Learning About Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day. So many of us are wise in the mind but foolish in the heart. Sometimes we even try to apply to our romantic relationships what has worked in our careers. After all, success in one part of our life must breed success elsewhere, right?
This probably explains why I once kept a now laughable Excel spreadsheet of the qualities I was looking for in a mate on the vertical axis, and the guys I was dating at the time on the horizontal axis. The existence of that Excel sheet speaks to the fact that I was single for quite a long time.
Of course, we shouldn’t approach finding a mate like we’re building a business — unless maybe you’re looking for a trophy wife or husband. I believe most of us are looking for something a bit deeper than that. Chances are, if you’re living a turbo-charged career, maybe what you really need is something completely different in your relationships. How about tranquility? Friendship? Dare I say, true love?
For a time I felt my love life was cursed and would often ask myself, “What wisdom would you offer yourself in your next incarnation on this planet? What love advice would you give yourself? How would you help yourself to show up differently?” Of course, I had plenty of great wisdom, with lots of puns and quotes. The one thing I didn't have was the emotional intelligence to take my own advice. Or a willingness to trust my growing gut. Easier said than done.
It was this kind of thinking in 2018 that led me to create a 27-page Google doc recap of my entire romantic history in the previous nine years of being single (after nearly 20 years in two long-term relationships). While I clearly learned that love doesn’t belong in a Google doc, any more than on an Excel sheet, it did lead to a life-changing epiphany.
I realized that I didn’t need to find the “ideal partner.” I needed to create the “ideal conditions” in my life that would welcome a true partner of like-mind and heart. Then, together, we could continue to co-create ideal conditions that worked for both of us as a couple and as individuals on a shared journey.
One of the best collateral benefits of the past few years here in Baja was spending oodles of time with my best friend, Oren. He was my partner from 1989-2000 and the lead designer for my hotel company. Oren designed the MEA campus in Baja, and there’s no one I trust more with my life. While he might not score as highly as some imaginary dreamboat on my Excel spreadsheet — and I might not score as highly on his, although Oren would never have taken that strange approach — there’s no one better for me to co-create the ideal conditions of a life together. And, most importantly, I learn things from him every day that make me a better person. And, I’ve also learned from author Arthur Brooks that research shows the secret to happiness isn’t falling in love; it’s staying in love.
With that powerful mindset shift, I happily put my competitive, goal-minded approach to finding a life partner to rest. Rather than focusing on what I was missing, I was able to appreciate and express gratitude for the amazing person right before my eyes. We both feel blessed to have found each other again at this time of life. With fresh eyes and open hearts. It’s never too late to learn about love.