Love yourself. Love others. Just love…

Ok – it’s the day AFTER Valentine’s Day.  There is so much hype building up to Valentine’s Day!  On TV, the radio, the internet, social media, in every store – buy “this”, buy “that”, take your loved one “here”, say “this”, do “this” to create a special “Valentine’s Day” and make your loved one feel special and loved!  So, does that mean we only love on one day a year?  That this one day makes everything OK for the rest of the year?  Valentine’s Day is about love. I think Valentine’s Day should be every day, and it starts with loving yourself.

Love Yourself:  Think & Speak like you love yourself, Act like you love yourself

It all starts here. The day we were born, we were a pure being of love, giving love and receiving love. Life was truly that simple.  Then, life marches along. We find out life is not just about love. There are things to do, people to see, places to go, expectations to live up to, and disappointments to deal with. Along the way, we start to drive through our life story, and, somewhere on that road, we decide we are not enough. Our love for ourselves starts to diminish. The negative hamster wheel begins. 

“I am not (fill in the blank: smart enough, pretty enough, tall enough, thin enough, rich enough, productive enough, lovable enough, the list goes on and on)“. Each of us has a hamster wheel that can keep us trapped inside our heads, bodies, hearts, emotions and spirits.  And when we start running on that hamster wheel, we stop loving ourselves. Guess what? YOU ARE ENOUGH!   Just the way you are right now. 

You are exactly where you are supposed to be in this moment, and it is perfect. Of course, there are difficulties that show up along our journey; however, we are still that same being of love the day we were born. It is through continuing to drive and survive  those challenging times, traumatic moments, and painful experiences that we become who we are today. It is up to us to love ourselves first!  If we stop loving ourselves, how can we attract love or care for and love or lead anyone else?  Please know YOU ARE ENOUGH, YOU ARE WORTHY, YOU ARE PERFECT! 

Challenge:  TODAY write down 5 things you love about yourself. Don’t let the hamster wheel (negative self-talk) kick in and try to tell you differently.  Write them down and say them out loud – embrace those things you love about yourself. Continue reading them and saying them out loud until the hamster wheels of negative self-talk soften and disappear.

Watch this YouTube with Marissa Peer (23 min): The Critical Importance of Self-Esteem.

Love Others – Leaders:  Respect Others, Develop Others, Hold Others Accountable to Being their Very Best

If we truly love ourselves, then we have the ability to love and lead others. One thing I know for sure is that “hurt people, hurt people.” What does that mean? If we have been hurt and we are holding onto that hurt, it will manifest itself outside of ourselves and onto others in our life. If we can’t forgive and move forward, we will hold on to a hurt from the past and hurt others in turn. Learn to forgive, and you can love others

This does not mean we allow others to walk all over us or hurt: our team members, our customers our company’s reputation.  It means we show we care in simple, consistent, meaningful and sincere ways. Not just once a year at an employee holiday party. Leaders demonstrate love for their people every day in small ways. Not just asks, “how are you doing?”, but asks and then truly listens while being present and engaging with a response and with that human being.

We connect.  We see our staff members as human beings and “honor them as people, we see them as another person, with needs, hopes and worries as real and legitimate as our own.”  Leadership & Self Deception, by the Arbinger Institute. We treat them with respect, empathy and love. It means we hold them accountable, we give them the tools and training they need to succeed, and we coach them so they can become the best person they can be.  

Even when they make a mistake, we dig in, discover why the mistake happened, and address that with training and support. And sometimes we discover that our values are not in alignment and we invite them to go somewhere else where they can feel more connected and fulfilled in a job/role/position that is better for them personally and professionally. Not every person is the right person for our organization, our team and the culture. 

Sometimes, we find we don’t connect with certain people because they are very different from ourselves. That doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable strengths they can bring to the organization. It is the leader’s job to discover those strengths in each of their staff members and allow them to function in those strengths while also helping them identify their gaps/weaknesses and help them close those gaps with training, coaching and support.

If we truly love and care for the people we lead, people will follow us, work harder than you could ever imagine and love their work!

Watch this You Tube about Love and Leadership with Simon Sinek – outstanding!  (11 min.)

Just Love…

Love…if we were to ask 20 different people “what is your definition of love?”  we would get 20 different answers.  So, I went to Wikipedia, and this is what I found.  Below is an excerpt, so if you want the whole enchilada, here is the link! 

Love encompasses a variety of strong and positive emotional and mental states, ranging from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, and to the simplest pleasure. Love can also be a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection, as the “unselfish, loyal, and benevolent concern for the good of another.”

Wikipedia

Love spelled backwards –evol – starts to spell another word: add a v-e and we have the word evolve.  The goal as a human being and a leader is to evolve to a place where we love and care for others unconditionally. Accept people for who they are, their strengths, their shortcomings, their individual life journey. Each of us has a journey, where we struggle with loving ourselves, loving others and just simply living a life of love. I know this sounds idealistic, but imagine a world where love was the priority… “the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.” 

Leadership Challenge: Don’t just think about love or demonstrate love on Valentine’s Day, make it a daily habit and see what happens to yourself, others around you and those you lead. As a leader, you are the roots of the tree that holds the hearts of many human beings who simply want to be seen for who they are and the gifts they bring.  Love your people with consistency, appreciation and gratitude.

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