You’ve heard the award winning song, “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical” sung by Zac Effron, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Tisdale and Lucas Grabeel:
Together, together, together everyone
Together, together, come on let’s have some fun
Together, we’re there for each other every time
Together, together, come on let’s do this right
Walt Disney Music Co. Ltd., Walt Disney Music Company, M. Gerrard Music
It’s become a well-recognized hashtag, #wereallinthistogether, during this time of physical distancing and longing for human connection. Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D., in her 2013 book, “Love. 2.0,” notes that “Love is that micro-moment of warmth and connection that you share with another living being.” Is that what’s needed now more than we realize, “We” time, “warmth and connection,” love?
From a seemingly far separate world, business leadership, that isn’t at all detached from this topic, comes the concept of “conscious leadership.” This notion, with its key leadership group founded by Jim Dethmer and Diana Chapman, helps leaders bring their whole authentic selves, with total awareness, to their positions as partners, transformers and visionaries. But why only to corporate leadership? Isn’t this notion valuable for all, particularly during this time of forced separateness, when we are lacking “we” time? With the coronavirus pandemic that’s triggered so many reacting, not consciously responding, to daily confused medical advice, politically driven shutdowns and restrictions of life, uncertainty and lack of trust in our leaders, perhaps “conscious leadership” needs to apply to daily life by us all as we lead our own lives with authenticity, integrity, curiosity, mindfulness, and responsible openness. I call this “conscious loveship.”
Frederickson, one of a handful of leading positivity psychologists, has spent much of her career investigating how to broaden and build positive emotions, including love, in our lives. Seems most pertinent right now. She teaches us about “positivity resonance” saying that “love is the momentary upwelling of three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and the other person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.”
Sounds a bit like “conscious leadership” doesn’t it? And notice what’s not in her definition? Entitlement, that nasty deterrent to living a loving life. The irrational belief that others “should” or “must” treat you in a certain way, the way that you believe you “have to be” treated. What is present in her definition, is a form of gratefulness, an amplification and facilitator of shared positive feelings, energy, and appreciation that promotes healthy relationships, warmth, connection. A large dose of love will surely spark more positive, healthier living during this otherwise dark period.
Like “conscious leaders” who are urged to purposefully create a culture of trust and care with self-awareness freed of simply reacting to others, “conscious loveship” goads us to be attuned to the present, to our body, and to truly and fully read and respond to the actions of others. Frederickson believes that our “bodies are designed for love, and to benefit from loving.” Just as business leaders who understand their purpose and lead from that awareness, when we appreciate that we are designed for love, perhaps we can live from that awareness as well.
When you understand and accept that you are designed to give and receive love, and physically and emotionally benefit from doing so, you transform your entire life. Again, from Frederickson, “You become appreciably and enduringly different, and better. You uplift others, helping them become different and better as well.” Our “conscious leadership” friends would certainly agree with this notion of serving and supporting, applying this to corporate leadership as well. There is a strong, identifiable reciprocity here between leadership in business and “loveship” in life.
Conscious corporate leaders strive to be aware of and in tune with their emotions, thoughts and fears, and always speak from their authenticity and maintain their commitments. Living during this time will become healthier when we do the same in our personal lives. Bringing emotional intelligence to bear will help as we manage our emotions and firmly steer our interactions with others rather than simply reacting. This may call on our willingness to be vulnerable, recognizing that doing so will inspire others to share in this freeing and absorbing connection.
COVID-19 asks us to come together, not divide. Doing so in a healthy, positive manner requires self-awareness. Set time aside to build this important psychological trait. Learn what you need to be happier, what limiting thoughts are holding you back from warmth and comfort, what keeps you apart from others right now, and what’s keeping you locked in fear?
Want to live through this straining time with more love, with a greater sense of #wereallinthistogether, motivated to bring out warmth and connection in others, in “conscious loveship”? “Love is a skill, It takes practice,” Barbara Frederickson tells us. So set time aside to practice and build a foundation for a loving life.
How? Start by simply recognizing, every day, several occasions when you can bond with others, and then remaining focused on the present, do so with kindheartedness, sincerity, admiration, and benevolence. Communicate your own feelings as well. Create micro-moments of “conscious loveship,” in which you become the leader of your own healthier, more affirming life.
I’ll end with this from our song at the beginning of this venture into a healthier, more loving, COVID-19:
We’re all in this together
Once we know
That we are
We’re all stars
And we see that
We’re all in this together
And it shows
When we stand
Hand in hand
Make our dreams come true