It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, in stores and in the airwaves which made me muse about things we gain by loving, aside from romance. In no particular order here goes my short list:
Loving your work
According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a distinguished Hungarian psychologist, being able to enjoy your work is the main factor in getting into a state of “flow”, when you feel fully focused, creative and your ideas are flowing freely. By contrast, whenever you view a task negatively, your mindset is already a barrier to completing your work. According to Csikszentmihalyi, doing work you love is energizing and creates a positive feedback loop that fuels productivity. Your passion for the work energizes you and vice versa, giving you more fuel to put towards success.
A 700-person experiment conducted in Britain by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy found that productivity increased by an average of 12%, and reached as high as 20% when employees were happy. The researchers also found that there was a causal link between unhappiness and decreased productivity.
So what can employers do to ensure employees love their work? Entrepreneurs at last year’s Globe and Mail Small Business Summit had the following 5 suggestions: Create careers, not jobs; Lead – and laugh – by example; Give the millennials what they want; Make your staff a part of your mission; Be explicit about what you don’t want in employees. I like this list and could add a few myself – I would also welcome suggestions from you for a future blog post.
Loving Thy Neighbours and Friends
According to the Mayo Clinic, and many other experts, adults with strong social support have a reduced risk of many significant health problems, including depression, high blood pressure and an unhealthy body mass index (BMI). Studies have even found that older adults with a rich social life are likely to live longer than their peers with fewer connections.
Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together. – Woodrow T. Wilson
Think about it: do you have any happy memories arguing with someone or scheming against them? Any endorphins flooding your body thinking of a workplace confrontation? Didn’t think so. Most of our happy memories and experiences are shared ones – whether sharing a laugh with colleagues over a coffee, celebrating a happy occasion with friends, or commiserating about a job loss with our peers, our social connections make us happier, stronger and more resilient.
Self-love is just as important as having a loving social circle. Arguably, it is harder to be loved when one does not love oneself. This isn’t about a narcissistic view of oneself but rather the resilience to forgive your mistakes, learn from them and move on. It is about accepting your roses and thorns. While there has been some dissecting of whether self-esteem versus self-love versus self-compassion is better for your health and success, my personal non-expert view is that a healthy dose of all three is a winning combination.
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Self-love and self-compassion influence how we see the world, how we project ourselves to others and whom we pick as friends and partners.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s embrace the power of love. ❤️