What’s love got to do with it?

Marilyn Tam
4 min readFeb 1, 2024

How to succeed in work and life using the most powerful force on earth, love.

Love. Is that a word to be used freely at work? Yes, if you want to be successful, happy, and healthy. Many years ago, when I first started working, the message was, “leave your personal life and feelings at the door, be a professional and focus only on work”. The meaning was clear, don’t be a whole person, just work and forget that you have other facets in your life. This narrow perspective cleaves our being into impenetrable little boxes with no allowance for integration, humanity, and feelings. It’s unrealistic, unhealthy, and unproductive. Now it has been proven that innovation, creativity, and revolutionary breakthroughs all come from passion, commitment, and the courage to follow one’s dream — in other words, love for your work and for your life.

Tina Turner sang, “What’s love got to do with it?” The answer is, “Everything!”

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do” ~ Steve Jobs

Photo of Steve Jobs, smiling and with hands tenting in front of him.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do” ~ Steve Jobs

Chinese New Year’s Eve in Hong Kong many years ago, I looked around at my team, all working feverishly on the last day to get the shipments out before all international shipments shut down for two weeks to celebrate the biggest holiday of the year. My eyes misted over realizing that they were here for love. Love for the work, love for our customers, and love for us as a team. People exert themselves when they feel that they are making a positive difference, doing something they value, and in appreciation and camaraderie with their teammates, leader, and organization.

How do you ensure that you are following your dream and loving what you do for work? Know your life purpose. Many successful executives I coach confirmed what I’ve found personally, you achieve a higher level of success and happiness when you shift from doing what you have been told would make you happy, to listening to your own inner wisdom. You have your own interests and talents, and when you align them with your work and life, naturally you will attain greater results and satisfaction!

While walking on the beach a short while ago, I met a Hawaiian surf fisherman who shared some fish and life philosophy with me. Our interaction reminded me of how doing…

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Marilyn Tam

Marilyn Tam, global speaker, best selling author (The Happiness Choice), business leader and humanitarian. Formerly the CEO of Aveda, President Reebok, VP Nike