Lessons in Leadership from Love

Sometimes lessons in leadership come from the most unlikely places; when you look for life's lessons, it's amazing where you will find them. I have found them in the small details, the fleeting moments, and the major life-changing transitions. As Valentine's Day approaches, I want to share some leadership lessons from a love story.

Sometimes your most intimate relationships are a mirror for the other relationships in your life. As our grandmother always told us, you become like the five people you spend most of your time with. If they are angry, you tend to be angry. If they have a positive outlook on life, you probably do, too.

There was a couple who had dated a short time. After the initial "honeymoon" phase ofdating was over, the relationship began to take a drastic turn in the conversations. Over several weeks a pattern emerged. The man was affectionate and inviting the girlfriend to meet him. Once together, the conversation turned toward criticism, anger, and their differences which he viewed with contempt. Afterwards, the texts would read like nothing was awry.

A thought resonates with me from a book I've read and re-read the past few months: your truth is NOT determined by someone else's opinion. Abuse is typically viewed in terms of domestic violence or physical abuse. However, someone that attempts to make you feel inferior is toxic (and if you let it continue, can be emotionally abusive) to you. Whether in business or personal relationships, these people should be removed from or limited in contact.

Maybe you feel this can't or doesn't happen in a business environment. Nevertheless, let me share a personal story from my career. When I worked in a commissioned environment a co-worker approached me and proceeded to berate me for approaching "her" customer. Confronting someone in business is okay, and even necessary; however, it must be done in a respectful manner. I asked my colleagues to come off the selling floor with me, and told her that anytime we had a conflict to settle it must be done in private and with respect for each other. That was the last time we had a problem. Some people just need to know that you know your worth, and that you will not allow them to diminish it.

WE determine our worth by what we are willing to accept. What do you accept at work? In your home? In your relationships? Equally important, how do you make people feel when they are around you?

You determine what you are worth by what you are willing to accept. Walk off the "clearance rack" and put yourself on the shelf where "valuables" are kept. And value others.

As we celebrate Valentine's Day, love yourself enough to evaluate your relationships, remove the toxic ones, and put yourself on the "valuables" shelf. When your truth says you are worthy, you will begin to move in the direction of your goals.