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Why Loving Yourself is a Powerful Answer to Success.

Ana Polanco

Love and SuccessOnce upon a time I held a powerful political position. When young professionals hungry for a political career asked me if loved my job, I answered with a hearty “Of course I do!” Why wouldn't I be? I had the power to influence people and agendas on what I or my bosses thought mattered most to move a progressive agenda forward. It was pure and utter adrenaline. I was decisive, unafraid of taking risks, and unapologetic about what I had to do to move the organization’s agenda forward. I thought I had power. And then one day, I woke up with that sick feeling you get when you don't actually want to go to work. I thought it was about the divorce I was going through. But the truth is that I felt unhappy long after the ink was dry on my divorce papers. So eventually, I lifted my head from the work long enough to face my unhappiness.

The mere thought that I might be unhappy in my professional career seemed unbearable after a divorce. How much change can one really take in just three years! Sheer panic sets in. I had given so much of myself to my work that I wasn't sure if I was making a change in the lives of the people I was advocating for.

Had the last ten years of my professional career been a total waste?  Of course not. I had in fact been successful in many ways. In just a few short years I had fully dedicated myself to learning the art of negotiation, how to build relationships, run political campaigns, when to compromise and how to get what I wanted. So why was I still unhappy?

I had lost myself in the work in the process of gaining power. The constant need to prove myself, to be better, faster than my colleagues, and to please those who I perceived as powerful was killing me. And in just 10 short years I was totally burned out.

Once you get burned out you can easily lose sight of the things you once felt a deep passion for. I loved advocating for my communities. As a college student at American University I had embraced a set of values that called for service to society, non-violent change and the importance of community, some of the principles of Martin Luther Kings’ vision for a beloved community. I wanted to use love to transform society but I had lost sight of that as I accumulated perceived power.

So how did I do it?  I started over from a new center of gravity --I began by loving myself.

If I was going to return to my purpose, I had to create a new vision for my life that included move love to the center of it. I changed it all. I started my own businesses and I found a way to share power, bring the values I so service, community and love back into the center of my life. It wasn't perfect but I found it and was willing to give up everything that didn't serve that purpose to gain that sense of personal success and happiness again.

When you love yourself, you bring others closer together.  The more you love yourself the more successful your life and your work will be. That’s a different kind of power that comes from your sense of self. It’s a power that allows you to take back control of who you want to be and what you want to do to affect change in the world.

Si tú quieres encontrar el exito, take the first step -- lift your head up and take a close look at your life. Where in your life are you happy? Where have you given up control to others?  Asking these questions helps you reconnect to your vision for happiness.

Here are a few ways you can begin repaint a picture of success:   

Find your professional sweet spot.  Your sweet spot lives at the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, how you define success and what makes you money. Develop a treasure map to find your passion again.

Live at the intersection of possibility. Sometimes we get so fixated on our concerns or expectations that we miss new opportunities to create and learn. Try and look at new opportunities with an open heart and mind. And if the opportunity you want does not exist, build a door to your new life.

Move on from your mistakes. We all make mistakes in our personal and professional lives but those of us who replay the mistake in our heads are punishing ourselves needlessly. Successful people acknowledge the mistake, learn from it and move on.

Spread love by giving and receiving compliments. The more you genuinely compliment others, the more they will want to hear your ideas and be around you. When someone gives you praise, don’t overlook it or shut it down. Own the compliment and say thank you.   The more you do this the more you will attract the love and success you want into your life.

At the end of the day only you can define your success. No one can take it away from you without your permission.

These are just a few ways to use love to expand your success. What are ways that you have used love to become more successful?