Today is Valentine’s Day, when we think a lot about love. Most of the focus is on romantic love, hearts and flowers, and all that.
Let’s take a moment to recognize another aspect of love: the love we express when we work.
Gifts from the Heart
No matter what form your work takes, when you show up and contribute energy, smarts, and time, you are sharing your uniqueness.
You may think of your value in terms of the tasks you perform. Yes, that contribution is important.
How you do those tasks and interact with people is at least as important. You have a direct effect on the well-being of those around you. Perhaps you wouldn’t say you love every one of those people. Just the same, they feel your presence — and your love.
Even better, what is good for you, i.e., whatever nurtures your soul, gives you joy, makes your day, is also good for the people around you.
Doing Work You Love
A real luxury in life is getting to do work that you love. Those moments of being fully absorbed, creating results, helping people, learning, succeeding, and being recognized, are sources of motivation.
If this is a frequent experience for you, congratulations.
If you don’t have much of that, guess what? It is up to you to get creative in your career. Whether by enhancing what you are doing now, or following your heart to make a change, or finding a way to do what you love outside of work, you have to express your gift.
An Underrated Resource
For some bizarre reason, work cultures often undermine or discount the gifts of the heart.
HR manager and author Tony DeBlauwe has identified a condition he calls EAD, or Employee Adaptive Displacement, which names the hidden demoralization of many people at work. You can read his recent blog post and download the full paper for more of Tony’s insight.
These workers’ hearts are not engaged. Not only are they unhappy, they are not performing at their potential.
Engaging the heart has many benefits. The Institute of Heartmath offers statistics proving that the heart has many times more electrical current than the brain.
They and others also show that appreciation and gratitude reduce stress and increase health at work. There are lots of reasons for your left brain to buy into the love thing. Today, use the excuse that it is Valentine’s Day!
A Round of Appreciation
Why not add a few ounces of appreciation for yourself and others today?
Start by recognizing the commitment it takes for you to do your work, to offer your skills, and to help the team.
Give yourself some appreciation for that!
Look around, either in person or in your mind, at the people in your work life. Is it not some form of love that they express each day?
It may seem strange to think of our presence and our contributions as love. Try putting on that filter and experience the giving and receiving of love that constitutes work. Open your heart to the possibilities.
Share the love this Valentine’s Day. Namaste.
Lagging behind Canada by more than a month, we in the US will be celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow. For most, it’s a big family, food, and football day.
It’s also a time to appreciate the good in our lives. It turns out that we are making ourselves happier and more effective when we are grateful.
The Rutgers University newsletter tells us that “Expressing or feeling genuine appreciation can have a powerful influence on emotional outlook, psychological well-being, interpersonal bonds and even problem-solving, according to Rutgers psychologist Nancy Fagley, who conducts research on appreciativeness.”
An important point in the article is that appreciation can be learned. We need to exercise those muscles of appreciation to counteract the tendency to take things and people for granted.
Whether with family and friends or by yourself, you can renew your feelings of gratitude in many ways.
Here are some ideas:
1. The gratitude list. Start a list of what you appreciate. Keep it at hand for reading and for adding more.
2. Think of a few things you are grateful for before going to sleep at night. This seems to increase a sense of satisfaction with life.
3. Start a round of appreciation at the Thanksgiving table. Everyone says something for which they are thankful this year.
4. Write a thank-you note. When was the last time you did that without being obligated to?
5. When someone thanks you, rather than quickly dismissing it with an “It was nothing,” take it in, savor it, and mean it when you say, “You are welcome.”
Writing this reminds me of how much I appreciate my family and friends, the place that I live, the work I get to do, and you, for taking the time to read the Messenger.
I wish you time for gratitude and renewal throughout the holiday season.