How to Love the Work You’re With
It’s Valentine’s Day here in the U.S.–a day for chocolate, flowers, greeting cards, and above all else, love. Funny how we don’t have any problem bringing the chocolate into our workplaces–but the love? Doesn’t seem to be a lot of room for that.
In fact, I consistently find that in many workplaces, “love” has become a four-letter word. “Nothing to love here,” said my overworked colleague with thumbs-a-flying on his Blackberry. ” “All I love is getting out of here at 6,” said another friend.
That makes me sad. Then it makes me mad. How did we manage to practically eliminate one of the most positive, forward-moving emotions from our workplaces? How did we get to be afraid of love? Emotion, after all, is what causes motion. Love brings positive, productive motion; fear just keeps moving us backwards.
So, as my valentine to you, I offer three ways you can love the work you’re with–right now, with no major repairs, changes, or dramatic adjustments. Try them on and share your own–I would love it!
1. Find a Friend
If you’re lucky, you already have several friends at work–people you trust, who encourage you, who think you’re just great, who lift you up and never drag you down. Thank goodness for these folks! To love your work more, love them more by making time each day to connect with at least one, whether it’s a hallway hello or a quick smile via instant message. Our experience at work is greatly influenced by our experience with others, and so adding more love to your day-to-day experiences will rub off on your experience with your work.
2. Remember Your Why
Maybe your company makes a difference for millions of people. Maybe your job surrounds you with amazing, talented people. Or maybe it provides a paycheck so that you can take good care of yourself and your family. Clarifying, knowing, remembering and loving why you’re at work is essential to keeping yourself engaged, connected, moving forward and having fun! When we forget the “why”–or stop believing it matters–any love we ever felt for our work quickly evaporates.
3. Make Yourself Uncomfortable.
Sure, being uncomfortable sounds like the opposite of loving your work. But as human beings, we long to grow and contribute to anything we’re doing, and the only way we can grow is to make ourselves uncomfortable from time-to-time.
As a garden lover, I often think about the path the seeds I plant take before they can bloom into amazing flowers. First, they’re buried in the cold, dark ground. On their own, they crack open their shells, push through the hard dirt, and s-t-r-e-t-c-h higher toward the sun and the light. They also fighting off the squirrels and survive on minimal water when I forget to drag the hose over. And yet, they bloom into something gorgeous.
That path can’t be a comfortable one. So even if it feels like you’re planted in the dirt for now, know that you don’t have to be standing still, rotting. You can love the work you’re with, knowing that your discomfort shows you’re growing–and pushes you to reach for the sunshine.
There you have it. These are my three ways to love the work you’re with. They don’t require you to change everything–just to try something new, something fresh, to spread a little love in a place that needs it most–your life at work.
To close this Valentine’s post, I’ve written you a little poem, straight from my heart–
Roses are red; our capes are red, too;
Isn’t it time to love what you do?
Happy Valentine’s Day, all!