In honor of Valentine’s Day (and every day, really), I want to share some ideas for how you can demonstrate care to those around you without looking like you’re trying too hard. Whether you want to use these tips on a love interest, colleagues you normally can’t stand, or your office BFF, they’re guaranteed to give you and the recipients the warm and fuzzies.
You’ll see them in list form, but I’ve also included a fun infographic below that for your viewing pleasure!
10 Non-Creepy Ways to Show Love at Work
Be present. Stop making a grocery list in your head while Debbie from Payroll is trying to talk to you. Take a deep breath and actually be present with her – focus on her words, her demeanor, what she’s asking of you. When we know someone is truly present with us, we feel seen and connected, which is ultimately what it means to be loved.
Bring treats. This one’s obvious. Pastries, lunch, sweets – eating yummy things releases oxytocin in our brains, which makes us feel relaxed and cared for.
Remember something they said or did. You know how it feels when someone brings up something you said or did that seemed inconsequential to you but that touched them enough that they remembered it? It feels amazing – you feel meaningful and like your existence matters a little bit. Do that for someone else today.
See them in new ways. Our minds like to put people into tight little boxes and then go find information that confirms what we already believe about someone. Pay attention to the stories you have about those colleagues that really irk you and choose to let go of them. Allow yourself to see the people around you in new ways.
Smile more. Even when you don’t feel like it, smile. It tricks your brain into feeling happy, and it’s uplifting to others.
Notice when they’re really trying. It sucks to be a newbie at something, and most of us are newbies in one way or another – we’re learning a new system, trying out a new skill, or working to make personal changes. Notice when someone is trying to improve and tell them privately how much you appreciate or admire their efforts.
Give more. Hone in on one person you work with and ask yourself what you could do today that might lighten their load a bit. Find one small thing and do that for them.
Be specifically grateful. We throw “thanks!” around like it’s nothing. Instead, thank someone for something specific, like “I really appreciated how quickly you got this report back to me” or “Thank you so much for helping me unload that box of papers – it was going to be too much for me to carry on my own.”
Ask them questions. Be genuinely curious about people. Use your ability to be present to really see them and be inquisitive – what do they think about this situation? What’s it like to be them in this job? What’s on their plate that’s getting them stuck?
Radiate love. Did you know that you actually radiate a certain kind of energy depending on your mood and the level of “stuff” you’re carrying in your chakras? When you take care of yourself and choose to be loving, you make those around you feel good without even trying.
And now, in infographic form!:
If you’d like to download or print this infographic, click here!
This post goes out to all you spiritual woo-woo types who, like me, are finding ways to blend ancient wisdom with modern-day professionalism. I’ve got my flower child headband on, my kombucha to sip, and my Birkenstocks are close by in case I need to run out and hug a tree.
Here’s what I’m proposing today: your energy (or vibe) might be making work a lot harder than it needs to be.
It’s something I think about and am attuned to personally in my work, and I want to expand upon a scientific concept that I learned about on Jess Lively’s podcast, which you can check out here.
The concept that got me thinking about all of this is quantum mechanics. On Lively’s podcast, she tells us about a groundbreaking experiment that Einstein did that I’ll attempt to put into very simple lingo below:
He wanted to find out what got electrons moving
He used light and found that the intensity of the light wasn’t what got things working – it was the frequency
If the light was of a low frequency radiation, it would take way more intensity to get the electrons to move
But with a high frequency light, he only needed a little intensity
Now, for this to make sense or even matter to us, we have to buy into the belief that all matter emits vibrational frequencies. To quote physicist Don Lincoln, “Everything—and I mean everything—is just a consequence of many infinitely-large fields vibrating.”
This includes you and the emotions that you feel. Using techniques from the field of applied kinesiology, David Hawkins demonstrated that different emotions emit vibrations of varying frequencies. You can see his “Scale of Consciousness” in the photo to your left.
Are you still with me?
Do you wanna smoke some peyote and dance under the full moon? I kid. Mostly.
If it’s true that everything – including our emotions – vibrates and that low vibrational frequencies are less effective in creating movement than high frequencies are, then it could also follow that approaching our work from a place of shame, anger, and fear is a recipe for suffering.
This has been absolutely true in my experience, and I can share a little anecdote in case it’s helpful.
Like I mentioned in an earlier post, Let the Pain of Not Knowing Lead You, I went through a pretty rough patch in my worklife last year. Business was slow, I didn’t know what I was doing, and I was really worried about money. I definitely wasn’t at my best.
Everything with work felt hard. I felt like I was trying to force something that just wasn’t meant to be. I looked at job postings online. I almost signed a contract gig even though it gave me the heebie-jeebies all over. I felt desperate and lost.
Here are the two primary factors that got me out of that awful, no-good place:
Admitting how bad and ashamed I felt that my business wasn’t really working, and…
Raising my emotional frequency by having fun and taking care of myself.
Nearing my 30th birthday, I’d had enough and decided to splurge on a trip to a cabin in the Mt. Hood National Forest with my sweetie. It was right along a river, had no internet connection, and it was quiet. So quiet.
I really enjoyed myself there – I read, we cooked, I laid in the hammock listening to the river bubble by.
And when I checked my email the day we got home, I’d made more money than I had in the past three months.
This hasn’t proven to be an anomaly, either, I promise. My work resonates the most, whether it’s through sweet emails from blog readers, workshop sign-ups, or opportunities that cross my path, when I a) set it up from a place of wholeness and inspiration and b) check out to go have more fun.
I never, ever, get the most exciting opportunities when I’m bummed out, desperately checking email or forcing the work.
There’s a major difference between worn-out, raggedy ass hustle and aligned, intentional flow.
If you’re finding that the electrons in your life aren’t exactly moving in the right direction (or aren’t moving at all), I’d encourage you to consider addressing your emotional frequency.
When you’re focused on the thing you’re trying to activate, whether it’s a career you love, an intimate relationship, or anything you really want, notice how you feel.
Do you feel desperate? Do you feel angry that it’s hasn’t landed in your lap yet? Do you feel ashamed that you’re so torn up about it?
Or do you feel excited about the idea? Do you feel like you can just assume it will show up? Do you feel light about it, even if it requires a lot of planning or action?
Your body knows the difference between forcing and creating. And luckily for us, we can change our emotional frequencies so that our actions are actually helpful instead of being rooted in those low vibes.
Here are five effective ways to amp up your emotional frequency so that you can do less pushing and more enjoying no matter what it is you’re trying to make happen.
Meditate. I know I harp on this a lot, and every guru in the world is telling us to do it, but there’s a reason. If we can’t get disciplined in our mind, it’s harder to notice and shift our emotions. One of my favorite meditation apps, which all of my clients love too, is Headspace. It’s free for the first 10 meditations. Try it out.
Have more fun. I don’t know what counts as fun for you, but having fun is absolutely the responsible thing to do. Do more of it. Most of us don’t get enough.
Treat your body right. If everything emits a frequency, and if higher vibes are generally more effective, how do you think that box of Pringles I just ate is gonna help? It’s not. We’re more able to do better work, quantum-leap work, when we’re well rested, our gut is balanced, and we’re moving our body regularly.
Fast from social media and email from time to time. It’s almost like there’s an inverse relationship between how well my work goes and how often I’m online. At some point, the scales tip and all my fastidious checking and browsing becomes detrimental. Step back. For at least a few hours, or a day, or whatever you can manage. I promise it will up-level your vibe.
Be careful about who you hang out with. Only the most “enlightened” among us can be surrounded by complaining, negative, toxic people all day and not be impacted. The rest of us are very sensitive and pick up all sorts of stuff from the people we’re around. If you want to keep your frequency high, try to limit the amount of time you’re with people who make you feel like shit.
Those are five of the things that have worked for me consistently and that continue to nurture my soul, work, and relationships.
Try some of them out the next time you feel like work is unnecessarily hard, or like you’re pushing for something that’s just not budging.
I bet you’ll notice the movement kick in – movement that’s graceful and light and that feels so easy you’re not sure it’s real.
If you’re a working woman who wants more of this kind of ease and flow in her career, I’d invite you to check out my upcoming series of mini-retreats, A Wild New Work.
This morning before I sat down to write, I was feeling stressed out because I got off to a late start and don’t have as much time to write as I normally do.
“What will I write about in such little time?!,” I wondered. “I have to get this done ASAP so I can make those website updates today!,” I thought.
Then, a sweet little ping of inspiration hit me: I can have fun with this.
I can have fun with this constraint, this lack of time.
It doesn’t have to be hard and anxiety-ridden, which is something I’m trying to remember more and more in every part of my life.
So, instead of trying to plan out a dense, wordy post for you, I decided I’d give myself five minutes to celebrate what I love about work. I set a timer and wrote down as many of my favorite aspects of work as I could.
I focused on what brings me joy and tried to have fun with this instead, and it turned out to be an illuminating exercise! I’ll tell you what I learned after I share the list.
The fact that we always get to choose how we show up in our work
When I looked back over my list, I realized that I really want more of two things:
A dry erase board, and…
More connections/collaborations/partnerships with other people doing soulful work in the world.
I knew my desire to collaborate has been getting mulled over in the back of my mind, but it came out so clearly on my list that it surprised me a little.
Isn’t that what it’s all about for most of us, anyway? Finding connection and meaning in our work? Partnering with others to build something we care about and that serves others?
Work gets a bad rap a lot of the time because, well, it’s complicated. But we can celebrate work – it can be fun and life-giving and meaningful.
What do you love about “work”?
If you’re interested, time yourself for 5 minutes or less and jot down as many things you love about work as you can. What does your list say? And how can you get more of what’s on there into your day to day life?