Business Love

Who ever created the dividing love between the business and the personal?

I get it, of course – the two realms aren’t the same – but I’m not sure we can completely maintain hard and fast distinctions on every level.

Because in our families, our communities, our companies, and everywhere else in the world, we’re rubbing shoulders with…people.

If people in the business realm exist to be used – if they are a means to profitable ends – then, of course, we can limit our caring. And, let’s face it – we work and do business to make money. When I network and present and consult and write and connect others, long-term and short-term business goals and strategies are woven throughout all of it. I’m not in the least embarrassed to admit it. Ultimately, whatever else I may earn in the business realm, I have to earn revenue primarily.

Or, to put it another way, it’s not about the Klout – it’s about the Ka-ching.

But this other, more personal drive keeps weaving itself in, dis-allowing me to treat people as business objects. And I see this drive in many others as well. When we interact face-to-face, there is a caring that goes beyond some anticipated short-term revenue gain.

It’s that pesky, inconvenient, hard-to-suppress, human, real, and amazing thing called love. You know – caring about others on a personal level that goes beyond today’s subscriber numbers and tomorrow’s paycheck.

I’m not talking about the whirl of romantic emotions or the carnal pleasure-seeking of one-night stands, or mere emotional sentimentalism. Love is an instinct to care about others – never fully pure, of course, but there nonetheless. Something we’re taught to suppress in that realm called “work”.

In the midst of our transition from a nation of farms and smaller businesses to the depersonalized landscape of huge companies where people are cogs in a great machine, we have tended to lose the connection of love and business. We’ve drawn a line between the realms, perhaps because it is so easy to be hurt in the world where getting ahead and winning are Job 1.

But now we are re-entering an era of entrepreneurship, where, as Mike Henry, Sr. put it in a phone call yesterday with Lisa Petrilli and me, we each have a factory on our desks. And lo and behold, love seems to be sneaking back into business.

Because we are what we always were – people. Maybe the machine robbed us of something important in our work. Maybe some of this dehumanization was a defense mechanism that we can and should outgrow.

Maybe – just maybe – love and business can be woven together.

I don’t fully understand how it all works, but I’m determined to explore it. Who’s with me?


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About Steve Woodruff
Steve Woodruff is a blogger, a Connection Agent, and a consultant in the pharma/healthcare industry. He specializes in helping people and companies make mutually beneficial connections.

5 Responses to Business Love

  1. mckra1g says:

    I’m with you. One of my favorite quotes is “Love is work made visible.” – Kahlil Gibran

    Work is the manifestation of our intent. When paired with the power of love? Unstoppable. Just ask Steve Jobs (or the millions who benefitted from his “work”).

  2. I agree – Love is back in(to) business and should’ve never left. One of the dividing lines may have been a pressure of reciprocity on the receiver’s end.

    I’m glad “love” is back into business. Especially for those that give it because it can be like a muscle (and needs to be exercised. It may be a bit uncomfortable at first for the receivers – and the givers need to be patient, and not take offense if gifts are not received. After all, love keeps no score.

    Let’s not give “business love” a bad name.

    Stay contagious, Steve. I love you:-)

  3. Steve, I have trouble using “love” and “business” in the same sentence.

    Yes, I love my work. I am passionate about serving our customers. I am passionate about building a great company. I am passionate about mentoring and leading a talented workforce. I care deeply about the individuals that make up our organization.

    But, I don’t love business. Business is the thing that we do. Business is the framework. It is the people that create and experience love and passion.

    • Business is indeed the framework. But people are the essence. And that is where I think love can sneak back in. Caring about the people we do business for/with.

  4. I am with you!! If only love and business could always co-exist harmoniously. It would be so beneficial for both business owners and clients. Unfortunately, it is not easy to find it these days. I love what I do, and I try to make sure that I it shows in everything that I do. The problem is that many people do not share this same passion and pleasure when it comes to their job and “business.” If you do not like what you do, it is impossible to bring the two together.

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