Heart of a Leader

Leadership Matters

Love and Standing on the Skinny Branches

In our community a friend of mine publishes a twice-weekly newsletter of sorts that lets over 1,000 people know what’s happening and what’s for sale. This email delivered service is a must read for many. I have the habit of reading this newsletter as soon as it arrives. Sometimes there are great bargains that sell quickly that I don’t want to miss by not acting. I also love to see what everyone is doing.

Last night, I noticed that the newsletter arrived in my email inbox and immediately clicked on it. The first part lists upcoming activities. One of these activities was a promotion for an upcoming episode of a local radio program called, “The Heart of Wellness.” I know the program’s hosts and wondered who was on this week. As I read, it began to dawn on me that I was the guest this week. I laughed out loud as I realized that I had the experience of seeing what I was doing without remembering.

What was more surprising was the topic, “Love in Business.” My insides began to cramp up and I felt a bit queasy. It’s one thing to write a bit about this in my conversation here. It’s a whole other thing to talk about it on the radio with other people. It wasn’t panic so much as disorientation.  I felt that an important moment of my life was approaching.

When I first wrote about this topic, I asked, “What would your business world be like if love was out in the open, and guided your decisions and actions?”  Good question, and perhaps not the best starting point. To answer this question means we have to talk first about the question, “what is love?”

There is a library of books that talk about love from many perspectives – religious, philosophical, emotional and physical. We are offered many interpretations of the kinds of love that people experience. It all seems complicated and not quite right. The love I’m talking about is unconditional love – love that is offered freely with no strings attached.

Unconditional love is not something we have much experience with. Our relationships are for the most part conditional. Most of my friends love and accept me, as long as I conform to their perspective of what a friend is. If I stray far from that..well, the conditioning sets in. The same is true with life-partnerships. When things are going well or we want the world to think they are going well, we will say that things are good. Have the apple cart upset by some unexpected betrayal or other breach of trust and that old conditionality comes roaring to life.

Unconditional love can’t be experienced through my thoughts or emotions. Unconditional love requires me to be 100% present. That means that all of my attention is on the NOW, not the future or past. We spend so little time in this space, we can begin to see why unconditional love is elusive.

Since we are not often feeling unconditional love what can we do? We can, first of all, not pretend that conditional love is something it isn’t. We can practice acceptance of whatever we face without judgment. In a business context, this is a very powerful way to act. We all know that when we are judgmental of others or not liking what we are facing, our perceptions are clouded and the decisions we make are not our best.

This is the starting place to understand why love in the workplace is essential. Starting today, I will begin to write more about love and work. I invite you to share your feedback and experiences.

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