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Five Reasons to Bring your Heart to Work

By Kevin Eikenberry

Take a minute right now. Get yourself a sheet of paper and a pencil or pen.

Yes, do this right now before you read on.

Then draw a tree. When you have finished your tree, you can read further.

Having done this with groups before I can tell you with some certainty what you see in front of you.

If you are like most people you will have drawn a wonderful tree from the perspective of the ground upward.

This tree has a lot in common with many people you see in workplaces all around the world. You see the tree from the ground up, and you see the physical presence of the people on the shop floor in their cubicles and offices.

Did you know that in most parts of the world the amount of biomass of the roots of a tree is at least as much as what we see above ground? In other words, when we are looking at a tree, we are literally only seeing half of it.

So it is with people. There is much more to us than what can be seen. Unfortunately too many people choose to bring their physical selves (their hands), and even their mental selves (their heads) to work (if they didn't they likely wouldn't have the job for long), but leave a huge portion - their emotional selves (their hearts) at home.

What do you bring to work everyday with you? If you don't bring your heart, you are missing tremendous opportunities. Here are five reasons why you should bring your whole self, heart included, to work each day.

You'll have more energy. We strip ourselves of a major energy stream when we disconnect our emotions when we leave for work. Our heart can provide a deep reservoir we can tap into if we have a belief in what we are doing. This doesn't have to be a one way energy flow however. When we are fully engaged in our work we have more energy to use, but more flows back to us as well.

You'll be healthier. When you bring your whole self to your efforts you will be richly repaid in more than energy alone. That energy will translate to greater health.

You'll have more enthusiasm. Dale Carnegie said "act enthusiastic and you'll be enthusiastic." It is true. Enthusiasm doesn't come from our hands or head. Enthusiasm comes from our heart. Let your passions loose! Let your enthusiasm for a project show! You'll be amazed at how this can change your entire outlook and performance at work.

You'll get more done. Think about it. When do you get more done, when you look at your list of tasks and breathe a heavy sigh, or when you are jazzed about a particular project? You know the answer. What is the difference? Your heart and soul. There is no doubt that you will be more productive, alone, in a team or when leading others if you put your heart into your work.

You'll have more fun. I saved this one for last because it is something, unfortunately too many people don't even think is possible. It isn't if you only bring half your tree to work. But when you allow yourself to fully engage with your work, you will find opportunities for great enjoyment.

Am I suggesting we all become workaholics? Not at all. In fact, quite the opposite. When we bring our full selves to our work, and gain all of the benefits above we will probably not work any longer. We may work harder, but we will definitely work smarter. And we'll enjoy all of it much more.

James Patrick Dunne wrote a poem that became the lyrics to a song recorded by Kenny Rogers and is the Official USA Gymnastics Olympic Theme Song. The chorus summarizes why you should bring your heart to work each day"

When you put your heart in it

It can take you anywhere

Who's to say that we can't make it

It's the same dream that we share

When you put your heart in it

It can take you anywhere

About The Author
Kevin Eikenberry is a leadership expert and the Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (, a learning consulting company. To receive a free Special Report on leadership that includes resources, ideas, and advice go to or call us at (317) 387-1424 or 888.LEARNER.


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