When you own a business, one of the many things you worry about is the ROI—the return on your investment. It’s one way to measure the growth and profitability of your company.

But an ROI isn’t just a measuring tool in business. It’s an expectation in everyday life.

Follow me here: When you take an action, you expect results. When you turn the key in your car’s ignition, you expect the car to start. When you push a sequence of numbers on your phone, you expect to talk to a specific person. When you work at a company, you expect to be paid.

In other words, the action you take is an investment—whether you’re working, talking to your kids, paying the bills, or hanging out with friends. You put something in and expect something back. When you give your time, energy, talents and money, you look for something to happen—a positive outcome or payoff or benefit for that effort. And most of the time, those actions will produce good results. Here are a few ways that your actions pay off.

Return on Investing in Yourself

Whether you’re a business leader or a busy mom, you need to invest in yourself. That can take lots of forms—attending a class, eating healthier, setting good boundaries, learning to say no. When you invest in yourself, you’ll have more energy, better ideas, a wider perspective and stronger relationships.

Think about the other side of the coin. If you don’t invest in yourself, what’s the return? Is there a benefit or payoff? No. But there are consequences. Stress. Depression. Poor decision-making. Damaged relationships. You get the point.

Return on Intentionality

When you’re intentional, you do things with purpose. Meaning. Direction. You’re clear on what you want to accomplish, and you follow through with targeted and planned actions. If you’re intentional with your money, you know where it needs to go and you give it permission to leave. If you’re intentional with your time, you don’t waste it on rabbit trails that won’t get you to your goal.

If you don’t live with meaning and purpose, you get a result as well. You’ll do what others want, even if it’s not what you value. You’ll spend your money like others—and swim in debt and regret. You’ll repeat the same mistakes and wonder why your life makes no progress.

Return on Involvement

If you’re a hard-charging, visionary leader who likes to get things done, you may struggle with involving other people in the process. It’s easier to do things yourself. That way you know the work gets done with your level of excellence, right? That may work for a while, but isolation has a cost.

When you play the Lone Ranger, you bear all of the weight—and that can be exhausting both physically and mentally. But when you let others in on your vision and work, you benefit from their strengths and you can grow your business exponentially.

Involvement has another side, too. It’s not just about others knowing you—it’s you knowing others. There’s a price to pay when you’re not involved in others’ lives, whether it’s in business or in your family. When you’re disconnected from your team members or your family, you don’t know what’s going on with them. What motivates them? What worries them? What makes them proud? If you don’t know those things, you won’t be able to help them grow and achieve their potential.

Involving other people—and being involved in others’ lives—builds relationships and increases communication. It allows you to speak into their lives and offers you the chance to learn from them, too. And that’s a good thing.

 Investing in yourself, living intentionally, and involving others can lead to great ROIs. But inaction also has its consequences. The good news is that you alone get to decide the kinds of investments you make. Choose wisely.

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