We parked the car in the parking deck in the middle of Nassau Square in Princeton, ready to Christmas shop, have lunch, drinks and enjoy a wonderful Saturday together. Steph and I try to have days like this as often as possible whether it be in Red Bank or Cape May. We walked out into the sunlight and immediately walked into the first store, The Farmhouse.
Steph walked in and turned right and headed in one direction. I stood right in front of the entrance, staring up at the wall in front of me and read “She says, I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I’ve learned that even when I have pain, I don’t have to be one. I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. “(Maya Angelou)
I stood mesmerized and re-read the 3 foot tall plank of wood and turned to the woman putting kitchen towels in a bin. I asked her if she could help me and told her I wanted to buy that plaque. She took it down and walked it to the register. I never looked at the price, I didn’t care. That sign hit me, made me think, and ultimately inspired me.
Making a decision with an open heart. What did that mean to me? I thought of Jane Seymour and her “open heart” jewelry. This really spoke to me at this very moment. I didn’t feel like my heart was very open. In fact, it was darn near closed. I was having an internal argument focused on being defiant. It wasn’t serving anyone, especially me. I was unhappy. I was sad. This holiday season my family was again not going to be all together. Reading this made me think about whether this decision to be defiant would be the same if I tried to open my heart. Open heart, I knew I needed to think about this differently. Open heart, just saying it out loud made me feel better. I asked myself the question, what decision would I make about this holiday season if I do so with an open heart?
The answer came very quickly, with my heart open and coming at this from a place of love, I knew I just wanted to see everyone, even if that meant going to multiple places. And that is what I did. It made me feel great to know that I got to celebrate Christmas Eve with all of my family. The love overflowed.
What an amazing lesson for me. Instead of trying to be right or trying to make a point, which hurt me as well as others, I focused on loving everyone and wanted all to feel that love. What else do I do where I may not think about it from a place of love? I thought about work.
Love isn’t supposed to be in play in work. However, there are many schools of thought around emotions and that there really are only 2, fear and love. Everything else is a behavior based on one of these. So if you have empathy and compassion, which you should to be a really effective leader, those are behaviors that come from love. This is probably why, in the end, in my experience, women are generally better leaders of people than men. They lead from love not fear. So, love is in play at work. If that is the case, then how could I ensure that I incorporate an open heart into my decision making at work?
That is where I am focused now. With any decisions that have a people impact, I think about it from a place of love first, with an open heart. This isn’t naturally my first instinct all of the time, so I need to slow down a bit and not immediately react. My short fuse has to be extinguished, which I continue to work on, and then I can think about what I’m doing from a place of love.
As for the rest of this quote, all very true. I realized recently with my ankle injury and my 2 day migraine that I didn’t need to be a pain to anyone, I didn’t have to complain, I needed to focus on what I needed to get well. A hug is the most amazing cure-all I have ever found. A good hug that lets me know I am truly cared for helps me feel alive. It reminds me that I am loved by others and that I am worthy of all love.
An Open Heart. Allow all that love to flow both inwardly and outwardly. It is true that the decisions feel more right. I know and deal with how I feel when I am coming from a place of fear. I enjoy and revel in life when I approach it from a place of love.