Step One – Understanding Why.
When you understand the why of something, it’s easier to commit to following through… so here are six good reasons for deciding to fall in love with your work.
- work will go easier, work will be a lot more fun, even exhilarating – and you’ll be a lot more productive.
- you’ll find it much easier to work with employers, colleagues, suppliers and clients, and to get what you want, when you need it.
- you will be inspired at the right moments, motivated to be creative, resourceful in resolving conflicts.
- resources, the ways and means of achieving goals, will come to you more naturally.
- you’ll find yourself earning the money and respect you need – and more – easily.
- you’ll have more energy and enthusiasm for extra-curricular activities, home, family, sports, hobbies…
There’s something else you need to understand, in order to know why loving your work is so important. This isn’t just New Age, flower child sillosophy. Love is a specific type of energy. In fact, Love is one of the most vital, most powerful forces in our lives. Love drives us to acts of great heroism – and to random acts of kindness… Love counteracts fear and propels us into right action, when we let it.
As pure raw energy, love serves to balance all that it touches. It creates opportunity for growth by presenting the methods necessary to follow through on objectives. When love is present in a person, group, or work, it is always much easier to succeed.
Step Two – Knowing How
So, you’re happy with your work, maybe you even love it a little… how to you go about falling in love with it, really embracing your work with love, infusing love in all you do?
You show you have a heart for your work in a lot of little ways:
- Notice and focus on what works, emulate those you perceive to be successful, be objective in defining your strengths and weaknesses, build on your strengths and minimize your weaknesses.
- Express yourself…. expressing yourself in work takes a lot of forms – beginning with choosing work that is a natural expression of your talents and interests! Once on the job, follow your natural inclinations to learn more, be willing to ask questions, and to share your ideas…. GET INVOLVED IN YOUR WORK.
- Take risks. Expressing yourself also means taking risks – being willing to go out on a limb for what is right, or simply to make a good suggestion for improving your environment.
- Attend to the details… this means being observant, noticing who needs what, when and taking a little extra time to do the job right the first time. The little things count… You show how much heart you have for your work with the little things that you do – taking time to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, to double check sums and spelling, to refill the copy machine for the next person These are the ways that we love our work.
- Respect your tools. Be grateful and appreciative of the fact that you have good tools to work with. Take care of them… whether your tools include a hammer or the Tarot, a computer or a food processor, they make it easier for you to work efficiently. Keeping tools clean and properly stored is a wonderful way of loving your work.
- Commit and extend yourself – go the extra mile. Going above and beyond the call of duty, being willing to do a little extra expresses your commitment to doing a job well.
- Organize yourself – yes, loving your work means being organized; we show our love by taking care of business, establishing and then following through with the systems, methods and procedures that enable work to flow efficiently. Write and follow through on your “Do” lists, keep your appointment calendars up to date, be as prompt about submitting time sheets and expense reports as you are about showing up for meetings. Years ago, one of my very good bosses scared the daylights out of me by opening a conversation so: “Danielle, I am getting tired of moving you around. Every time I think I have you settled into a good position, you eliminate it or reduce the job to half the time. So we’re promoting you, you’ll report to Systems and Methods on Monday.” It was the best promotion ever… and it came because I took the time to organize myself and the job, and in doing so, invariably found more effective ways of doing the work – in less time. I love to work…
- Sensitize yourself – notice what’s going on around you and be responsive to it; be willing to “feel” on the job, to feel for your clients, colleagues, subordinates and employers – try to walk in their moccasins for a mile or two, to see life and your work from their perspective.
- Be accountable – a willingness to account for your time and actions is probably one of the most effective ways to express your love for work. Being accountable means that we’re prepared to be responsible, to avoid blaming others when things go wrong.
- Be creative, resourceful, open and flexible…. Know what your options are, and be willing to be different, to try new patterns and ideas. When you’re faced with a blockage, be willing to consider the alternatives – think about going around, under or over an obstacle, as opposed to pushing your way through it. Take time to consider the purpose of the obstacle, what it represents energetically and what lessons or experiences can be gained from addressing it. SEIZE THE DAY! Every cloud has a silver lining – seek the opportunities presented in your difficulties and you’ll move past them with ease.
- Listen to yourself as well as others – listening is the sense that is most closely associated with the heart. When you are listening, you are in receive mode and if you’re listening with your heart, you’ll also be picking up on a long list of non-verbal cues and energetic flows that will provide a whole lot more information – and insight – than the words by themselves can tell you.
- Trust – the more you are willing to trust yourself and others on the job, the easier it is to get the job done. When you trust in your colleagues, you can focus on your own responsibilities, and you won’t be wasting time looking over others’ shoulders.
- Appreciate, express gratitude…. this is especially important if your job is a means to an end… the truth is that not every job is loveable… however, when we see work as the way we can support our personal passions, as a way to enjoy other aspects of our lives, and we are grateful for the opportunities our work presents to us, we can learn to love our jobs… just for what they provide for us. Gratitude, giving thanks, is probably one of the most powerful ways that we express love, – the more we give thanks, the more love we are spreading around…
Loving your work leads you naturally into a whole lot of good values…
For example: Having heart for your work will naturally lead to your being accountable for yourself on the job… think of a working mother with a small child… child awakens in the middle of the night screaming… mother may have fallen into a dead sleep exhausted, but she has sensitized herself to that child, she is “listening” for it, even in a deep sleep, and so she naturally gets up to tend to it, no matter how she feels… she is accountable to that child. Having made the commitment as mother, she knows it is her responsibility to respond to it… Even in the middle of the night, groggy and not so creative, mother will be resourceful enough to know what this child needs, and then how to respond to it… this is what love is about…. Translate those same skills, that same heart to the workplace, and you have a real winner!
Here’s an example of what loving your work can mean… you have a choice between two restaurants, each with relatively appealing menus in the window… you see that each has about the same fare, but the prices on one are just a little higher, so you decide on the less expensive menu… as you open the door, you hear pots clattering in the kitchen, you see a greasy-looking chef standing in the doorway. He’s angry about something, slams the wall with his fist, and when he sees you walk in he slams the door behind him as he enters the kitchen. As you sit down – if you get that far – you notice the place is almost empty, that several tables haven’t been cleared and it looks like last week’s pie is sitting out attracting flies on the counter. Chances are, you don’t bother to open the menu – it would be outdated and also grease-stained. If you dared to eat, you’d go home with a belly-ache.
Looks like restaurant number two might be worth the extra money. As you enter the restaurant, the smell of fresh bread wafts through the door and you hear the cook singing at his work. You are met by a friendly host who shows you to a warm and comfortable booth. She offers you a drink as you settle into your seat and places a fresh jug of lemon water on the table for you. There’s lovely music playing in the background and the room is humming with quiet conversation. Before you know it, you’ve ordered some wine and an appetizer, loosened your belt, kicked off your shoes and settled in for an enjoyable interlude. When dinner arrives, the plate is attractive, and soon you discover that every bite has been perfectly, lovingly prepared.
Everything is so good, you have to try their desserts, and what the hey, you’re having such a pleasant time, so unexpectedly, that you have one of those wonderful specialty coffees. On your way out, you leave a fat tip and take a moment to thank the chef. By the time you get home, you notice that you’ve reenergized, so you decide to tackle that paperwork in your briefcase – and then, you sail through it and even have time – and energy – to watch the late show with your partner….
The cook in restaurant number two clearly loved his work – and he infused so much love into his business that he could charge a little extra for his services – and be thanked, appreciated, and valued in the process. Not only that, but this cook spread his love around… his love influenced his customer for many hours after – and may have contributed to his customer’s success on the job the next day…..
The best part of this story is that this customer will return, again and again. The energy of a loving work enriches all who participate in it – for a very long time!