February is a special month.
It's the shortest month in the year, has a special "extra" day every 4 years (which is happening this year by the way), often hosts the Super Bowl, and is home to several holidays including President's Day, Fat Tuesday for Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and none other than Valentine's Day - the day to celebrate love.
Valentine's Day is commonly known as the day to celebrate love and was made a recorded holiday by Pope Gelasius the First in AD 496 in honor of Valentine of Rome, a martyred saint. This same holiday later shifted away from a religious celebration and became known for romantic love in the 14th and 15th centuries.
However, I want to challenge this notion that Valentine's Day, and therefore February as the month of love, is about romantic love only.
The celebration of love has a place in all areas of our lives. This includes love for our romantic partners but also includes:
Love for our families
Love for our friends
Love for our pets
Love for ourselves
Love as a leader (for our team members, colleagues, bosses, etc.)
For the sake of this post, I want to laser in on the last two as a shift in the way we think about the month of February and certainly Valentine's Day.
Love for Ourselves
Loving yourself is the only way to truly be able to love others. This means self-love by way of self-acceptance, self-care, and self-leadership. Loving ourselves first is the only way that we can truly love others, is the only way that we can be truly loved by others, and is also the way that we teach others to love us.
Love starts from within and radiates around us. It creates an energy that attracts other things to us and creates a cycle of positive change and satisfaction...or dare I say it, happiness.
Loving and caring for ourselves can be one of the hardest things we do in life. We are our own toughest critic and we can be our own biggest enemies. You see, we are hardwired genetically to operate in "fight or flight" mode to keep ourselves safe. And while that's a good thing, it can also lead to a lot of negative self-talk, fear-based decisions, and can also lead to us playing very small and downplaying our own power in our own lives.
Rather than live in a world where we are not kind, compassionate, or loving to ourselves - or live in a world where we put others before us - let's use this February to remind ourselves that we all need love. We need to love ourselves and the rest will follow.
If you are struggling to love yourself and give yourself the grace, care, compassion, and empathy that you'd give to anyone else, consider the following questions for reflection:
What makes me special and unique?
What value do I offer to the world around me?
On a scale of one to ten (with one being not at all and ten being completely), answer honestly "how much do I love myself?" Reflect on your answer and consider what is keeping you from being a 10.
Where do I need to give myself grace and compassion?
Who or what do I need to let go of in order to love myself more?
What do I need to feel good about myself?
How can I better accept me for where I am in my journey, knowing that life is a constant evolution of growth and development?
By using any one or a combination of these questions, you can begin to understand what might be keeping you from being fully in love with yourself - and begin to take steps toward falling more and more in love with yourself too.
You deserve to receive love - and only by doing so - can you show up for others in meaningful and impactful ways. And that love is the very first step in self-leadership - and in our ability to be great leaders for everyone around us, professionally and personally.
Love as a Leader
Similar to loving ourselves as a pathway to happiness, love is a mandatory for great leadership. At the heart of great leadership is the connection to humanity and that ties directly to the ability to love ourselves and to love others. If we lose sight of humanity, we focus only on the work and output becoming micromanagers and controlling leaders, and create toxic work environments that become a lose-lose for everyone involved.
Think about it...when you love someone you treat them well, you are concerned for their well-being and their happiness, you want what is best for them, you want to nurture them, and you want to help them grow. When you love someone you have empathy and compassion for them and put them in a place of priority in your life. You see something special in them and you value them.
The same holds true to how you lead people around you - whether they are direct reports, peers, supervisors, etc. When you love the people you lead, you care for them, have concern for them, nurture and grow them, have empathy for them, and most importantly, you value them.
Rather than lead in a world where we are not kind, compassionate, or loving to our people - let's use this February to remind ourselves that we all need love. We need to love others and the rest will follow.
If you are struggling to love as a leader, consider the following questions for reflection:
What makes those around you special and unique?
What value do they offer?
On a scale of one to ten (with one being not at all and ten being completely), answer honestly "how much do I love my ____________?" Reflect on your answer and consider what is keeping you from being a 10.
Where do I need to give others grace and compassion?
What do I need to let go of in order to love others more?
What do I need to feel good about my relationship and love for others?
How can I better accept people for where they are in their journey, knowing that life is a constant evolution of growth and development?
By using any one or a combination of these questions, you can begin to understand what might be keeping you from being fully in love with your people - and begin to take steps toward leading with more and more love.
You deserve to receive love - and so do the people around you. As you think about your leadership and the impact that you have on others, consider love as a pathway to greater success for all.
February is the Month of Love
And that means love all around. Consider how to be the best "lover" that you can be in all aspects of your life - whether it is about loving yourself, loving your team, and loving others.
Ready to bring more love in your life? The WeInspireWe team of coaches is here for you to help you find your path to self-love - and love as a leader. Schedule your free love session with any one of our certified and qualified coaches today.
Tami Chapek is the CEO, Founder and Head Coach at WeInspireWe. Tami believes in community and positive change and has dedicated her life to bringing these concepts together. By empowering one, we empower many - and she believes that answer starts within.