In 2014 #love was the no 1 most used hashtag – 696 million Instagram posts have that hashtag.
‘What is love’ is consistently the most searched for phrase on Google. Someone out there is telling us something.
We spend a third of our lives at work, that’s a long time. At home we do our utmost to surround ourselves with loved ones to create a happy productive home, helping each other to grow and develop. To date, it has not been particularly fashionable to connect the word love with business as it smacks to many of sentimentality, weakness and emotion. But surely we could do a better job if we got that loving feeling going at work too? It is proven (You Gov Oct 2014) that people who work under an open leader who encouraged them, showed their love for their team and allowed them room to grow are happier and more productive at work. 72% claim to love their jobs vs only 27% of safe players teams, 70% think that their workplace is great for having ideas versus only 10% of those working for safe players. Loved people are happier people. Happier people are more productive people. More productive people means happy shareholders. It’s a proper love triangle.
According to Anthropologist and TED speaker Helen Fisher in her book ‘Why We Love”. The definition of love is simply “Love may be understood as part of the survival instinct, a function to keep human beings together”. So if we need love to simply live our lives, why do we find it hard to express it during working hours?
The human brain has only evolved by 10 per cent in the past 50,000 years. Most of your brain is still very much living in the past. 90% of you is hanging around the cave, fighting off perceived predators. We are on a mission to protect our share of the next sabre toothed tiger to come along. We are cavemen and when something we perceive as a ‘predator’ comes our way, our brains hit reactive mode as our innate survival instinct. However, with this mode comes a feeling of inner homelessness; we feel disconnected, unappreciated and unloved. Our built in negativity bias doesn’t leave much room for the love machine. Yet if our brains are in a relaxed yet ‘aware’ state ie. responsive, we can join in with others, be compassionate, kind, and loving.
But how can we make that leap and beat our caveman brain?
1. Share the love. Expressing gratitude and thankfulness has a huge impact on our health and well-being. Every time you have an interaction spot one thing that you love about that person, soon this will become second nature and before you know it they’ll be appreciating you too.
2. From the Buddhist point of view, you have to care about yourself before you can really care about others. Note down a few things every day that you have done that you think is fantastic and by being more positive about yourself and the way you behave you will spread more of that naturally around those you get to play with.
3. Take a moment in your schedule to sit straight, breathe deep and smile and enjoy the emotions that you are feeling now. By getting into responsive mode and activating your emotional system you will find much easier to connect with others on the same level.
4. Slow down and stop running from meeting to meeting. We cannot see the opportunities around us to share the love and to connect with people in a meaningful way when weare working so fast. Leave time in your diary to hang out with people and find out what’s going on for them.
5. Get an office dog! Dogs are born with an endless capacity for unconditional love.They stand by you through thick and thin. Only 17% of US employers allow dogs at work but the number is growing with companies like Google, Zynga and Amazon leading the way. G5 CEO Dan Hobin quotes “Dogs in the office foster friendlier, more collaborative work environments. Everyone rallies around the dogs”. They are after all, the ultimate love machine and they wont work for nobody but you.
Chris Baréz Brown is a best selling author, speaker and the founder of Upping Your Elvis, specialists in Creative Leadership. His mission is to inject humanity, compassion and most importantly love into the workplace. Chris teaches people how to love themselves. He is known as a maverick ‘hippy’ amongst his peer group and his philosophy is one of “we love people so much that they have no other choice to love themselves”.