February is the month of love, a time to show appreciation for our partners, our children, our dogs, our friends, and our…. Work? Why not?! Our careers have been pushed to the limit over the past two years, and just like any relationship, needs some TLC. Most of us got into our careers for the joy and excitement of the events industry, which looks much differently as of late. It was love at first sight for many of us, and a full-time love fest for what we do. We post about our jobs, our colleagues, our destinations, and our successes for all the world to see just how much we love our industry and our work. Let’s face it, many of your friends are jealous of your job, right? Then 2020 hit, naturally, the honeymoon phase came to an end and we found ourselves questioning so much. What brings us joy? What is important to me? What motivates me? What kind of bread can I make? We turned on work fast and furious, we were no longer showing it any gratitude, and we weren’t even getting dressed for it anymore! We were finding joy in everything that work normally kept us from, family, travel, puzzles, the outdoors, BREAD. All of a sudden, all this time on our hands made us feel like we should do anything EXCEPT work. When you’re working at home, WORK becomes the thing getting in the way of everything else you could be doing. Here we are, and this thing that we once loved is now “the burden, the time suck, the never ending day, the monotony”…. Whoa, whoa, whoa, let’s stop all of that negative talk! Let’s buy work some flowers, and maybe get to know your new relationship.
Many of us have worked much harder lately, with less of what we love and less recognition. But you know what, that is when we see growth, we see what we are capable of, we gain knowledge and experience. When we are over worked and under played, it’s natural to have some resentment. Now is the time to reconnect with our joy. I’m lucky that I get to surround myself with some of the most motivational people on the planet, on a daily basis, and these are my favorites. Bert Jacobs, founder of Life is Good reminds us, “Be the person your dog thinks you are." Many of us have become that person over the pandemic, more walks, more snuggles, and quite frankly, more dogs. He also taught us to use the term “get to” instead of “have to” when it comes to any tasks or responsibilities. I found myself using that a lot over the past two years. I get to pay bills, I get to got to the grocery store.
When I need some tough love, Brene Brown is in my ear saying, “just because you’re over it, doesn’t mean it’s over.” We need to stop thinking about our work as a temporarily affected situation, lean in, and make the choice to grow. Accept, and grow. Another favorite speaker, Ben Nemtin asks us “What do you want to do before you die?” Well, most of the time, the answer is anything but work. But he isn’t telling us to quit our jobs in order to travel, or write a book, or learn to ski. He is encouraging us to make time for those things, to find joy for ourselves so that we can be the best version of us in all aspects of our lives, including work. Regardless of what work looks like today, right now.
Seth Mattison, Future of Work expert says, “The truth is, there is no one future of work, there are only futures of our work. As a result, our collective responsibility as leaders is to courageously experiment and confidently claim a version that feels authentic, equitable, and in alignment with who we are. In short, the future is what we make it.” Boom! If that isn’t a love letter to your work, I don’t know what is. Read that one again, anytime you need it.
Work is getting back to normal, or becoming our new normal, and we find ourselves at a place of acceptance. More importantly, we find ourselves at a place of acceleration. By definition, an accelerator is a person or thing that causes something to happen or develop more quickly. Isn’t that what we continue to do for our teams and organizations? Isn’t THIS who we are? We weren’t making bread! We were creating. We were growing, developing, and accelerating. Every SINGLE person I spoke to on the phone today, was able to tell me something NEW they have experienced or learned at work in the past year. That is cause for celebration and gratitude. My girl, Jade Simmons, speaker and world renowned classically trained pianist told me this: “Great leaders focus on outcomes, but audacious leaders focus on outbreaks. What we can positively cause to break OUT in those we lead is the new metric!” Who are you encouraging to break out of complacency today? Who are you showing gratitude to? Who are you motivating to be better? Do this for others, because as a love language, we all need to show up in order to be seen. In yoga, my instructor tells me “root down, to lift up,” why not try that at work. Find your center, and then reach for whatever it is that you want, out of your day, your team, your career, and yourself. I change words in my emails that bore me and try to add words of gratitude or positivity, it’s more fun than Wordle, and it changes the narrative. Lastly, Simon Bailey, former Disney exec and internationally loved speaker and author says this, “When we have alignment of the head, heart and hands, the feet will follow.” Go now, toward your new found love, give it a compliment OUT LOUD, and you might find you have even more to celebrate this month after all.
*Marcus Buckingham has an incredible book releasing April 5, called Work + Love. Marcus will help you break free from conformity, decode your own loves, turn them into their most powerful expression, and do the same for those you lead and those you love.