Love can be an incredibly powerful enabler of professional and career success. It’s often said that “behind every great man there is a great woman,” and if you look closely, the reverse is also normally true. So why don’t more people tap into this amazing resource? And how does this magic work?
First of all it’s common for people to feel as though they must choose between relationships and careers, that it’s hard to be great at both. And many use this excuse to explain a lackluster relationship, as in, “I work all the time and don’t have time or energy to deal with my relationship.” This type of shortsighted prioritization is one of the reasons for the high divorce rate and workaholic ethos of our country. The tangible results of an extra hour in the office might be more immediately obvious — a larger number on the next paycheck or another deal closed — but the career benefits of an extra hour spent building a loving, mutually supportive relationship may be far greater in the long run.
Secondly, we tend to take for granted the things that are right in front of us. While love is often an overwhelming and overpowering sensation in the beginning, too often we eventually start to take it for granted. Remember at the beginning, that sense of support and well being, that saved trip to the dry cleaners, that pep talk after a bad day? You were thrilled the first time you received this support and it surely benefited you. Well guess what? The support is still there, you’re just forgetting how invaluable it really is to you.
And it’s a shame that people either don’t see or forget to appreciate these things, not only from a personal perspective, but because the benefits of the support that love brings to one’s career are substantial.
Why is this? How does it work? In order to succeed, you’ve got to step outside your comfort zone, challenge yourself and take chances (a known trait of high achievers). In doing so, love and support are huge assets that help keep you going. That feeling that someone is going to love you, help you and support you in success and failure is priceless. And while this support can come from a variety of sources — from a partner, from family, friends or another group — for the purposes of this discussion I will focus on the support of a partner.
Tara Hunt, CEO and founder of Buyosphere.com, recently detailed how support from a partner impacted her business life in an article in Inc. Magazine. She says:
“I once wrote that you couldn’t have love and greatness, but after I met my boyfriend, I realized I was wrong. I hadn’t experienced this type of successful partnership before. You can pursue your dreams and have a happy relationship. It just depends on the person you choose.”
She and I met and had a phone conversation and discussed this very phenomenon, that having a supportive partner increases your bottom line. The support a loving partner can give with picking up the slack at home along with the emotional support is significant. It frees up headspace, it reduces stress and, at the end of the day, having intimacy produces a calming effect physiologically and can re-generate you for your next day of work.
Kate Northrup, co-founder of Team Northrup echoes many of these same sentiments. Check out our interview where I ask her specifically about how having a loving boyfriend has impacted her business trajectory.
The key though is meaningful support. So what does meaningful support look like? Meaningful support requires confidence and wanting the best for your partner. It means helping them be their best self. I say confidence is a precursor because the support needs to be there if they struggle or if they exceed expectations. Think of Oprah Winfrey’s boyfriend. Think of the confidence he has to have in order to love and support a woman he has seen become an icon and one of the wealthiest moguls around. If your partner feels resentful of your accomplishments, then the value goes down the drain. That is the tricky thing with relationships: once the support is conditional, the effect can cause stress and have diminishing returns.
I am learning that often times the things that are readily available to us but that we take for granted are our most valuable assets for being who we want to be. Love is no different. We all seek love; we know the power of love yet we don’t understand that the time invested in maximizing it will come back to us in unexpected ways. Somehow we easily accept that in order to make more money you have to invest money first, even if the paths to profit aren’t clear. Love is no different.
At the end of the day, who really has your back? If you have someone, think again about the invaluable resource you have right under your nose. If you don’t have someone, realize that support is something you need. Find it elsewhere, in a group (an article about groups is coming soon) or hire a coach or consultant. The bottom line is support can make a difference. Not only will you be happier on a personal level, but you’ll be exercising one of the greatest possible benefits to your mind, your health, and your business.