Family is defined differently today than it was when the baby boomers grew up watching Father Knows Best. However, no matter how much the definition of family has changed over the years, at least one thing remains the same. Human beings want and need to be part of a loving family.
I also believe the need to belong to a ‘loving family’ is true when it comes to our careers. If you’re not sure about bringing love to work, you might want to consider Barbara Fredrickson’s point of view.
Barbara is one of the nation’s leading Positive Psychologists and she has spent the last 20 years exploring the science of positive emotions (Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration, Awe, Love).
Her latest book is called Love 2.0: Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection. In it she states…
“Love is our supreme emotion: Its presence or absence in our lives influences everything we feel, think, do and become. When you experience love you also set yourself on a pathway that leads to more health, happiness, and wisdom.”
Her research suggests love is created anytime two or more people connect by sharing one of the 10 positive emotions listed above. She calls these experiences ‘micro-moments of love’ because they can happen anytime, anywhere, with anyone. The love you give to a co-worker is not the same as the love you express to your immediate family, but it is love and it is contagious.
The new science of love proves if you choose to create more loving connections, you become an appreciably better person and your behavior inspires others to become better as well. Fortunately, we’re surrounded by micro-moment opportunities every day. Unfortunately, we’re usually so busy that we don’t really connect with people at a deep level.
If someone you work with or serve is having a good day or bad day, it’s important for you to know about it. In most cases, the only action required is to really listen to their story (remember, advice is not listening).
Barbara also reminds us that the people who cross our path during the day are dealing with something in their life.
“The facts are that all people face both good and bad fortune every year, if not every day. When you look out at others…you can be virtually certain that they are simultaneously blessed by good fortune, however small or large, and also burdened by bad fortune, again, however small or large. Each person we encounter, then, simultaneously merits both our compassionate love and our celebratory love. Love, upgraded…comes in many flavors. Above all, love is connection. In connection, you are far more likely to recognize what other people are going through, and meet them where they are, sincerely wishing them the very best.”
Are you ready to create a loving family culture at your place of work? If you are, take a moment to answer these three questions:
What are the three most important things you do now to show your love for your family?
What are the three most important things your family does to show their love for you?
How can you adapt one of those ‘loving’ behaviors and bring it to work next week?
You don’t have to make major changes to your daily routine to create more loving connections. It just requires a commitment to slow down and pay attention to the body language of the people you see. Make eye contact, smile more, share positive stories, ask someone to lunch and instead of meeting in your office, go for a walk while you talk. Learn something new about the people you already know. Enjoy their success and be empathetic regarding their setbacks.
Love is the fuel that helps teams thrive and families flourish. It’s up to you to make sure everyone you lead has a full tank.
Let’s Get Better. Together! Bill Durkin