I’ve been going around saying “Love is just damn good business” for a long time, because I thoroughly believe that if you operationalize love on a daily basis in your work life, you will be rewarded tenfold for your service to others and concern for their needs.
All you have to do is give people something that you’ve put your heart into. I put my heart into my work, and I guarantee it has been a very long time since I’ve felt bored or unappreciated.
You may agree with me 100 percent and still wonder: How do you “operationalize love” without looking like some kind of poetry-reciting, touchy-feely snowflake of a person?
That’s a valid concern. In my experience, most people already believe me when I say that love is “damn good business.” But they don’t think other people believe it, so they’re afraid to talk about love out loud in front of the world.
They’re wrong. In all of our hearts (see what I did there?), we understand that doing what you love, and sharing that with people who love what you are doing, is the way to succeed. By the way, it’s also the gateway to enjoying, appreciating, and profiting from your work.
Think about it: If you’re like most people, you want your efforts to mean something. You want to make the world a better place. You want people to like you, enjoy being around you, and appreciate your efforts.
Why should we have to give up all of those ideals in order to succeed in business? The answer is, not only do we not have to, but we can have all of that and succeed beyond our wildest dreams.
Become an example for the rest of your staff
You have to be brave and assert your leadership in service of operationalizing love. That means speaking up to those you are working with right now. Talk—yes, out loud; yes, right in front of your bosses, your board of directors, and your team.
If you feel like you ought to prepare a few PowerPoint slides before you talk about love in public, go ahead and do that; I’m all in favor of being prepared. But the operative idea is to start your company thinking a whole lot less about how you appear to other people and a whole lot more about how you serve other people.
In other words, love is not about you. It’s about them. So say that out loud. And then lead by example in the workplace. Prioritize and operationalize mutual respect, appreciation, listening, and—yes—love, with both colleagues and clients. The warmth and support are what will set you apart from other businesses that are simply getting through the day.
This doesn’t mean you start crying at the office every day just to show how much you’re in touch with your feelings. Let’s hope you have found some better coping strategies before your frustration reaches that point! But it does mean that your integrity and trust levels are so well established that other people feel comfortable crying in front of you.
Because making people feel heard and understood, letting them feel safe with you, in short making love part of your central operating strategy, is a way to serve others and make yourself indispensable. Once you’ve built that foundation of trust and mutual appreciation, nothing can stop you or your business.
Work is called “work” and not “play” for a reason: it can be hard, it’s not always pleasant, and it doesn’t always immediately equate to joy and love. But to the extent you can, always look for the human connection in everything you do. If you do, even your worst day will have some nugget of love in it.