Valentine's Day reminds us of the message of love. However, we generally don't think of love as it applies to business. Yet there is so much to gain when we bring “love” into the workplace. Much like a long-term relationship, we can find that the love is gone one day, when we don't take the steps to ensure it is active.
So how do we ensure we have love in the workplace, and don't lose it?
1. Find your bliss.
In order to give love we have to be sure we're filled with love ourselves. As Steve Jobs said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.” Or as Albert Schweitzer said: “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”
Loving your job is not only a benefit to you, but it has an enormous “spill over effect” to your customers, co-workers and family. Think about that person who only goes through the motions in their job, or worse yet, is watching the clock, waiting for 5 p.m. so they can leave. Remember: Communication is 10 percent words and 90 percent emotional energy. If you don't love what you are doing, you aren't fooling anyone.
2. Create a vision statement.
A vision statement keeps us from getting “stuck-in-the-muck” of the daily grind by providing an inspirational focus that transmits our sincere intention to bring something positive to our customer. Here are just a couple of vision statements from companies, including my own:
BIZremedies - “To empower and advance the entrepreneurial spirit”
Toy R Us - “To put joy in kids' hearts and a smile on parents' faces.”
If you don't have your own company, be sure to make a vision statement of your own.
3. Focus on continual gratitude.
Gratitude is a key strategy for the attitude of love, and benefits not only us but others as well. If we are focused on what we like and appreciate, we will be apt to feel that loving feeling. While strategic planning, teamwork, process improvement, coaching, and problem-solving are necessary in business development, so is the need for continual gratitude. Being grateful often in small but specific ways, increases the dopamine in our brains and makes us have that light and “in love” feeling. Think about the last time you sincerely appreciated something someone did for you…didn't it feel great? How about when someone expressed gratitude to you? It can be as simple as a hand written note, or taking the time to go over to someone's desk and say “thank you.”
4. Listen often.
As Stephen Covey said, “The greatest need of the human heart is to be heard.” When we listen and truly hear another person we are offering a gift of love, because we are in essence saying, “You count and you matter.” Think about the child who wants to go into great detail to tell you about the project they are working on at school. Choosing to be present and listening makes another feel connected and loved. At work, sometimes it can seem like someone is going on and on in a meeting and we are thinking, “Get to the point! Time is money, and I don't have time to waste.” I cannot tell you how many times I heard employees tell me they felt unimportant and not valued from the boss or co-worker who was hurried, and therefore did not listen well.
5. Go the extra mile.
Complacency is another way we squeeze the love out of our work. I always tell my clients, “give more than you promised, and go the extra mile.” When we go beyond promised expectations and deliver more, whether that's to a customer, employee, boss or co-worker, we are showing our love. For the employee, this could mean giving them flex time because they have family needs. For a customer, it could mean stopping in after a first time delivery to ensure all went well. You owe it to yourself to go the extra mile, as it not only makes others feel like you care, but it will keep things exciting and fun for you too!
Challenge: What do you need to do to bring back that loving feeling to work?