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Your Personal ROI

In business, no matter the product or service being offered, the board of directors or stakeholders will often ask, “what’s the ROI?”

ROI stands for Return On Investment. Simply stated, it is the financial return or profit earned from the money invested in producing the product or in offering a particular service. It’s what you have left over once you have subtracted the expenses from the revenue.

The question being posed today is what is your “personal” ROI? What have you earned or received from the investment of time, money and effort that you’ve placed in your business or organization? This question goes well beyond a financial gain. Money is easy to calculate. However, one does not often put pen to paper to calculate the level of joy, contentment, or self-respect they gain from doing a particular job.

About 25 years ago, I became discontented with career as a newspaper journalist. It was a strange feeling because I actually enjoyed my job. I liked my co-workers and my supervisor. The pay wasn’t the best, but I was getting by financially. What I discovered is that while I was good at my job and enjoyed the work, my ROI was extremely low. I knew that I was meant to be doing something else. I was being drawn to serve people in a different way.

So, with my knees knocking and teeth shattering, I took the leap and left my job. I maintained my love for writing, but I now use that gift to lead a team of people at Goodwill Industries whose mission is to help others find their ROI through the power of work. Realizing that I could make an even bigger impact by focusing on corporate and nonprofit executives, I also help leaders build capacity, expand their missions, and develop a culture of belonging within their organizations.

If you have a nagging feeling of discontent regarding your vocation, then ask yourself these four questions:

1. Does my career/job give me life?

2. Does it align with my core values?

3. Does it cause me to grow or am I stagnant?

4. Am I helping or serving others to the best of my ability?

The answers may surprise you. You may discover, as I did, that while you’re not miserable, your ROI could be much greater if you sought other ways to make an impact on your community and the world.

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