The Tremendous ROI of Self-Development Work

A week or so ago as I was sending speaking inquiries to different professional groups I received a quick response from one group that said “with budget cuts companies will only send people to conferences if they can prove they will come back with skills to help the bottom line”. It went on to say that what I offer seemed too much like self-development so they weren’t interested. It got me to thinking once again about how little we acknowledge the ROI of the things that truly matter.

I’m certainly not against skills training. Believe me if I get seriously ill and need surgery I want a highly skilled surgeon. That being said I also want one who is a whole human being who can relate to me as a person. As a technology professional for many years I also know the value of skills. Yet at the end of the day it is the person behind those skills that makes things succeed or fail. Otherwise, the world would just be filled with machines like in the movie I, Robot taking care of business efficiently, cheaply, and by rote.

Those of us who have experienced a quantum shift or even a significant change that came slowly over time innately KNOW there is no dollar figure you could even put on the ROI and the impact it has had on our lives. I just came back from a four day Radical Aliveness Retreat with Dr. Susan Rangitsch. During a powerful process I was able to lay down a huge limiting belief I have carried with me my entire life. It has limited my potential, the richness of my relationships, and in some ways the fullness of my life. So does that mean it was worth the $650 I paid for the retreat? Now is that a ridiculous question or what?! Yet there is some short-sighted bean counter out there that would ask that question and try to fit it into a formula. DUH. Let me tell you that whether you believe coincidences are divinely perfect or a load of crap, I received business inquiries while I was gone that I could have never masterminded on my own worth multiple times the cost of the retreat. Does that count as ROI?

Therein lies the problem… often we don’t look at the true value of the money energy we let flow into and out of our lives. Sometimes it is not as easy as A+B/C but rather exponential.

Take this acknowledgment of the power of personal growth from Leslie’s Pro Sem Blog:

The one weakness I definitely DO NOT possess is: “May explode with terrible tempers when under extreme stress” –I absolutely never do that. I used to be more volatile, but I’ve done so much mindfulness meditation that I have good control of my emotions. Those weeks spent shivering in a cold, dark cell in a Buddhist monastery contemplating of my emotions and desires have yielded me more ROI than probably anything else I’ve done in my life.

Now work back in the equation…do you think she went to a monastery contemplating ROI? I don’t know her, but I doubt it. Yet so many women try to rationalize why they cannot afford the very thing that would make the biggest difference in their life.

Delores Williams makes an interesting point in “I’m increasing my net worth with Twitter”:

Here’s the thing, they are all DOING something, and not just waiting for an armored truck full of cash to fall out of the sky. It seems to me that Donald Trump is right, that you can’t be the smartest person in the room, you have to have someone who is playing on a different level.

So, how do you think you get to play on a different level? With a Dummies Book and skills training? No, let’s try cultivating confidence, courage, taking risks, and showing up fully in your life.

Sometimes the very thing you need to create results is the most unlikely path. Whether that is spending time at a monastery, attending a retreat, taking an art class, or finding a coach, I’m here to tell you it can be the best investment you ever make.

If you are numbers oriented and need more facts and figures to feel good about self-development, consider there is an “ROI Myth-Busting” in action. Working on who you are along with what you do yields far more results than a laundry list of skills training. Don’t you think the person who shows up in their professional life feeling full and great because they nourished their creativity the night before makes a better co-worker and performs better than someone who stayed up all night checking work related emails? The latter might feel more productive but it is akin to the buzzed person behind the wheel of a car who feels sharper.

So in this day where traditional investment opportunities are bleak: real estate declining, stocks acting bipolar, and interest bearing accounts yielding ridiculously low rates, doesn’t it make sense to invest in the one commodity that will yield results ongoing – YOU?

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