinary ways.

3. Visualize success. Now visualize failure. Which one do you want? Literally go through the process of asking yourself where you will be if you fail in your current goals. The conversation can be an illuminating one. You may find that you need to be doing something else, or you may find the motivation you need to tackle your next challenge with renewed purpose and confidence.

So go forward scholars and leaders; dig deep to close out this semester and this year with the tenacity and ferocity that only you can bring. Despite your circumstances and despite the darkness that may loom ahead of you; remember the words of William Ernest Henley, and be unconquered.

Be Unconquered, pt. 3

Beyond this place of wrath and tears,

Looms but the horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years,

Finds and shall find me unafaid.

What would you do if you were not afraid? What could you do if not bound by the possible pitfalls life has laid before us? Fear guides so much of what we do, or choose not to do. The continuing analysis of this poem instructs us on how to handle fear. In fact, part three of this historic poem gives us some perspective on fear that I hope you all consider in your academic, personal, professional, and spiritual lives. As we approach the finals season, and the close of 2011, many students are afraid of what will be – others are afraid of the possibility of failure, or having a tough conversation with their parents/loved ones about their future. Some of us are afraid to approach that person we have been eyeballing all semester from across the room. We know full well that the end of the semester marks the end of what could have been with that person, as we may not ever see them again. Yet we sit afraid to say, to do, or to act in any way that will move our future forward with intentionality and purpose.

The power of Invictus lies in the common theme of overcoming despite trouble ahead. In fact, much of the poem states clearly the trouble that is to come, recognizes it, and then claims victory anyway. That’s the attitude we must adopt in every walk of our lives. Notice also the desperation in the current moment being experienced by the author as he lives in a current “place of wrath and tears.” Looming ahead is nothing but the “horror of the shade.” Some of us understand how this feels. Despite your current station in life, be it failing at school or work, unemployment, bad economy, or sick loved ones, you have to dig deep and  look beyond that. Now visualize yourself on the other end of whatever hand you’ve been dealt. See that until it comes true. Do not be afraid, be unconquered.

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Be Unconquered, pt. 2https://drmichaelanthony.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#

In the fell clutch of circumstance,

I have not winced, nor cried aloud,

Under the bludgeonings of chance,

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

In my continuing application of this classic poem by William Ernest Henley, I want to remind us all to wallow for a time in our self-pity…and then get over it.  How many times have you heard “someone” (that someone may be you by the way), complain all the time, about everything? Even worse, that someone complains as if their problems are somehow bigger than your problems. They say, “my major is harder, my class load is tougher, my job sucks.” To those folks I say, “you chose your major, you chose your class load, and at least you have a job.”

As I see it, it’s good to be busy, it’s good to feel tired, it’s good to have trouble sometimes. And what’s more, it is inevitable that things happen, good and bad, whether or not you are good or bad. Take heart though, because what you can control is your response to your particular circumstance. The poem says it all; “in the fell [read ‘cruel’] clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud.” The author didn’t plan on his leg being amputated, but it was; he was indeed caught in the cruel grip of circumstance, but refused to even wince! That’s resilience folks! He goes on to say that even after getting bludgeoned by chance, his admits that he is bloody, but refuses to bow down.  Pay attention to the beautiful diction here, and look up the word bludgeoned – it’s not just getting “beat up.” This is the type of resolve that we must have despite what chance might send our way. I can imagine the author holding on to the fact that he was at least still alive. Can you honestly tap into that inner strength and resolve to get past the circumstances and random chance in your life?

Several years ago I had the pleasure of hearing the incomparable Maya Angelou at a public forum. She told us of a time when her son called her and asked her to recite Invictus to him over the phone, very slowly and deliberately. After she finished the poem her son thanked her, and told her that he had just underwent an extremely painful procedure at the doctors office that required him to remain conscious – and he needed those words to get through it. Use your pain, circumstance, and chance situations in your life to build strength, character, and resilience. Do not complain. Be unconquered.

The 10 college majors with the lowest unemployment rates | The Lookout – Yahoo! News

The 10 college majors with the lowest unemployment rates | The Lookout – Yahoo! News.

Thinking about graduate degrees or changing majors??? Consider these:) **Note Educational Administration and Supervision:) Let me know if you’re interested in higher ed folks – that’s my thing!

Be Unconquered, pt. 1

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be,

For my unconquerable soul.

At the age of 12, William Ernest Henley contracted tuberculosis of the bone. A few years later, the disease progressed to his foot, and physicians announced that the only way to save his life was to amputate directly below the knee. It was amputated when he was 17. Stoicism inspired him to write the poem Invictus which in Latin translates as unconquered.

Over the next four weeks I will post my reflection using a different stanza of this poem, the first of which is above. For students, the next few weeks leading to winter break are most trying. Finals, fear of grades that don’t quite meet expectations, the specter of not returning, or returning to new and more challenging coursework looms ahead. For those not in school, the holidays bring joy to many, but fear and anxiety to some. The fear that they won’t be able to celebrate as others due because of their economic situation; the loneliness of not having loved ones to share the holidays with; the uncertainty of whether friends will return from tours overseas.

I have leaned on Invictus as a reminder of how to overcome fear, doubt, and oftentimes pain. Since I was 19 years old I have learned to find refuge in the words of this poem and many others as I attempt to manage my own insecurities. This first stanza reminds me that trouble will always find its way to your doorstep, and that you can always find your way out of it. In fact, if you’re not in a storm right now, you are heading towards one, or coming out of one. This poem picks up at the latter, coming “out of the night that cover me, black as the pit from pole to pole.” This first stanza reminds me of the power of faith and gratitude as “I thank whatever gods may be,” and remember that I’m not in this alone – even when I’m by myself. The syntax of “whatever gods may be” helps the faithful and the faithless reflect on something outside of themselves, and something bigger than their circumstance. And finally, this stanza reaffirms that which I already believe; that despite whatever I’m going through or am facing, no matter how scary –  my soul (i.e., my core, my essence, my spirit) remains strong.

As you go into this holiday / finals / new beginnings season…despite your circumstance, hold your head up – prepare for what’s to come, and be unconquered.

Follow my blog and share at https://drmichaelanthony.wordpress.com

Dr. Anthony

The Yin Yang of Being a Student

In Asian philosophy, the concept of yin yang is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn. I use this concept often in my understanding of marriage, leadership, and other societal or natural constructs. To illustrate, I tell folks who are thinking about a long-term committed relationship to remember the yin yang of commitment. Imagine the worse thing you can think about your significant other – the most annoying thing they do or say – and imagine having to deal with that day-in and day-out…for eternity. Sounds daunting huh? But that’s not where it ends. Think about the joy that person brings you – the feeling of security, the love, the assurance that someone is there – and imagine having to deal with that day-in and day-out…for eternity. Not so bad. To make it in any relationship, you take the good and the bad.

In leadership, one of my favorite poems, The Penalty of Leadership, captures this concept beautifully. “Jealously does not protrude its forked tongue at the artists who produces a commonplace painting.” When you step up to the challenge of being a leader, you get enourmous benefit with that. Recognition, letters of recommendation, opportunities to network, getting that great first job. But leadership also comes with a great burden – failure, being in a fishbowl, being held to higher standards, and pure unadulterated hateration from so many people. That’s the yin yang of leadership.

As a student, you also have to walk a delicate line. Being a student has its benefits and rewards, and it has its costs. As you round the bend on yet another semester, consider what excites you about being a student. Then consider what scares you. What are your favorite parts of school and of being a student? What parts do you hate? In school I always liked the lectures (weird huh?) The expert standing in front of the room bestowing knowledge; it always felt very “academic” to me. But I didn’t like homework, or getting up early, or having to meet deadlines, or sometimes working in groups. Being a successful student meant embracing both of these realities. Too often we want to do what we like, and ignore what we hate, causing many of us to fail and inaccurately conclude that we are bad _________ (fill in the blank). You’re not a bad _________ you are just unwilling to accept the yin yang of your situation. Leaders face the same fate, as they want all the glory with none of the work or responsibility. Take time to reflect on the yin yang of your life, leadership, academic career, or work life. Getting comfortable with the good and bad is essential if you are to be successful – otherwise you only live life understanding half of the picture – and you will never finish with only half the information.

Part 3 of Top Down Bigotry

Mona Tailor: A Hindu Kentuckian’s Perspective on Senator Williams’ Comments « The Recovering Politician.

My last post on this – thought her story needed to be shared. Thank you for your thoughtfulness!

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