A few years ago, I wrote a piece in the Huffington Post calling for the professionalization of love. No, really. Over my years working with and leading nonprofit organizations, I noticed two things.
First, programs genuinely motivated by love work and are among the most innovative. Second, where we’re broken and hurting, we need love, and people will tell you that if you give them a safe way to do so. I also noticed that there was a polite rolling of the eyes when I tried to talk about love as a woman leader in the sector. I never could tell how much of that was a rejection of love as a “hard” skill with value, and how much of it was that a woman talking about love was just less credible.
I should clarify. When I say “love,” I don’t mean romantic love. I mean love of other. The “love of humanity” embraced by The Legacy Dialogs. The love called “agape” in my faith tradition, Catholicism. Love is a motivation in our personal lives, but isn’t welcome as one in our professional lives. It’s acceptable at home, but not at work. We don’t have a metric for love in our strategic plans, and it’s not in our performance reviews. We love our closest friends, but we don’t really love our neighbors.
That feels really off to me. I’ve learned I believe love is necessary in all those places. I believe it works, and I believe I’m happier and better in environments where we embrace love of humanity. I believe communities work better, people heal faster, and humans thrive. I want my life to be about service, and about bringing love into every corner of it. That’s why I’m an advisor to The Legacy Dialogs.