The many returns of the day, Part 4 – What is your ROE?

Return on EnergyWelcome back! We are continuing our conversation about achieving a positive rate of return on our investments outside of invested cash.

Even though this is our final segment in this series, I hope that the conversation itself will not end here.

Our investments and intentions for them are a critical part of how we achieve the life and work that is most rewarding for us in any given season in our life.

In this segment we are talking about ROE or Return on Energy. This was covered briefly in our last segment where we talked about relationships and the “E” factor within those investments. However, since energy goes well beyond relationships, it merits its own spotlight in the series.

Just as with learning and relationships, the first place we look at is not the return, it is the investment. Our investment in energy includes three areas: Physical, mental and spiritual.  Quite often we fail to really consider the source of our energy and what best serves us.

Physical energy may require some active review for you. One of the best ways to do this is by keeping an energy log for a week. Make a note of your energy level on a scale of 1 to 10 every hour. Keep this simple – just a simple note in a log you keep in a small notebook or even in your favored personal electronic device. I kept mine in my phone when I first did this.

It’s important to do this at a minimum of every hour so that you can later see patterns. A word of caution: Do not try and interpret your entries until the end of your logging period. Then look for trends. Is your energy higher in the mornings or evenings? Do you see any correlation to eating and energy? Are particular days of the week standing out as higher or lower?

Look for both the high and low spots and consider what is routinely happening. This will begin to paint the picture for you and distinguish where you will see changes related to your diet, physical activity levels, rest and hydration. You may want to also consider a tool such as a Fitbit or an app to help you monitor for these activities.

The log will also begin to show you where mental energies are manifesting in your physical realm.

One discovery of value for me from this was energy within the context of introvert and extrovert personalities. The basic difference is where energy is most quantifiably sourced. When I first went through this logging experiment is how I realized that I am in fact an introvert. I have a natural love of people and value my leadership roles. I would not have ever considered myself an introvert. But the logs showed otherwise. Solitary activities spiked my energy. Group activities depleted my energy.

If we know where we get the fuel, we can frequent those resources with the right expectation and level of investment. And if we know where our energies deplete, we can also better manage those investments as well.

The spiritual aspect of investment is one that is often overlooked as we may not recognize that the energy of our spirit is in fact the most critical. We can overcome lags in our physical or mental energy by leveraging our spiritual energy. If it were a rock, paper, scissors contest, spiritual energy would always trump the rest.

How do you invest in your spiritual energy? Some of the most effective ways for me have been journaling, prayer, meditation, spiritual readings and music. What fills your spirit? Go to that well and invest.

Remembering that there is risk and reward for all of our investments is the key to achieving the success we want in our life and work. Whether it is about our money, learning, relationships or energy it comes down to the same factors. Our results are a reflection of our priorities and choices.

Live (invest) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (invest) well!

The many returns of the day, Part 3- What is your ROR?

Return on RelationshipsIn this post we are returning to our series focused on achieving a positive rate of return on our investments outside of a purely financial measurement.

We are exploring the idea that where our money goes in and of itself is not really the indicator of what our future is going to look like. Our priorities and choices in every part of our life are a factor.

In this conversation we’re talking about ROR or Return on Relationships.

Are you strategic in your relationships? Remember that being strategic is simply beginning with the end in mind. We all have relationships. It is our perspective about their value and our respective roles in them where we begin to understand the idea of a return from our investment in them.

I’m sharing these thoughts just after I’ve returned from spending a full day with one of my master mind groups. These relationships have given me the priceless gift of hope. I learn from each of our members every time we meet. They have validated my gifts and inspired me to invest them more fully. It is just one example of how our relationships can be intentional and create a return.

Here are five things I would offer for you to consider to take these thoughts further:

1–Just as with learning, the first way to be certain you are getting a maximum return is to honestly assess whether or not you are investing in your relationships. We should always check ourselves first and be certain that we are doing our part.

Consider who is on your calendar more than what. Where are you intentionally building and investing in relationships that represent your values and your vision?

2- The second place we need to check is our expectation or intention. What is the purpose of the relationship? Are you clear about that? Is the other party clear about it as well? Clarity in relationships is crucial. So many times we are not getting what we need because we aren’t being clear about that with ourselves and the other person or people. This is most often where dissatisfaction begins: a lack of communication around our mutual needs.

This is a lesson I have seen demonstrated very clearly within our master mind. In this last meeting, Kyle Wilson, our mentor and leader started our day by asking us to meditate around our intention for the day in terms of what we wanted to receive first and then what we wanted to give. A powerful part of how we achieve maximum results is knowing the result we seek.

3- Next is reciprocity. This is not about keeping score. It’s about balance, harmony, give and take. What does the other person need from you? Are you actively engaged in meeting their needs? As Ralph Waldo Emerson stated: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations in life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

This could really have been 2a and 2b on the list but it’s important to highlight both sides of this particular coin. And there’s a reason that they are shown in the order they are. Many (most) of us are givers. That’s a good thing. Reciprocity is how you make certain you achieve balance. It is about giving AND taking. Review where you are on this point, even if you need to engage in a specific conversation about it.

Remember, it’s not for keeping score – it is about creating harmony and mutual value.

4- That brings us to what I call the “E” factor: Emotional and Energy returns. How do you feel about yourself in the relationship? How does the other person feel? Is your energy lifted or drained? In our next segment we will be talking about ROE or Return on Energy in more depth but it’s a clear factor specific to relationships.

I am a natural introvert. My energy comes from solitude and my personal creative processes. So this is a critical point for me. For my extrovert friends, being around others can almost always generate energy just because that is how they are wired. But for all of us, whether introvert or extrovert, the element of positive energy merits discussion. When we are invested in the right relationships our synergies make our time together empowering.  

#5- The final point is the horizon check: what’s changing for you? For them? What does that make possible for you and your relationship? What might need to shift in the relationship for it to hold and increase its value through those changes?

All of us go through transitions in our lives. Sometimes that is a natural course of changing seasons. Other times it comes from decisions about our work. The key is placing a value on core relationships within those changes.

When my work focus shifted it mandated a complete change in my personal network circles. I was not prepared for that. I had not nurtured or even developed relationships away from my work. This became a recognized value for me after that. Rather than starting with the work and seeing what relationships develop, seek the relationships and see what opportunities appear. A very different perspective and one that allows you to have agility within your personal and professional circles for growth in every area.

Five considerations to think about for driving positive investment actions in our relationships.

Remember that we are not meant to stay where we are. We are meant to grow. As Charlie Tremendous Jones taught – “Where we are in five years compared to where we are now is going to be determined by the books we read and the people we meet.” When we are strategic, those people will bring a positive influence and opportunities for all of us.

What makes these particular ideas valuable is that no matter what relationship we’re talking about, the same principles apply.

Whether it is our relationships within our family, with friends, colleagues or customers – we need to honestly review our investment, intentions, balance, energy responses and commitment to value them.

Following these guidelines can deliver confidence that the investments we make in others and our relationship with them is going to give both of us the highest possible return – a positive sense of self, who we are and our value in the world. How? Because we are creating a foundation that fosters and promotes that with every exchange.

Live (invest) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (invest) well!


The many returns of the day, Part 2- What is your ROL?

time to growIn this series we are talking about how we achieve a good rate of return on our investments outside of our money.

The reality is that where our money goes is really not our best indicator of what our future is going to look like.

Our priorities and choices in every part of our life are a factor.

What is in common across everything is that before we can have a return, we must invest.

You may be saying, Of course! I knew that. But in fact, the three areas we are going to explore together in many cases are not giving us the highest return possible because we are NOT really strategically investing in them. We may be experiencing them, but that is not the same as investing in them.

In part 2, we’re talking about ROL or Return on LEARNING. Are you a strategic learner? You can be curious, even a committed lifelong learner but again, while that is admirable (and important!) if we want a measurable return we have to have a clear intention AND investment.

It is in our learning strategy that we set our path for growth more than any other place. Here are five guidelines to help you as you create your own learning plan:

  1. Understand the difference between knowledge and skill and develop both.  Gaining knowledge on a subject to deepen expertise gets a different priority than learning how to do something. Make sure that you know what success looks like once you have gained knowledge or developed a skill. What should you be able to do once you’ve achieved it?
  2. Devote a minimum of 30 minutes daily to expanding your knowledge in your area of expertise and influence. As experts, remember that our role is also to act as curator or distiller of a vast bank of growing knowledge and create continued value. Make certain that you are including both established experts/mentors and emerging voices in your area of expertise in your study.
  3. Include personal skill building and development in your learning plan. This area is what I’ve come to think of as life harmony. When we say life balance it infers some kind of equality in how we distribute resources and that doesn’t prove realistic for me. But harmony is something I can (and do!) embrace. Harmony means we are making a place for all of the threads in our life. And when they are in sync we make music! What interests you as a person? Italian cooking? A particular art medium? If time and money were not a factor, what would you want to learn? Make a way to learn that! If you care about something, study it and practice it.
  4. Learn alone and in groups. Having the ability to interact about what we are learning can be invaluable in seeing innovative ways to apply the newly acquired knowledge. If taking a class with others doesn’t appeal to you, consider joining a master mind where you will be able to gain new insights and learn from other business leaders in the group. Taking advantage of today’s global technologies and joining learning communities on-line is another approach. It has been my experience that group settings are often my best place for learning outside of my primary work. They become a social community as well because our shared interest generates an immediate bond.
  5. Have a learning vision log.  Have you ever wanted to find the time to learn something and could never seem to do it?  Getting those areas of interest committed to a learning vision log gives you a place to refer to when creating your learning plan calendar. The time you allocate to learning can then be prioritized based on what you want to know vs. whatever comes across your path. Not sure where to start? Here are three ideas:

-What skills or knowledge do you respect and admire in others?

-What do you hire others to do for you today that you find interesting?

-If you could only learn three new things in the next year, what would you choose?

Being strategic about our personal and professional growth can and should be fun as well as immensely rewarding!

REMINDER: Achieving a RETURN begins with making an INVESTMENT. And STRATEGY simply means beginning with the end in mind.

What do you want to know? What do you want to master? What will help you create your best self and the life you want to live?

Live (learn) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (learn) well!

The Many Returns of the Day: What Investments Do You Measure?

GrowthIn our businesses we talk about achieving a good rate of return on investment or ROI.

We want to know that where we are investing our resources is providing us an adequate, even above average return.

We consider risk and reward as a part of this and most likely will not invest where the potential ROI (reward) doesn’t align to what we want to achieve.

It is about our priorities and choices.

All too often we limit these expectations (and conscious decisions) to where we are investing our money. We equate the idea of investment to what we are spending in terms of cash. This extends into our personal lives as well.

The reality is that for most of us, where our money is spent is not in fact the best place to focus for determining if we are getting our highest returns. There are at least three other areas of investment where when handled strategically and with a clear intention we can exponentially grow ourselves and our businesses at a much higher rate.

As we go into this new calendar year it is the perfect time to integrate this into our planning for how we are going to measure our results overall. The top three places we typically need an adjustment in setting expectations are learning, relationships and energy.

Do you have an investment plan covering these areas for yourself personally and professionally? If not, I would encourage you to step back and consider that, as Charlie “Tremendous” Jones taught, where we will be one year from now or five years from now is going to be the result of our learning and relationships. In his teaching it was “the books you read and people you meet”. Fast-forwarding to how we operate today, it is how we take in information and evolve our philosophies (learning) and our personal network (relationships).

The inclusion of energy is because it is one of the three primary resources we need to do anything (time, money, energy). While time and money are important, energy is often over-looked and even when we have the time and money we are simply out of steam (energy!) to do what we truly want to do. The overall return on energy in reality becomes the return we see for our life’s ultimate investment in what we care about and how we achieve that.

Join me over the course of this series to learn more about how you can be strategic and achieve much higher returns on your investments for learning, relationships and energy!

Live (invest) today like you want tomorrow to be. Live (invest) well!