Today is Valentine’s Day, so I can’t conceive of a better time to talk about one of my favorite subjects: love.
Mind you, I’m not talking about the kind of love between life partners, although I should take this opportunity to profess an undying devotion and deep emotional connection to my wonderful wife, Terri. She has supported me through thick and thin, and never wavered in her commitment to me and our relationship. When you launch your own business, you’d better have at least one person who offers you unconditional love and always has your back. For me, that person is Terri.
Love is a palette of many colors, from the fiery reds of romance to the cool blues of harmony to the enviable greens of nature. We humans love many things in many different ways. Take work, for example.
That’s right, work. Some of you might consider work the very opposite of love, but hear me out.
Many of us lead our lives through our minds, rationally calculating the things that make sense for us to do at any given moment. But we are more than the sum of our thoughts. There are unconscious motivations driving our behaviors all the time, and those inevitably bubble up to the surface. Fear, guilt, shame, envy, disgust, and hatred are some of the negative repercussions of this tendency. Compassion, tenderness, forgiveness, wonder, desire, and love are a few of the many positives that can emerge.
Although these responses happen without thinking, we have the power to choose the ones we want to have and to hold. Love, the act of selfless and unconditional devotion is, I would argue, the very best of these feelings and the one that we should all choose wherever and whenever possible. That means love for another, love for one’s self, and love for the activities in which we spend our time. Naturally, for many of us, that means we can… and should… choose to love our work, the endeavor for which many of us have given much mental as well as emotional investment.
I realize that this is not easy for many of us. You may not always (or even often) like your work, or your organization, or your co-workers, or your boss. That’s OK; those feelings are real and you can’t wish them away. But you don’t have to hold on to them. Instead, you can think about the positive aspects that your work provides in your life. Perhaps that’s a sense of satisfaction. Maybe it’s recognizing and honoring your particular skills and the contributions they make to the organization or society at large. Or it could simply be the financial wherewithal that your job provides to support yourself, your family, and/or causes in which you believe. Somewhere, somehow, in some way, there’s something about your work that can fill you with pride and yes, love. You just need to find it.
I humbly recommend that you take a few moments this Valentine’s Day to recognize and honor the amazing power you have to discover the love in all you do. Life, even your work life, shifts in a wonderful way once you do.