Why would anyone say love is damn good business? What’s love got to do with business anyway? Our guest today says without it, you won’t thrive.
To hear this BIGG Success Show podcast episode featuring Steve Farber, click the player. This episode is brought to you by The Financial Freedom Tool – Plenty of money for life! Here’s a summary of our conversation.
Our guest today is listed as one of Inc’s global Top 50 Leadership and Management Experts.
Steve Farber is a leadership pioneer, strategist, and keynote speaker on extreme leadership.
He’s also a best-selling author. Steve’s books include: The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, Greater Than Yourself, and the book we are going to talk about today: Love is Just Damn Good Business.
Why Damn Good Business and Not Just Good Business?
it’s an interesting question because, well, first of all the reason I titled the book Love is Just Damn Good Business is because love is just damn good business! But the title itself, there’s an intent behind it, because we do have a tendency, particularly business people have a tendency, to dismiss the word love as a fluffy, sentimental thing that has no place in business.
But I’ve been I’ve been teaching this idea of love is a hardcore business principle in a leadership foundation for a long time. And this is just the first time I’ve put it on a book cover so overtly, but as I’ve been giving my keynotes over the years, I just found myself saying over and over again, “Now you might think this is California touchy feely, hoo ha crap. But but really love is just damn good business.” And then one day I thought that’s a damn good title.
The Entrepreneurial Journey That Led To Finding Purpose
You have a very interesting entrepreneurial story in the Preface of your book that we want to start with because it’s all about that entrepreneurial mindset. Your journey to BIGG Success brought you to the destination of doing what you love, but it also started with having to give up something that you really loved. Tell us about that.
I started playing guitar when I was 13 years old and that played all the way through college. I got married right after college and soon discovered that playing music and feeding people were mutually exclusive ideas. That’s when I gave up the music and I went into business. At first it was such a painful decision to make because it kind of seemed like abandoning abandoning a dream.
But I did I did have a good reason for giving it up as a as a professional pursuit. And that was to raise a family and that was more important to me. I got into business because I needed to because I needed to make money. I just happened to have a friend who was in the Commodities Futures business who showed me the ropes.
Eventually over the next few years, discovered I was an entrepreneur because I ended up with my own small brokerage firm. The only problem was that I had my own business which from the outside looking in, look, you know, that’s what we all want, right? The American Dream. You’re your own boss and I was responsible for everything and I had a team of brokers and I did the market. The only problem was I hated it. I didn’t hate business. I hated that business. And that’s a very strange place to be when it’s your own business.
I just kind of powered through because I had a responsibility to my family. But there came a point where it became untenable because I was miserable and I felt like I was dying there.
And what precipitated get my getting out of it was I had a partner who was the money guy. I was running the business he was putting the money in. And one day, he was supposed to send me a wire for $25,000 to pay for a bunch of equipment we just bought because we expanded our offices. I guess he decided he was done, because I never got the check, so I just shut it down.
With that, I knew there was something I was supposed to be doing on this planet. I knew with absolute crystal clarity, but with equal clarity. I also knew that I had no freaking idea what it was.
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What Am I Supposed to Do?
I had talent for communicating. I knew that from my music, and from doing some acting in college that I loved working with, and getting in front of people. Also, I was a good writer. I studied writing in college, and that’s what I got my degree in…but I couldn’t find something that matched up with my skills and talents.
One day I was having a conversation with a friend that I hadn’t seen for a while. And she was telling me about another mutual friend of ours who was “doing some kind of workshops for corporations”. Okay. That was it! All of my lights went on. So I started researching it and discovered this giant industry which at the time, we called mostly training and development, right? And I just started doing research who does that and is there some someplace that I might fit. I got a job teaching business writing workshops for a small consulting company, because I was a writer, you know, and this was really easy for me. And that’s when I got a little taste of being up in front of the room working with executives, and, and I parlayed that into some other things.
That sent me off on on quite a trajectory. That was that was in 1988-1989 when I started doing this kind of work, originally for an international consulting company that was based in Denmark actually, and from there I went to the Tom Peters Company. I was at Tom Peters from 1994-2000, and then I went off on my own. I’ve been doing The Extreme Leadership Institute, my own my own gig, for 20 years now. So it was that shift and then, and then a rocket ship.
It Comes Full Circle
My typical gig is a keynote. Being on stage in front of 2000 people or 200, whatever it is, that feels very much like a performance. But more so over the last several years, I’ve actually incorporated music into into my keynotes – quite literally, I’ve been on stage playing guitar! It’s really, really quite astounding, not in the way I would have imagined it.
The One Question That Launched a Personal Brand
When I decided I really wanted to pursue keynote speaking as career, I had a had a long talk with the executive team at the Tom Peters Company and we decided that it’s time for me to go out on my own. I took six weeks To leave the Tom Peters Company and establish my own voice in the world. And it was four years later that The Radical Leap, my first book, was published.
I got to the point where I had, I had such great mentors, Tom Peters, Jim Kouzes, Terry Pearce, and other really amazing people. I also had such great clients and such phenomenal experience, that I just got to the point where I asked myself, “What do I think about all this?” I know what I’ve learned from other people, but if it were up to me, if I had some kind of a powerful magic where I could have everybody just “get it”, what would it be?
It was in trying to articulate that, the model for The Radical Leap first emerged, which is love energy, audacity and proof. The message I want others to “get” is that they, as leaders, need to cultivate love, generate energy, inspire audacity, and provide proof. Those four things, in my own words, were really what characterized all the great leaders that I’ve met.
The Art of Love, Not The Art of War
If we were to run a Google search, we would get millions of hits about the art of war in business. For some reason, we love thinking about war as a metaphor for business. Then there’s the line from the original Wall Street movie, “Don’t get emotional about stock.” Similarly, we’ve heard time and time again that emotions can cloud your business decisions. You say just the opposite, why?
War as a metaphor for business is, is really is really a terrible metaphor.
The idea that we’re going to survive by killing our competition creates a dynamic inside the company and in the interpersonal dynamic that’s just untenable. On the other hand if you ask a great warrior what is it that makes them successful? Many of them will tell you that it’s love.
If you ever read the book Band of Brothers, you see this. It’s just a beautiful illustration of it. We’re going to take better care of each other, we’re going to sacrifice for each other. That’s love. That’s that’s loving the deepest sense of the word.
How Love Raises the Bar
Love actually raises the expectation. So For example, if we’re having a meeting with our team, and we’re doing a brainstorming session, a fairly common question is, how can we improve our customer service?
But if you ask the question a little bit differently, how can we show our customers that we love them? You got an entirely different quality of answer. Now you’ve raised the bar on how can we create an experience that our customers will love!
Love is Just Damn Good Business: Do What You Love in the Service of People who Love What You Do
I’ve been teaching that for a long time that actually came out of The Radical Leap. This book is structured around that in three sections: Do what you love is the first piece; in the service of people, the second piece; and who love what you do is the third piece. And here’s the way it ties together…doing what you love is the foundation, but it’s not the whole story. Not enough. I mean, you could argue that criminals are doing what they love to do, but that doesn’t qualify them for being extreme leaders.
So yes, I’m doing what I love. But the context for that is I’m doing that in the service of people. So I’m using that love that I have in order to give great value to you.
I’m doing what I love in the service of people. And I’m not just serving you, because I feel obliged to – I want to serve you in such a profound way that the result is that as you reciprocate, you love me in return. And that’s when you know, you have your ideal client, your ideal workforce and all that because we’re doing what we love in the service of people who love what we do. And therefore, it becomes the ideal for all of us to strive for.
That’s Damn Good Business
See how you are doing at the practice of Cultivating Love, Generating Energy, Inspiring Audacity, and Providing Proof with a free assessment at: LoveIsGoodBiz.com.
BIGG thanks to Steve for sharing insights with us from his book, Love is Just Damn Good Business.
Until next time, here’s to your BIGG success!
George “The Professor” & Mary-Lynn
Co-Founders, BIGG Success
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