It’s four letters and it starts with “L”

I attended a wedding on Monday afternoon.

Monday afternoon is not a typical “wedding day.” Monday afternoon is the time when most of us are at work, the time when we have shaken off the weekend and placed our noses firmly, if not reluctantly back to the grindstone. But there we were, on a Monday afternoon, in a church, at a wedding.

And it was peaceful and intimate. It was sincere and lovely. In fact, it was the expression and experience of love itself.

In that church on Monday afternoon, feeling displaced by the difference between a “typical” Monday and this particular Monday I started to wonder why we work so hard to separate feelings and experiences that are more powerful when joined together.

Why do we work so hard to separate love and work? Our workplaces can and often do facilitate deep and extraordinary relationships between people gathered together in common cause. These are relationships of trust and dependence, of mutual respect and concern, of help and collaboration. We should be celebrating this for what it is (LOVE) rather than euphemistically calling it “teamwork” or “partnership” or, and it pains me to write it, “synergy.”

But that’s what we do because it’s “appropriate” and “conventional” and allows us to forego the hard work of expanding our definition of “love” beyond our present and limited understanding. (The Ancient Greek’s had six words for love – it’s a good place to start!)

And as I continued my reflection I realized that we have begun to wrestle with this question in contemporary terms. I remembered Tim Sander’s 2003 book, Love is the Killer App. I remembered Herb Kelleher, the visionary founder of Southwest Airlines saying, “A company is stronger if it is bound by love rather than by fear.” And I remembered this piece from, Does love have a place in business?

And I thought, there should be more Monday weddings! And Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday weddings as well. We need more reminders that a workplace – and a church – that is filled with love is vibrant, alive and full of possibility. And one that is not is just another building.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

Friday Reflection

The weekend is calling. Before you go, a brief reflection on the week that was.

This week I wrote about love, creativity, energy and choice.

I find myself in a deeper conversation about the regard for self – emotional, mental, physical and spiritual – that is necessary to stay as present as I possibly can to what matters most.

Love myself so that I can love others more generously.

Befriend my creativity so that it can be more fully expressed.

Maintain my energy to sustain my ability to love and create.

Trust that my love, creativity and energy is worthy of being chosen. And the only choice that matters is the one I make in favor of myself.

I wish you a restful, playful weekend. That you emerge on Monday morning with a renewed sense of clarity about the contribution you are meant to make and the determination to see it through.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world, especially the parts where he doesn’t handle it very well.

The Beatles Were Right

“Love is simply the name for the desire and pursuit of the whole.” – Plato –

I love you. There, I said it. I even said it first. Typical guy, I suppose. Or is that atypical these days? I can’t keep up with the male stereotypes. Forgive me.

I want to be whole. And so do you. I want to do good work with people I care about. And so do you. I want my efforts to matter, to be a part of something significant. And so do you.

I suppose I could hesitate and make you earn my love. I suspect I would be waiting for a long time. I have no interest in cheapening love. I’m not even sure I could. Love is bigger than my ability to do that. Love is a choice. It can be offered or withheld. What I do with it is a reflection on me, not you. The only thing I really know about love is that talking about it has nothing to do with showing it.

And there’s not a single person who doesn’t know the difference.

Love can be fully loaded with old expectations, disappointments, unmet needs, sincere longings and delirious joy. It can also be stripped down, essential and immediate, a moment to moment decision to offer the best you have to the person in front of you right now. That’s the love we need.

Since we are all more human than otherwise, we all need love. Start there. See what happens. And if you need to start over, ask forgiveness and return to love.

Here’s an article about the ways love is being studied, written about and normalized in the context of leadership and business. And here’s a guy who is way ahead of the curve. Southwest is so committed to love, they wear it on their sleeve. The Beatles, though it pains me to say it, were right.