Return. On. Investment.

My husband and I?  We are hard workers.  We value our work, what we have to offer our employers, and we have a good idea of where we want to end up.  As moguls.  Obviously.  So it’s with more than a little embarrassment that I admit we are not doing all we can to be successful.  In fact…we’re totally “calling it in” on a couple of fronts.

I’ve spent much of my career trying to convince executives that they will have fabulous return on investment if they partner with my organization.  It’s the easiest way for them to understand the true benefits of working with me.  I’ve heard talk of ROI for years, read countless articles about it, and it’s been a constant part of my professional consciousness for years.

You know where it hasn’t been top of mind?  Anywhere outside of the office.  By day I’ve worked to be more efficient, to spend time on the things that matter most, and to avoid wasting time on things that simply won’t give me any ROI.  By night/weekend/personal life, however, I’ve just gone through life trying to do my best day by day.

Recently my husband and I were taking a good hard look at our upcoming year.  This is what we came up with:

  • A for one, his job is as demanding as ever, maybe even more so than usual.  
  • B for two, he’s in school again this trimester so things like studying and writing papers are always looming over his (our) head(s).  
  • C for three, we have house projects that remain incomplete (cough…cough…the bathroom).  
  • D for four, I have a new job that is far more demanding of my time and my brain.  
  • E for five, I lead two Girl Scout troops (why?!).  
  • F for six, we have two little girls who are involved in two activities each.  
  • G for seven, my husband has a small business that he continues to run on the side.  
  • H for eight, he also has a new venture in mind that I think has truly amazing potential.  
  • And I for nine, every once and awhile, we like to do things for fun.

As we evaluated all of the things on our plates, most of it really good and positive things that are moving us in the right direction, I started thinking about ROI.  Yesterday I had this revelation.  I emailed my husband proclaiming that THIS was going to be the year in which we only do things that give us good ROI for our time/money/energy.  You know how I love my proclamations.  He agreed whole heartedly, and yet we spent the rest of the day scrambling to get something done hurriedly for the side business, wondering the whole time if that wasn’t one of the things we should consider letting go.

I’m not sure if you’ve heard but I’m pretty committed to making this a sparkly, and magical, and joyous, and profitable, and successful year.  I had a rough (and I mean ROUGH) time with 36 (let’s recall my decision to dye my hair brown), but I’m feeling particularly hopeful and excited for my 37th year.  I know that in order for me to make this a really good year I have to be willing to do some self-analysis.  And if I think of the past several years in terms of ROI, it’s very very clear to me that I have probably wasted quite a bit of my energy on things that will never give me anything in return.  In fact, I have spent quite a bit of energy and heartache and work into things that have actually made my life harder (nice work smarty pants!).

There are particular relationships in which I have invested what feels like decades worth of blood, sweat, and tears.  And guess what?  They haven’t improved.  This past Fall I finally hit a wall, took a step back, and decided I needed to walk away.  For my sanity and so I could continue to be the kind of woman I actually want to be.  The relationships were making me ugly and unrecognizable to myself.  Seriously?  Walking away was one of the best things I’ve done in all of my 36 years.

Just yesterday, I was pulled into a little bit of drama involving said people, and instantly my blood pressure rose.  My adrenaline kicked into high gear.  And I was reminded just how gross it felt to be “in it.”  Last night, as I tried to go to sleep and my mind was racing I reminded myself that allowing my mind to spin and allowing the drama to seep into my life was going to offer absolutely no ROI.  And in the light of day, when I think about that, it seems completely ridiculous to do anything that doesn’t offer me a little return.  Even if it’s teensy.

I want to spend this year in enchantment.  Spinning minds, and wasted energy (and money), and wondering over and over if doing something or being in a relationship with someone is worth it is not going to leave me feeling enchanted.  It’s going to lead to nowhere and leave me feeling tired and annoyed.  I think it’s time for my husband and I to look at some of the things on our plates and think of it like we would any professional endeavor.  Things need to be worth it.  And they should be on the path that leads to how we want to feel and where we want to be.  Moguls…obviously…and stupidly happy.

TODAY:  What if I look at the things we take-on in our personal lives as I would if I were at work?  What if I measure the potential ROI before taking things on, or continuing to do things that currently feel fruitless?

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