I have been working hard on writing my upcoming book, "Fab 30: Critical Leadership Lessons for Women". The overall construct of the book is I share 30 critical leadership lessons I believe are critical to success for women in leadership. One of the chapters is simply titled "Love". I get it, it doesn't seem like a chapter about love would exist within this construct but, oh yes it absolutely does! One of the lessons I know without a doubt about successful careers and generally a key to a happy life, is the value of LOVE.
You will be knocked down quite a bit in your career or day to day life in general. You will sometimes win and sometimes fail. You will be on top at times and others climbing back from the knock down. You will have conflicts related to work/career and will want to just walk away, but know you have to push through regardless. You will simply have good and bad days. For all of this and more you need love around and in you. Love is a safety net that automatically opens up to help hold you together when it seems that nothing else will. Love presents in many ways and comes from a plethora of sources: Romantic Love, Family Love, Pet Love, Friendship Love, Spiritual/Religious Love, are all examples. Whatever the type, I know for sure that love aids you in multiple ways along your career and overall. Here are a few examples:
1. Being loved the way your heart truly desires, romantically, takes time to find sometimes and for you to sort out what that means for you. Taking the time to kiss some frogs to find a prince or princess is worthwhile because once you have the right partner by your side everything changes. You become more emboldened to try your dreams. You aren't as afraid to try something new in your life because you have a good partner that loves you, motivates you, and picks you up if you fall. It allows you to push harder for your goals because you have a cheering section right next to you when you don't even realize you need the support. Being in love is not a constant, it changes over time and requires work & investment, however being loved is soo much more powerful and is sustainable through good and bad times. This is why carefully choosing who you share your romantic love space with is powerful and worth being purposeful about your selections. When you have chosen wisely, you will know because it bleeds into your professional life. It provides you with an extra layer of protection as you face the challenges that exist in your career or just the outside world in general. Shout out to my love, Mr. Johnson xoxo.
2. Friendship love is critical. We need our girls! We need good friends that know you and sometimes outlast any romantic love. These girlfriends listen to whatever you need to vent about and tell you what you don't always want to hear but need to hear. Being able to have a sister circle full of other women that have goals, dreams, and who do whatever it takes to support one another in only a way good girlfriends can do is critical. I read an article recently about the importance of girl trips and just time with friends. It is special when you have friends that feel like family because they KNOW you, support you even when you may not think you need it, and of course when you ask for it, and love you sometimes in spite of yourself. With the right girlfriends, you will feel empowered to take on anything. At least with the ones I have, that is true.…if not for you, check your circle ASAP.
3. Family love is complex because families are complex. Families are also defined differently for some. I approach this one with simply, family love is unconditional. For me, I am fortunate in that I have key family members that I love deeply and vice versa (My brothers, Aunts, Uncles, My Cousin-Sister, A ton of other Cousins, Bonus Kids, Bonus In-Laws, etc.). I am blessed to have a dad that has cheered me on since my earliest memory of him. Who instilled in me that I could and would be anything I wanted. I have a dad that reads and critiques everything I have been writing for the book because he wants me to be successful. I have a dad that listens to my work stories, and gives me on the spot advice, even if he isn't feeling his best at the time. I have a mom that is a silent supporter. She loves me and is proud, but expresses it differently. It is ok that they are different, because I know for sure they will always be there for me. I am lucky in that way. Everyone isn't born into a similar situation and that is OK, because along the way you meet people that transform to family because family is not always about blood. Whatever family looks like for you, they matter and can serve as a support for you when others disappear.
4. Mom Love is special. Whether you are a mom to biological children, inherited, bonus (step-parent), god mom, whatever! The love you feel as a mom is like nothing else that can be explained. Children have a way of grounding you like nobody's business! They are honest critics and tell it like it is. Being a mom changes your entire perspective on life. The love mothers have for their children is a force that is hard to reckon with. That same force can drive women to dream big and want to achieve success because they want the best for their children. It is a powerful motivator like none other.
Listen, I don't care if love comes to you in the form of one of the categories above,
your beloved pet, God, or whoever you pray to, or love for strangers that inspire you to do random acts of kindness because it helps others and brings you a feeling of love. If you don't see the value and relationship between Love and Leadership just look at Michelle & Barack Obama. That's all the evidence you need. Boom. Leaders full of Love Lead Differently and Better. Facts.
WHATEVER it looks like for you, on this Valentine's Day, ladies remember that LOVE is truly a key to a successful career and happy life. Get you some love today! Muah!