What’s love got to do with work?

The venerable Tina Turner used to belt out those powerful lyrics, What’s love got to do with it?

You’ve probably heard the adage Do what you love and the money will follow…Or that famous one, If you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. I know both of these to be absolutely true so indeed it turns out that love has a lot to do with WORK!

What does loving what we do look like?

Think about what love means to you. When I love something or someone I give my full attention. I’m all in. I listen, I look deeply to understand what’s happening. I want to know more. I do what I say I’m going to do and I do it with a willingness and a feeling of generosity and care. I want to know how to be able to love even better and be great at doing whatever I need to do so that my love is evident. Even when there are times that I don’t feel like doing something, or being there, I still show up and give, or take care of what needs to be done. I know that the tough days are temporary and that there’s something here for me to learn. I notice that more and more shows up to be revealed and I find new ways of being with what’s happening. Sometimes I do feel bored and even in a rut. And then I look for new ways to engage again… I try new approaches to make things interesting and satisfying and I ask important questions to understand if I’m missing something.

When we love something or someone anything is possible. 

Sometimes a job starts out by giving us, offering us, what we want and we enjoy the work, the effort, the reward. And then, at some point, things or people change. Co-workers, a boss, the marketplace, the demands change. Frustrations and fatigue set in. I had a boss who was unpredictable, self- centered and unaware of the impact she had on the office environment and even though I loved the work I was doing she was making things so stressful. It was crazy making.

How do you work with demanding, insensitive people or management decisions that don’t exactly nurture that feeling of LOVE?

Most of us talk with our friends and loved ones about what’s happening. You may internally fight what’s happening. You resist. You may go through the motions of dealing with the change or the bad behavior, but still refuse to bend to it, in your own way. You might obsess over the wrongness. But really, what does this do for you? It’s exhausting. We lose our love.

What’s the Antidote to Frustration at work?

There’s a powerful saying that rings true to me: getting angry at someone is like drinking poison and hoping the other person will die. Not very effective for us is it? For years I’ve been practicing particularly helpful techniques and ways of thinking to help lift me out of that grinding resistance mode to calm down, reconnect with my better self and my sense of love, to get clear, not even.

Here are a four questions to use when you’re not feeling the love and need a new perspective to make effective choices and smart moves:

1) What can I give to myself right now to help me feel more ease in this situation? Just some ideas: Some kind words acknowledging your good effort, some encouraging words about a project you know was well done, a nap after a big accomplishment, a walk outside?

2) What’s happening here that is affecting the others around me that I may not be aware of? If I could be generous to others what would ease their difficulty?

3) If I were to have a real conversation with the person I’m struggling with, in a neutral way and attentive way to understand more, what solutions could I present that would result in a win-win?

4) Why was I in love with this work, person, situation to begin with? What’s here that I love now that feeds me? What’s working right now? What am I grateful for here?

It may seem counter-intuitive, but softening up inside helps me to come back to a place of knowing I can work with whatever the situation is. Taking time to nurture kindness may show us what we can connect with, resurrect, or conversely, we may realize the love really is gone, the career path, the boss, the lifestyle isn’t working for us as we’d hoped it would. Seeing clearly, while sometimes painful, helps us to see the life, and love, affirming actions that ultimately make work, life, and connections more satisfying.

Your love for you, and your work, impacts everything. Live with that perspective for a week and see how your world looks and feels. I’d love to hear about what you discover.

With love,