originally featured in Darling Magazine
Business is too often about fear: fear of the bottom-line, fear of competition, fear of being enough. But, as Maya Angelou said: “Have enough courage to love.” As we see it, love trumps fear. It’s time for us to bring love out of the corporate closet.
Love is no longer an idealistic, soft, useless concept in the business world. Science and experience tells us that love is, by nature, among our strongest capabilities as human beings. It therefore belongs among our most powerful leadership tools. As leaders, every moment presents us with a choice: to lead from fear or to lead from love. The betterment of our world and our welfare hinges on how we lead from love.
Love is what unites people. According to Barbara Fredrickson, love grows in micro-moments of connection in which two people’s minds and emotions become momentarily attuned. We are hard-wired with this capacity to connect—with strangers, with our spouses, with our children, with our employees—though we often choose to shut it down. When we don’t shut it down, love is the connection that builds families, communities and organizations. When love is present, we lead confidently and courageously because we are fueled by a purpose bigger than our ego. It’s the force that drives ideas forward into action, creating new possibilities and innovation.
So, what is the relationship between love and business? When we choose love, we stay connected and maintain clarity when stakes are high. Our productivity rises because we are naturally engaged in our lives and in our work. We are able to accelerate and deepen our growth and the growth of others because we’re not holding ourselves, or others, at arm’s length. When we choose love over fear we have the opportunity to bring our whole selves to the table and achieve next level results — and those results are undeniable.
Here are five steps to leading from a foundation of love:
Why are you so good at what you do? Every human being has unique value. Notice what lights you up, what makes you come alive. Get real. Channel your genius. It’s a gift and a service to bring your personal power to the world.
Know Other People
Believe in others with your whole heart. They are human beings, too. See them. Hear them. Really listen to them. Seek to find common ground no matter what. Love builds trust.
Wholeness Is Your Foundation
Get serious about the health of your mind, body and spirit. Find what works for you and commit to it. Wholeness and healthiness will be your fuel. Without them you’ll have no foundation to lead from.
Find Your Courage
Break away from the pack. Follow your instinct. Have enough courage to love even when there are no guarantees that love will be returned. Allow yourself to be seen. Courage requires heart-pounding vulnerability. Be 100% yourself — this naturally creates an environment for others to do the same.
Make Your Contribution
Take a stand for what you believe in. Start with small action. Small actions create movements. Make an impact. Channel your uniqueness into a positive contribution for your community and witness a shift in the world.
Together, we can create a world where courageous leadership thrives, where incredible work environments take root and grow, and where organizations rise because we are committed to improving lives and changing the world from the foundation of love, one soul at a time.
The time is now. The world is ready for us. Let’s choose love.
How are you leading from love in business and in life? What are your suggestions for doing so?