Learning to love again…
Updated: Sep 1
…Love really is all around us…
As many of you will know from reading my articles and seeing my presentations I have gone through my fair share of heartbreak. I have spent time on self development and following a talk given by Daniel Burton on World Mental Health Day 2018 and a question posed to me at my most recent Breaking the Stigma presentation in Birmingham I thought I would share some of my thoughts.
A simple questions…
The question I was asked was this (paraphrased):
As a young employee at a business that is involved in senior leadership team meetings and is wanting to see change within the organisation but isn’t sure whether to ‘fight for the change’ or to ‘leave’?
There’s quite a lot to unpack in here, but my response was largely based around something I mentioned in one of my most recent articles, love languages.
Treat this (and any other situation to be honest) like a ‘relationship’ (a romantic relationship).
When in a relationship with someone, it is often perceived that things will be easy and that everything will work out fine through a combination of compromise and ‘Disney magic’.
However what actually happens is two individuals with their own history, upbringing, opinions and beliefs come together and try to both be happy in their relationship as well as being happy in themselves (if you haven’t played the board game Fog of Love, go and do so now!).
So unless you are almost identical to your partner in hobbies, likes, dislikes, beliefs, upbringing etc you will need to put in some work to your relationship. This is why some couples (or individuals) seem like they were meant to be together whilst others seem like they’re fighting an uphill struggle all the time.
There’s nothing wrong with either of these scenarios, but it does give an indicator on the longevity of said relationship. If one person if receiving everything they want from the relationship (through the love languages they value) and the other is not receiving what they want (through the love languages they value) then either something needs to change, as the relationship is heavily lopsided, or the relationship might fail.
The same is true in your relationship with you and your employer.
Your employer will be satisfied in their relationship with you if you are performing your work to the required standard, are meeting all criteria and deadlines and are promoting the Company positively (there may be other things, but largely speaking, employers are happy if you’re doing your job adequately).
In return your employer puts into their relationship with you a salary, a holiday allowance, a pension, maybe a bonus etc.
The above question can just be seen as an imbalance in the relationship between employee and employer.
The employee wants a certain point to be recognised and emphasised by the senior leadership team as important; however that senior team does not come across as interested in the point.
So what would you do if this relationship was a romantic one?
If you were invested in the relationship, you’d try and fight for what you believe in (in my opinion) and you would try to reach a compromise of recognition but maybe not emphasis.
…You’ve spent time with the person, it’s been a year or so, but they still haven’t engaged with your family in a meaningful way and family means a lot to you…
So you insist they come to a really important family event but that they don’t have to sing karaoke or whatever…compromise!
You try to reach a balance.
However what if they just say no? What if they ignore your family gatherings altogether? What if they aren’t willing to do anything involving them? Due to their upbringing, or whatever, they may not value family in the same way as you and it may be something you are never able to change in them.
The same is true with the employer employee relationship.
In the question above, you would ‘fight for the change’ (giving it time to play out etc) but then ultimately, if there was no compromise or willingness to compromise, then I would suspect you would likely ‘leave’ (or at least I would; but this will depend on the importance of the matter at hand).
A millennial old problem…
Many organisations, consultants, advisors, leaders and just people in general seem to have attached a stigma to being a ‘millennial’. Simon Sinek gave a talk on Millennials in the workplace at at the time it seemed to break the internet. I won’t go into the significant details around it and what was covered in it, but I think that this can again be viewed through the eyes of a relationship.
A relationship between generations who have different love languages.
Let’s for argument’s sake say that the ‘Boomer’ generation gave birth to the ‘Millennial’ generation. There are clearly blurred lines across age categories and demographics, but this is largely the case in my opinion.
Boomer’s come from a time of:
Economic growth and prosperity
High minimum wages that grew rapidly in plentiful jobs
Used resources to accelerate and maintain growth for themselves
Whereas Millennials come from a time of:
Recession, war and conflict (typically over resources that are now sparse)
Poor economic conditions with significantly increased competition
Higher connectivity and visibility of everything current, historic and forecast
Now, I am exaggerating some of these points, but these are largely true statements.
The values (and love languages) are linked to these. Boomer’s typically value the Receiving of Gifts, and Acts of Service whereas Millennials typically value Words of Affirmation and Quality Time. Physical Touch plays a part for both generations, but isn’t linked to the mentality of relationships for each generation.
Now this could go on for quite some time and is probably an article topic in itself so I’ll keep it short.
Millennials aren’t necessarily entitled, arrogant, impatient, demanding etc. They just want something different from what’s on offer. They value time spent with their peers outside or work and hearing positive things in a world that is very dark all around them.
Don’t think as a business that your need to do anything special for Millennials. You just need to look around, see how the world has changed and respond accordingly…
…as you would with your commercial strategy.
I Got Love…
A little personal bit at the end for some insight into me. I ‘lost’ my wife. It hurt. I am slowly getting more and more comfortable in myself with each passing day and this chapter of my life is slowly coming to a close. I am in a better place now than where I could have been otherwise.
Thinking about things, what I miss most is the constant friendship and the companionship that came from the marriage. Not the love, not the sex, not the lifestyle or anything like that. I miss just knowing that somewhere out there someone had my back without question.
I have some of the most amazing friends who look after me, worry about me and are there for me.
Someday I hope to find that companionship with someone again, but for me to be ready for that (if it ever happens) I need to be comfortable in myself and happy in myself.
Thank you to all my friends who are supporting me in finding myself after these past 18 months!
Treat every relationship like a romantic relationship and make sure you are satisfied with what you are receiving from it.