System #7: Love

Josh Steimle
Dec 21, 2018 · 7 min read

It’s often the only difference between positive and negative influence. If you don’t care, your influence may be based on fear, force, or fraud, leading it to be negative and short term. A lack of love makes influence self centered and transactional. Love breeds trust and long-term loyalty. It’s what makes someone say “Even though my last transaction with you was negative for me, I’m sticking with you because I know you are coming from a place of love.”

When it comes to influence love is perhaps the most important thing. Your audience will put up with a lot of weakness in your content if they know you’re coming from a place of love.

Love is a system because as Stephen R. Covey taught, love is a verb. It’s not something you either have or not, it’s something we all have to some degree, and we can all work on it to increase it.

[taken from LinkedIn short course, needs rewriting for book]

LinkedIn is NOT a dating website. I want to make that clear right here at the beginning, before anyone misunderstands me.

The Greeks had four different words for what they saw as four different kinds of love. “Storge” was love for one’s family or kin, “philia” was the love you have for a friend, “eros” was sexual and romantic love, and divine love was “agape.” When we say “I like you as a friend, but…” what we’re really saying is “I feel philia for you, but not eros.” When it comes to LinkedIn, the kind of love we’re talking about is also most definitely not eros. Sorry, it’s not you, it’s me.

LinkedIn Overhaul Step #7 — Learn To Love

Perhaps the easiest way to describe the kind of love highly influential people on LinkedIn have, the kind of love you want to also have, is to show how it applies in three other areas we already discussed:

  1. Vision
  2. Audience
  3. Collaborators

Love For Your Vision. When you love your vision, it shows. This love can best be described as enthusiasm, passion, excitement, or keen interest. It’s a key component of authenticity, because we can sense when someone has a clear idea of what they want to accomplish and they’re pursuing it with intensity. That kind of intense interest breeds trust.

For example, imagine you started a shoe company for trail runners, but you’re not a trail runner. In fact, you’re not interested in trails, running, shoes, or fitness generally. What you’re interested in is starting a successful business that will be highly profitable, and you did some analysis and found that this is a market niche where you can make a lot of money.

It’s not a bad thing to want to own a successful company that makes good money, but what if someone comes along who has all the business skills you do, but is also an avid trail runner? This person loves getting out there on the trails, running in races, and wants to do nothing more than talk about trail running. Who is going to be committed to this business when times get tough? Who is going to see it through, no matter what? Who is going to pour everything she has into it? If you weren’t an entrepreneur, but an outside investor, who would you rather invest in?

Is your vision a means to an end, or something you love, something you’re passionate about in and of itself?

Love For Your Audience. Remember when we talked about finding your ideal audience back in email #3? I said that one of the ways you know you’ve found your ideal audience is because they energize you. That’s part of loving your audience, but it’s not enough.

In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey said that love is a verb. If love were only a feeling, we’d constantly be confused about who we love, because there is no one who energizes us 100% of the time. Even when we’ve found our ideal audience we’ll sometimes get drained and tired and need a break. If you ever feel this way that doesn’t mean you chose the wrong audience, it might mean you need to serve them better.

When my first child was born, a daughter, I expected that I would hold her for the first time and this amazing feeling would come over me and there would be an instant bond. Instead, I felt nothing. I mean, she was cute and everything, but no more than any other baby. Was something wrong with me? I wasn’t sure, and I was afraid to talk about it with anyone.

Over the next several weeks I did what new dads do. I changed her diaper, bathed her, held her, and talked to her. I short, I served her. As the weeks passed, I noticed my feelings change. I started to feel a special affection for my daughter, and the more I invested time in serving her, the more that love grew.

Excitement, logic, and reason might help you find your ideal audience, but if you’re struggling to feel that excitement then try serving more deeply. You might find that love for your audience is not something magical that appears out of nowhere, but rather the tangible result of the service you provide to them.

Love For Your Collaborators. When you are filled with love, collaborators will flock to you. People love to work with people who are passionate about what they do. Perhaps there is an evolutionary component to this. It’s not difficult to imagine that someone who loves what he does is more likely to be successful at it than another person who does it out of mere necessity. Which caveman would be more likely to survive; the one who sees hunting as a pleasurable art form and the health of his family and clan as happiness, or the one who sees hunting as necessary for survival and his clan as a burden? Which type of caveman would you rather have in your clan?

When you are passionate about your vision and love your audience, it’s magnetic, it’s inspiring, and partners will want to work with you. They’ll want to work with you not just because it’s more exciting, but because they sense the likelihood of success.

Love Covers Up A Lot Of Mistakes

A friend of mine and I were once talking about our parents and the rough upbringing he had, and he said “You know, your dad can do a lot of things wrong but if you know he loves you, it covers up a lot of mistakes.”

If your heart is in the right place, you don’t have to execute everything else in these lessons perfectly. In fact, you can make a lot of mistakes but if you truly care, your audience will forgive you.

Homework: Learn To Love

To build your capacity to love and demonstrate your love, follow these steps:

  1. Find an individual from your audience, preferably one who is in need and highly unlikely to ever pay you for your services.
  2. Ask this individual to meet in person, talk over a call, or communicate via email. Tell them you want to better understand his or her need for the services you provide. Ask lots of questions. Try not to give any advice or make any commitments to help, just listen and learn as much as you can.
  3. Create a plan for this individual, free of charge. You may be limited in how much you can help. If you sell an expensive product, perhaps you cannot give it away for free, but perhaps you can provide advice on choosing the right type of that product, or on using that product, or find other solutions as substitutes for it. If you offer a service, perhaps you can provide a limited amount of it for free. Do not do this as an attempt to get them to sign up and pay you. Do it with the idea that you will never receive any compensation for your actions.

An example of how this might play out is to imagine that you’re an expert at video, and you want to get involved in thought leadership to bring more attention to yourself so you can charge more for your video services. You might find a charity or struggling small business to provide advice or services to on a limited basis for three months, at no charge.

The magic is that when we serve others, with no thought of compensation, we will begin to have feelings of love for them. If you want to love your audience, serve your audience, and you will learn to love them. This love will manifest itself in all your interactions on LinkedIn. It will affect your content, your comments, and all your other communication, and people will notice.

You are a special human being. You have knowledge in your head that other people need access to. Nobody can deliver it the way you can. I hope this brief email course will help you get started on a path to LinkedIn influence that will allow you to utilize your genius zone, connect with your ideal audience, create compelling content, and turn your vision into reality.

Case Studies

Negative uses of false love. Politicians who convince constituents they care in order to get votes and maintain power.

CEOs who act as though they care, but in the end it’s all about the bottom line.

CEOs who manage to care, even when the bottom line forces decisions they’d rather not make.


“Only the warm heart can kindle warmth in another.” –David O. McKay

“Love is the foundation of all learning.” –Pestalozzi



Josh Steimle

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Writer, speaker, entrepreneur.