Date Added: October 2016
At a recent leadership summit I attended, a speaker noted great leaders must love and inspire others. While I completely agree, this bridges an interesting topic of love in the workplace linked to leadership.
Paraphrasing Dorothy Day, she said to achieve better conditions for others… to change the world, requires us to love others. She encouraged us to enlarge our hearts to love each other – and this task, which should be simple – can change the world.
Unfortunately, love is not a simple concept. We love our spouses and children; although loving others – especially co-workers – seems difficult. Mother Teresa, now known as Saint Teresa of Kolkata, said love has to hurt to be effective. She said, “God loves the world through you, me and everyone who is His love.”
How well do you love? If we dissect love, it comes down to three questions. Do you love yourself? Do you love your God? Do you love others? Regrettably, many do not love themselves. They lack confidence, or have a false sense of it; and/or only focus on themselves vs. the interests of others.
If we can’t accomplish loving ourselves, answers to the other two questions become difficult. Virtually all religions have some concept of loving God. This God is always looking out for us and loving us. Oftentimes we lack the trust this is occurring. Since we are now 0 for 2 on the three questions, it is impossible to love others/co-workers.
The result of love is joy. As we have joy, we are capable of being heart and soul inspired leaders. It is a choice to love, inspire and have joy; and the choices we make have a powerful ability to positively change the world. There is a saying that “there is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear.”
As leaders and individuals, we don’t show love because it displays our vulnerability. We don’t want to appear weak or timid. We may look silly or be rejected by others. Fear controls our thoughts and actions, so we create excuses why we can’t love. We are too busy, too tired, too anxious, too unsure. We have all felt this.
How do we overcome this? Let’s go back to our three questions and turn them into uncomplicated actions. Love self. Love God. Love others. That’s it. We all know it is not this simple for reasons stated above. Like most people, I struggle with loving others. I judge, get upset, or just plain give up on others. How sad! I am failing myself, my God, my wife and family, my co-workers, everyone.
I overcome this by re-focusing on the other two questions. I recognize God loves me and I love Him. Knowing this redirects my love for self. I then surround myself with others I trust and know love me – my closest friends and advisors. They lift my soul and re-center me to be able to love others. This is my process, and we all need a process to recognize when we are not loving as we should.
A few months ago, I had the honor of traveling to Jordan, Eqypt and The Holy Land. I was able to see first-hand the respect and love Muslims have for others during Ramadan, one of the sacred five pillars of Islam. I was then able to walk where Jesus walked, stand on the floor of the last supper, and walk the very streets He walked toward His crucifixion.
The entire experience was the most humbling of my life. It humbled me, filled my soul, and inspired me to be a better heart and soul inspired leader. As leaders, ask yourself: How can I love myself more? How can I love my God more? How can I love others more? How can I inspire others to change their world?
As individuals, ask yourself the same questions above, along with: How can I encourage others to love themselves? How can I encourage others to love God more? How can I encourage people to love and inspire others?
If we are all loving and inspiring as we are capable of, and using the gifts we have to love and inspire others: we will achieve the ideal lives, families, communities and organizations we want. We attain true joy on earth. This may be idealistic, although it is possible. Start loving today!
David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.