Do what you love in the service of people who love what they do. There are four “keys” and one major “door.”
1.) Do what you love and make sure that your heart is in your work. Bring yourself fully and gratefully into everything you do. Be connected to your own work in order to inspire others. I truly believe that the vast majority of people grossly underestimate the power of the heart. They have no idea (or have forgotten) how much energy can be unleashed in themselves and those around them by telling others why they love their position and the influence they have on the company. Communicating their authentic hopes and aspirations for the future of their company will help bring back the liveliness that may have faded with time. We don’t always remain in love with what we do, as if it is in the beginning. But unless you love what you do, you are not making that true difference you are here to make. Accept that as truth and associate with people who will help you fall back in love again…with your job, your life, with all the opportunities that are around you. Don’t do what the average person does, fall out of love with what they do, yet hang on as long as they can until they lose what they used to love, and only then appreciate what they had. Successful people have learned how to find ways to fall back in love with what they do before it’s too late; they find the energy to encourage growth in the environment for which they are responsible.
2.) Understanding the power of serving people will keep you true, honest, and ethical. If you’re doing what you love, you’ll make yourself happy. But leadership is not only about you; it’s about your impact on others. After years of raising Labrador Retrievers, I always remind the people that buy the pups from me that money can buy the dog, but love can make it wag its tail. I believe that in most cases, it is a simple case of mistaken cause and effect. A mission statement in a company doesn’t generate the energy that produces the chemistry in the team; love does, great ideas do, principles and values do, and most importantly, learning how to show up for people consistently so they are reminded why they truly love where they are does. During one of my programs in Colorado, a V.P. asked me, “How do you make sure you show up for each employee on a consistent basis?” I asked him how many people are on his team and he replied, “116.” So I told him to take the next 116 workdays and assign each day to one person. Each day would be the “show up day” for that person and during the day, he was to make a point to go out of his way to let that person know that he believes in them and that they are important to the team. When he gets up each day, the first thing he should do to prepare for the day is look for the name of the person whose “show up day” it is. Over the next 116 days, each person will have his or her own day, consistently with no one left out. He asked what I recommended after the 116 days were completed and I told him to start over at the beginning, this is an on-going process that should never end.
3.) Really loving what you do doesn’t mean that you find people who love you and then serve them. It means that it is your responsibility to give everyone you serve something to love about you and what you are doing for them by revealing yourself as a human being to those that you are in charge of or hoping to lead at some point. It is important, whether you are talking one-on-one or standing in front of a crowd, that you say “This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what I believe we can achieve together if we put our hearts into it. I believe in you. Please join me and let’s help each other make this happen.”
4.) Inspire love; don’t try to “motivate” it. Never forget that love is the true inspirational motivator of all great people. Love of something or someone; love of a cause; love of a principle; love of people you work with and the customers you have the opportunity to serve; love for the future; and love for your business. These are the things that truly matter in the world. Without the inspiration of your heart, there is no good reason for you to take a stand, to take a risk, to do what it takes to make a difference in life. Remember, if you don’t stand for something, then you lose the energy necessary to keep you from falling for anything.
The Major Door: Being Thankful
Over the past 28 years of servicing the education industry, I am constantly reminded why loving what you do matters most.
Make every day a great day!