Falling in love…
You noticed each other. You exchanged affirming smiles and glancing eye contact as you passed each other. Your heart flutters a bit, you want to turn around and look back but you don’t. And then you do. Will your smiles meet again? … Oh crap… Am I really in junior high school again? Yes and no. His shirt, her baseball hat, has that beautiful logo of the company you’d love to work for! Your smiles meet.
Attraction is one thing, love is another. Attraction gets our attention. Love’s attraction, now that takes us to where we belong. And that’s something you have to look for.
And love, while it takes time, slowly, and then all of a sudden, in a flash we marvel and say, “I love you.” “I love my job.” “I love my team.” “I love my leaders.” “I love our customers.” “I love my company.” Slowly, and then all of a sudden, that’s when all of the little things in a moment of realization add up. You sense it’s coming. It’s not a single event. It’s from the day and in day out moments when we’re cared for and we care for them, that take us to being grateful, deeply thankful. They are your tribe, and you are theirs. It started with a deep spark.
Sounds pretty amazing huh? Well, here are a few things you can do to get to that place. And surprisingly, if you do these things, you might even just fall in love with the place where you currently work.
Start with loving yourself
Yeah, you gotta start here. It’s going to be impossible for you to recognize somebody’s love of things about you when you won’t recognize the lovable things about yourself. The fact is, sometimes we just need to hear that from others. And this is especially so under the weight and difficulties we feel from COVID isolation.
Sometimes this happens because we’re too focused on an attribute that we really don’t like about ourselves. You know, like a weakness. We get caught in shame’s emotion and then feel unworthy. It may take time to get out of the cycle but start with a daily affirmation list of your goodness and strengths. Keep the list short, to just three. For those days where you struggle to find even one that you feel good about, choose just one. Do it. You’re carving a path in your heart and mind where you can rest in the comfort that, yes you’re enough.
Sometimes, we’re simply measuring ourselves against unattainable perfection (newsflash, all perfection is unattainable), and more often than not here, we’re measuring ourselves against somebody else’s version of it. Ugh! Your imperfection doesn’t erase the things that make you lovable. Your lovable things still exist. Sometimes I tell myself this, yes, because I have to, “what was I thinking, I’m gonna suck at being them. Ha! And they’re really gonna suck at being me!” I guess I’ll just be outrageously me! Try saying that yourself.
You are enough. And it’s so ironic, the fear of not being enough prevents us from simply being enough.
Here’s a trick to resting into your being enough. Only allow yourself to judge yourself from another’s viewpoint if, and only if, that person has personally contributed to your growth in your being a better person in your character and in skills. And only if that person is not using you. When you hear that voice in your head, in whatever words, letting you know that you’re not enough, say, “Hey I don’t recall you supporting me, caring for me, picking me up when I was crappy, … You can go now, you didn’t meet my enough standards.” (Yes, I know it’s actually our own inner-itty-bitty-shitty-committees.) By doing this, you’re giving yourself a healthy boundary, and a way to extend yourself, emotionally in healthy vulnerability.
Loving yourself opens the door for belonging’s two-way street.
Gotta go to and love your strengths vs fighting your weaknesses
It’s easy to get caught up externally measuring yourself against your weaknesses. That stop doing that. Nobody gets better in their strengths by approaching it from their weaknesses. What you focus on is what you get. If you focus on weakness, you’ll get, a slightly better weakness. If you focus on your values, strengths, and character attributes, you make them happen. Go figure. Our work world is really messed up when it keeps trying to fix your weaknesses. It feels like what we should do, but it’s backwards and doesn’t help at all.
We all have more than one strength, and in a stressful moment, we tend to forget about the others.
If you’re having trouble finding lovable or admirable things about yourself, I guess it’s time to take stock in yourself. I like to use the VIA Character Strengths survey (20 minutes, no -cost, confidential survey). I’ll use it as needed, in a happy and successful moment or in a frustrating failed one, just to identify what strength and anchoring with. We all have more than one strength, and in a stressful moment, we tend to forget about the others. It’s good to have multiple ones identified so that you can shift to your other key strengths, especially if you’re in a situation where you’re stuck. Use the tool reflectively instead of to predict or prescribe for yourself. You will open more doors instead of creating a hallway that you have to play in. And guess what, it’s impartial in the results it gives you. You can’t discredit yourself by saying, “they’re just being nice.” I find it to be a nice way for people to dive into their strengths without getting caught in the humble denial mode. Nope, in some things, you’re just a badass embrace it.
Then follow that with loving your coworkers
You know that thing you had to do for yourself, choose to love yourself. Do the same thing with your people. Fear and urgency will nudge you into looking at the weaknesses and deficiencies. You have to fight this. And you have to practice going to their good sides, in gratitude, affirmation, and appreciation for what you love about them, especially from your stressed place. And yes, to make sure that they can do the stuff that needs to be done to keep your tribe going forward. This is not about being a Pollyanna.
Expand your perceptions of them beyond their job descriptions. Take the time to discover their strengths. Two things will happen, one, you’ll stop judging them as not enough in relation to the job description, and two, you’ll find that they have strengths that can take your company tribe to new heights, that would never come to light from a negative and judging perspective. Okay, there’s a 3rd, you and your people will start doing for each other, and in that doing better for each other. Your customers will love that. As a company, you’ll create a mutually supportive and challenging environment where your Team OS (oxytocin and serotonin) levels naturally sustain increased love and growth.
Then lovingly embrace your dreams, Small to big
Get back into embracing your aspirations, that big dream. The one you either indefinitely delayed or might have even given up on. I get it, your dream that sits out of reach is a big scary thing. And we don’t want to go towards big scary things. So, use the practice of reframing to keep your dreams in play from small to big. In just about anything you do, you will be able to understand it in perspective of, “how is this moving me towards my dream? Sometimes, you can even take initiative to craft things in your current job to actively move you towards the next thing you want to do. Think of them in terms of making sub dreams to get to your big dream. On the supercool side of things, achieving the sub dreams put you in the place of accomplishment. Progress just feels damn good. And from here you can get to saying, “yes I love working here,” as you contribute to the company purpose, which feels good, and move forward on your own magical dream, yet to be.
Oh, do this too. Make your dreams public. Yep, this is a scary vulnerable place to go. If you do, then your coworkers can support you in your dreams. If you don’t, well they’ll never have the chance. And this goes both ways. You can help them too. If you share your dreams they’ll share theirs. You know what happens when people help each other with their dreams. They make really cool shit happen!
I’m pretty confident that if you do these four things, you’ll start loving your work because what you’re doing is part of your dream and you’ll love who you’re doing it with.
And one last thing. If you can’t do these things at your work, seriously go find someplace, or create someplace where you belong. Life’s too short.
Catch ya, Paul