During the holiday season, regardless of religious/non-religious practice, people gather. They gather with friends, families, and colleagues. They slow down, reconnect, and restore themselves. People gather and, quite often, they give. How we give is a matter of personal preference and it is not as simple as buying somebody a present.

Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages (later popularized by Dr. Don Miguel Ruiz) often serves me as a guide for how to best let someone know that I care about them and that I can see and appreciate them for who they are.  I invite you to consider which of these love languages most resonate with you; and my hope is that you can leverage them to foster inclusivity and a deepening of your relationships with both self and others. The five languages, paraphrased are:

  • Quality time
  • Words
  • Act of service
  • Physical touch
  • Gifts

This way of thinking, of recognizing that each of us gives/receives in different ways or languages, is exactly how we all need to think (and feel) when it comes to being an Ally and Inclusionary Leader: just because you perceive something one way does not mean someone else will experience it the same way.  

In my book, Showing Up, I write about the principles of heart based leadership and the last and most important principle is LOVE. I equate love with seeing, hearing, valuing, and respecting others for who they are because when I am treated that way, it feels like love.

So for these holidays, I invite all of us to ponder the GIFT OF LOVE, in whatever form works for you as long as the end result is that you gift this to another person. I humbly offer the following ideas for your consideration and, like the best things in life, they do not cost a thing:

  • Quality TIme: Being present for these gatherings; really make it a point. Turning off your phone and “unplugging from your work life” go a long way to foster connection. 
  • Words: Let someone in written words know what they mean to you. How have they made you better? What do you appreciate about them?
  • Acts of Service: This one requires some thought. Whether at home or at work, it is highly likely that you know something you can do that will make a difference to someone else. Your simple and thoughtful acts let them know you appreciate them. 
  • Physical Touch: As we emerge from the pandemic, people are starving for touch – though always ask for permission before going in for a big bear hug or other friendly and appropriate form of touch. 
  • Gifts: Give the gift of allyship by truly listening from the heart – this makes possible the true gift of being heard

Lastly, it is imperative that we also give ourselves the gift of  love. To me this means rest, down time away from work, quality time with friends and family, and (the area where I struggle most) enjoying food and drink. Bringing attention and intention to what I eat and drink during the holidays is a form of self-love for me. It may be something altogether different for you; whatever it is, don’t forget to love yourself in the way that works for you.

With Much Love,


PS – Tell us how you plan to show love in the workplace this season for the chance to win a copy of the ‘Showing Up’ book. Email info@bettermanconference.com to enter.


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