Several years ago, Kimberly, my wife, gave me this sign for my birthday that says “love like crazy.” It’s been sitting on my dresser for several weeks now and I look at it every day. For some reason, those three little words have had quite an impact on me. The questions below have popped into my mind. I’ll share a couple of thoughts around each question.
- What happens with your family when you love like crazy?
- What happens with your business associates when you love like crazy?
- What happens with your friends when you love like crazy?
- What happens with your customers when you love like crazy?
- What happens with your network when you love like crazy?
Okay, so with full disclosure, I’m not typically the most touchy-feely kind of guy. Even writing about this makes me a little uncomfortable. “Love like crazy” tends to be a little out there for me. That said, here we go, I will answer the questions and I hope you answer them too.
When I love my family like crazy, I begin to embrace all the positive things of the day: like the little notes, my wife leaves me or when she recently jumped through hoops to help me out when I had an event that I forgot to tell her about. I listen more intently to my children: their ideas, thoughts, dreams. Maybe I don’t agree but I still show them I care by being present to their words. I begin to see much more love, much less discontent. I start to find joy, instead of stress, in the chaos of modern life.
Okay, so this is getting a little weird, but what happens when I love my business associates like crazy? I begin to recognize their strengths instead of their weaknesses. I build upon those strengths and figure out ways to support their weaknesses. I begin to find opportunities where I didn’t realize there were any. I begin to embrace the everyday challenges. I begin to realize that people are trying to make a difference. I begin to work really hard to make sure they have the support and resources they need, even when it costs me personally. It becomes less about me; the team begins to lead and things take off in unexpected directions.
When I love my friends like crazy, I begin to ignore their flaws and actually begin to realize they may not be flaws but differences that can strengthen us. I start to realize that it is not about you or me; it is about us. We all have dreams and hopes; let’s help each other achieve them. Reach out to a friend you have not talked to recently and ask how they are.
When I love my customers like crazy, I begin to operate around their needs. When I listen to their needs, maybe I can’t help, but I’ll bet that I know someone who can. I value their feedback. I am incredibly busy and sometimes I even have to tell my mom that she only has 5 minutes on the phone. (Got to stop doing that, by the way.) Busy or not, I say to myself, “Shut up and listen.” I recently had a client who talked for probably an hour, nonstop. After it was all over and after I may have gotten in 10 words, she told me I was a great conversationalist. What? I barely spoke, but I took the time to listen and that showed I care.
When I love my network like crazy, now all the above things happen. Everyone you know is in your personal or business network. Everything you do has an impact on somebody. I often teach a process called the Referral Confidence Curve which is out of a book, Masters of Networking, by a friend of mine, Don Morgan. The book discusses that the key to anyone giving you a referral is the establishment of one simple thing: trust! I believe “love like crazy” shows that you are compassionate, caring, trustworthy, confident, and courageous. All those attributes establish trust, and trust allows you to build an incredible network of people who will help you in ways you can only imagine.
Love takes time. Time spent with others. Time spent with your friends, family, and business associates. The old adage I don’t care how much you know until I know how much you care applies. Having more time requires you to overcome overload.