All You Need is Love — Even in Business
I’m feeling like I want to reflect on love. It’s February, and it’s also my birth month — the perfect time to share my thoughts on the power of love in my life. So, I’m writing this letter to you to consider, or re-consider, leading with your heart. It’s scary — but in the end, the results can be limitless not just for you, but for everyone who surrounds you.
While love is foundational in so many aspects of our lives, we are often afraid or ashamed to talk openly about it, especially in a public or work-related context. But The Beatles got it right, that truly, “all you need is love.” This goes for work, business, leadership, learning, and of course, relationships.
Love is an extraordinary force of life. It motivates us to take risks, to forge life-changing relationships, and to be the best we can. We all know that when you love your work, you can accomplish extraordinary things. The same is true when you work with a team or a boss you appreciate. Love gives you courage, energy and confidence. Think of how kids blossom, and accomplish wonderful and unexpected things, when they know they’re loved. Self-esteem is born under the loving eyes of parents who encourage their kids.
What Carried Me Through? Love.
At one point in my career I was offered the opportunity to lead an important project for my former company. It was intense, and success required us to break many internal paradigms along the way. The project also had very high visibility in the organization, and financial risk associated with it. Further, the changes it required created fear and anxiety — both organizationally and also for the company’s leaders — which made it especially important to navigate internal politics that threatened approvals. Due to the risk we were taking, a stream of adrenaline coursed through me for more than a year, keeping me personally attached to its outcome.
The project was a success. When the results of our work saw the light of day, I remember bursting with feelings that soothed all the bruises and healed the scars I had acquired along the way. I never felt as strong and powerful as I did at that moment, nor as ready for even bigger challenges. The market share of the brand began growing after a 10-year decline, showing consumer’s appreciation for the work done. Employees were proud again to work on this brand and promote it. In sum, we loved the brand and it gave back to us.
Although I doubt I would have dared to say it at the time, in retrospect I can see that what carried me through was love, in all its many facets. There was love for my team — an extraordinary group of women — and the exhilaration we experienced as we worked together to grapple with the challenge in our hands. There was love for the brand I was working on, which was iconic and required nurturing to bend, but not break. There was love for the human connections created along the way, with literally hundreds of individuals who supported the project in one way or another, and helped make it successful. And of course, in the end there was love for a job well done.
Love carried me so far beyond what I previously thought could be accomplished, that I felt I could conquer even the highest mountain in the world.
The Power of Love
Today, in a different place and time, I always make sure that I’m surrounded by love. I cultivate love for my work, clients, studies, teachers, peers, business partners, as well as for my friends, family and husband. I make sure that all the people who make my life special know that I love them, and that their love is essential to me. I am always looking for opportunities to foster situations where I can give, and receive love.
In the end, it’s very simple. Love gives, and can reshape power. It creates a power within, a power to, a power for, and a power with, instead of taking power away, or hoarding power from. Within us love can be a wellspring of power — propelling us to achieve and then share, empowering those around us to also find their own platform they feel passionate about.
The thing that scares people most however, is that love requires vulnerability. Being vulnerable is not a weakness, it’s a strength. Being your true self and truly loving who you are, what you do, and those around you, means being vulnerable to judgement and rejection. It means people may not be ready to accept your love, or to validate it. Imagine the strength and self-confidence showing this vulnerability takes.
As Brené Brown has taught, the ability to show vulnerability is at the foundation of power.
I’ve decided that I’m a powerful woman, and I’ve embraced love as a key ingredient for my success. I truly believe that all you need is love — and the rest follows.
The day we accept that leadership is powerful when grounded in love, there might be less need for leadership courses, and more regard for the importance of love in the workplace.
So, what if you were to consider adding more love in your life, and at work in particular? What if you were to have discussions with your team about where love at work would take them? What if you were to leverage the extraordinary energy that love provides and make it a marker of your leadership style? What would that look like?
Let me know how love matters for you! I’m curious to explore this dimension with you, soon, so contact me.
With all my heart,
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