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Emotional Business

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The human heart, National Geographic


This is personal.

As a woman, I carry my passion for my work on my sleeve, where it fits quite comfortably. A deep commitment for what I do and a love for people is what makes my professional life fun. In business, I don't believe that people are boring. Instead, I enjoy discovering how people are interesting. It isn't naivety but respect and a belief that everyone has fascinating stories and eclectic interests that transform them into vessels for discovery.

The catalyst for these sentimental thoughts was brought on this week by two things.

Firstly, I'm in the midst of reading an intriguing book called "How We Decide" by Jonah Lehrer. The basic premise, if I can do it justice, is simple. Since Plato, we have believed that what differentiates us from all other animals is our capacity for rational thinking. In fact, when it's time to make serious decisions of the best kind, we try our very best to remove all emotions and distill the process to logic alone. What Lehrer reveals is that our emotions are a necessary and, often, desirable driving force for our decision-making.

Legitimizing feelings and declaring them an explicit part of our thinking process is both empowering and comforting. For me, there's nothing like the feeling of "right." Not even the knowing of "right."

How many times did you pursue an idea that was more expensive or less plausible, but felt just right? How many times did you choose a client or collaborator or employee because you liked them?

Which brings me to my weekend, spent in Las Vegas with a group of very special and characterful people, brought together by camaraderie and a love for design.

This group serves with me on the Board of Directors of S.E.G.D. - a global community of people who work at the intersection of communication design and the built environment. The people on the Board represent very diverse backgrounds and distinctive personalities. What brings everyone together is a passion for their respective disciplines and a love for the community. They are all busy people with businesses and families and rich lives who choose to take a weekend three times a year to connect with each other and discuss the future of design. They do it because they feel a sense of reward the kind that you don't usually write about in an advertising publication an emotional reward that brings no revenue and that produces no marketable product. Just an invisible but significant contribution to a community that is evolving and transforming.

This commitment to making the work a labor of love was a great reminder for me that, while we can't be emotional in how we do business, feeling emotional about our business is the stuff of life.

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