The Evolution of Love and Work
This week my wife and I celebrated 13 years of marriage. Yup, lucky number 13. We have been together for 17 years. I can truly say that I love my wife today just as much as I did when we got married in 2005. (Alright, alright, put your green emoji face away… I get it, love is sappy, feelings are yucky… bla, bla, bla.) It is the absolute truth. I do love her in different ways than I did though.
You see, when you have been together for so long, your needs, wants and motivations change. The love that you had before is not the same love you have now. It has evolved, matured and morphed into something different. The stickiness factor increased. With every passing year, a layer is added, making the relationship deeper and deeper.
My wife and I started as college sweethearts. Our relationship developed as we found our first jobs. We had places of our own and we were building our individual identities at the same time that we were defining our identity as a couple. Everything was new and exciting, and we were fortunate enough to be experiencing it together.
Today, our life is much different. We have three kids, we own a house, we have a dog, I have my own business, my wife works part time, we both changed our careers. The excitement is of a different kind. The excitement is no longer centered on what is to come, but more on how we will develop together when it does. It is a shared excitement. Excitement for a future that we will experience together.
As professionals, we can certainly learn from this change in perspective. When we start our careers, our focus is 100% on our own development and growth. We work hard to get ahead, to grow professionally and to excel individually. Some of us go through our entire careers this way, which is perfectly ok. However, some of us have the luck to find a career, or a business partnership, that allows us to change our goals from being focused on self and become more focused on the good of the collective.
Don’t get me wrong, finding this pairing is no small task. If you ever find it. Even after you find it, just like marriage it takes a lot of work to make it successful.
After being married for so long I can say that I am much more apt to letting things go, to fight for the things that matter most, and not to focus on the superficial victories. I am much more focused on being happy than on being right. I can say the same is true for my wife. That is not to say that we do not have our moments of selfishness and lack of judgement. The point is that regardless of what happens we re-center and work it out so that any outcomes can benefit us as a unit.
Some of us will find teams where the same will happen. No longer will we be concerned with individual accolades, but with the success of the unit as a whole. We will care more about developing our peers than getting our next promotion. We will care deeply for the work that we do, and not the bounty that comes from it.
When we do find these team, these organizations, these careers, we will have to work hard to make them a reality. Just like our marriages. We will have to give in, pick our battle, learn to see a different perspective. We will have to forgive, work things out, and invest in the future of our relationship.
When we do that we will see that the love we had for our jobs and our careers will change. No longer will our love centered around the excitement of navigating unfamiliar territory, but it will be comprised of how we can rely on each other for years and years to come.
Andre Mello is a coach and is working hard to make his career be as successful as his marriage. Andre has been in leadership and coaching for over 11 years. If you would like to connect with him, please visit www.wysecoaching.com.