At first, the words tough and love might not seem to fit in the same sentence. I’d like to dispel the notion that these two words don’t belong together.  The word love has got some pretty squishy definitions. You may love pink roses, your employees, your job, your partner, your children, chocolate, cabernet, and coconut ice cream. Same word, many flavors.

What kind of love is appropriate in a business setting? Consider the core value Love. Then undergird it with truth and offer Tough Love.

If you look at the word love from the lens of a certified CVI (TM) Coach, let’s agree with Lynn Taylor (CEO of Taylor Protocols, developer of the CVI) that Love means: “To nurture the Core Values Nature in oneself or others.” In other words – Love is not simply an emotion, love does not turn you into a  bowl of jello or a doormat, love does not require you to build relationships with people who are not truthful (or just for the sake of connecting), love is not caretaking. Love requires truth. Can I trust you to tell me the truth? Can I trust you with the truth about myself? Truth is essential for Love.

Remember that Tough Love courageously acts for the benefit of self and others. In personal and professional relationships, Tough Love means I honor my boundaries, and expect others to honor them as well. And it means I honor others’ boundaries. Tough Love in business means I require people to live up to their commitments, and I live up to mine. If one of us fails, we admit the truth, and when appropriate, renegotiate to make a new commitment.

Finally, Tough Love is nurturing the best in others. Having high expectations and supporting others (employees as well as friends) to attain their best is Tough Love. Tough Love requires extending yourself in courage for the benefit of others.

February is full of squishy messages about love. My challenge for you this month is to embrace Tough Love as a key part of your best future. How will you evaluate your relationships and engage with Tough Love?

Tough Love to you! xoxoxo