In working with accomplished people in setting success principles for nearly two decades, it has become apparent that sustained success and achievement requires a renewable source of fuel. Although it may sound odd, the one that works like magic is love. Here’s what’s interesting about that: Love has a life of its own. When we follow our heart into business we often carry with us the expectation that we will always feel the way we do now about the service or product we offer. After some time passes (and it varies for each of us) we begin to feel restless and our heart tries to lead us down another path. Most of us put up resistance saying “No I’ve got to make this work! I’ve invested x number of years here and I must have the payoff.”
Where is the love in this scenario? At this point we have completely lost sight of it. What might happen if we were to follow the heart-inspired calling? Would we be required to change? To step outside our familiar comfort zone? Would we feel an upsurge of fuel in the reinvention? Experience has shown me we would, yet many of us exhaust ourselves trying to hold onto our own point of view in ways of doing things until we literally make our bodies ill. Am I suggesting we chuck it all each time we get a little bored? No—I believe we can carry forward any skills and attributes we still want to use. We simply apply them in new ways. There are few essential requirements when we decide to follow the heart path:
- Be in touch with emotions. Look for and cultivate love, joy, excitement and enthusiasm. This is a learned skill that requires practice. The business world is finally beginning to grasp how valuable is EQ in the success equation.
- Be willing to embrace change rather than resist it. You may notice that the most successful among us are continually breaking new ground. Oprah has almost as much money as God, but she keeps launching new ventures: magazines, radio shows, a television network and a leadership academy in Africa. Why? I believe it is because it keeps her excited to be continually challenged and find new ways to serve.
- Use the power of imagination to stir the emotions of love, excitement and enthusiasm. Allow that to inform all decisions. What’s the best outcome you can imagine? Imagine even 10 percent better than that. What would create real excitement for you in your work? Imagine without limits.
- Don’t give a rip about what other people think about your choices. This may be the biggest challenge and the most important of all. You must lead yourself first and foremost and leaders know the surest way to fail is trying to please everyone. This life is ultimately your ride—how you decide to play it must be your decision. Each of us here on planet Earth gets to decide for ourselves what will bring us pleasure. Our right and responsibility is to live up to our own dreams of what is possible. No one else can do it for us.
There are those who might scoff at the role of love in business. Let them scoff. Those of us who work from a sense of passion for what we are creating and contributing understand how important is that connection to the heart Ultimately, we must be true to that to have the kind of success that is deeply meaningful.