A retired major general penned a new book that showcases how attitude is everything when it comes to accomplishing goals and overcoming obstacles.
Dr. Linda Singh, former head of Maryland National Guard, had no intention of “doing nothing” after her transition from the military. Instead, she knew she could now pick and choose what she says yes to, which has included supporting retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honore in his leadership of the security task force following the Jan. 6 attack at the Capitol. Singh’s other projects include authoring a personal development guide to help readers take stock of the things that are holding them back.
“What’s In Your Box? Designing the Life You Want” explains how boxes are used to store and organize things with meaning and purpose. Singh then highlights how goals and accomplishments should be stored similarly for easy access when opportunities arise. By defining what is important to “box up” and what can be left behind, readers have the opportunity to purge what may be worsening their attitude and contributing to unproductive behavior and push themselves closer to realizing their potential.
Singh is no stranger to sharing her story and insight. She previously published “Moments of Choice: My Path to Leadership” in 2016, but she said the books serve different purposes.
“When I think about the difference, the first book was more about my leadership journey and story. The second one is more about lessons learned and helping others see, what’s the work that you need to put in in order to get what you want out of life,” she said. “I decided to do that for a number of reasons … but it really was out of all the questions that I would get in interviews, the majority were asking, ‘what made you successful?’”
Singh made history in Maryland by leading the first all-female command staff for the National Guard. And the Maryland-native is a success story all on her own. She dropped out of high school and once lived homeless on the very streets she came to serve. Looking back, she credits her recruiter with providing the step up she needed at that moment in her life.
“People often only see the end result, and they don’t really know all of the different twists and turns and ‘noes’ that you get going down a path that isn’t successful. There are many dead ends that you may have to retrack and do something else. I really wanted to put something out that would allow me to not just give people something to focus in on about my story but to help them to re-look at their own lives in very simple steps. I didn’t want it to be complicated; I wanted it to be short, bite-sized pieces,” Singh said.
The inspiration for the book came while she was deployed to Bosnia as part of the State Partnership Program. Local engagements with the country’s young people allowed her to talk about key issues and the response to those talks made a lightbulb go off that such a self-help type book would be a good fit for ages 19-32, she added.
While the guide describes how to organize achievements and dreams, it is also a useful tool for women to promote their accomplishments and achieve their goals, especially in male-dominated fields, and learn how to lean into their accomplishments when fending for themselves in competitive environments.
“You need to examine your beliefs and values, your action and behaviors, and your intentions to determine if they are in alignment with one another. If they are not then they may not be serving you well in your journey towards success,” Singh said.
In a year that put many people off track, “What’s In Your Box? Designing the Life You Want” can be seen as a tool to figure out realistic next steps for determining what comes next.
“One of the concepts I talk about in the book is how people tend to set hairy, bodacious goals, and when it takes so long to get to them, you get discouraged. So, I ask people to break them down into smaller, micro-goals so that you can accomplish things and see forward movement. … it’s about not getting stuck, even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, it’s a time for growth — a time to really reassess your goals and determine what your breakout moment is going to be? What do you want to be different?” Singh said.