On a daily basis, I work with a lot of numbers. I didn’t set out to find a corporate number crunching job, it just evolved into that over the years. I run lots of reports, spend a lot of time in Excel, create lots of graphs and try to explain the cause behind the results. Often, I’m asked what’s the ROI (return on investment) to prove to our clients their money is well spent and we are delivering the results they expected. When you spend nine hours a day, five days a week doing this type of work it’s hard for it to not spill into other areas of your life.
How many of us think about ROI as it relates to our children? I’m sure we’ve all imaged what it would be like if our child was a star athlete or performer and the house they’d buy us with their first big check. That kind of ROI would be very clear cut. But what about the times when you’re thinking - I left work early, drove them to practice, got the materials for the school project and made dinner - what ROI do I get for that? Maybe a “thank you” if I’m lucky. As parents, we know that all of this is just part of the job, but that’s a hard thing to remember when you are tired and in the thick of it.
Maybe you are thinking, this doesn’t apply to me. I give to my children freely and have never thought for one moment about what kind of return I’m getting beyond hugs and love. That is a fair response, so let me put things another way. When your child plays with their toys, do you want them to clean them up afterward? If they don’t clean up, what happens? Do you happily do it for them, never giving it another thought? Or do you push and prod (and maybe even punish) them when the job doesn’t get done? What about this scenario - when your child goes to school, do you want them to try their best to get good grades? What happens when they bring home a grade you know does not reflect their potential? Do you brush it off because it’s no big deal? Or do you take away screen time until the grade comes back up?
Whether you realize it or not you have set specific expectations for your child (and everyone else in your life, but we’ll focus on your child for this blog). These expectations are the “return on investment” you are expecting to see. When expectations are not met, we react and often not in a good way. Many expectations are formed within our heads without us giving them much thought. It’s only when you are disappointed that something didn’t work out the way you wanted, that you realize you had the expectation in the first place. It takes a lot of practice to identify those expectations and then decide whether the return you thought was important is really necessary.
When I talk to my clients about ROI, there is money at stake and they need to see they are receiving value in return for their investment. As a parent your investment involves not only money, but time, energy and most of all love. Love is unlimited. You have an endless supply. You will never run out. If you never run out, then does it matter what you get in return?
The holidays are here! Let’s set up time to talk. Direct message or email me at balancedheartcoaching.com and we’ll set up time this week to get you ready for whatever might come your way.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to have deeper conversations beyond "How are you?", "Busy", with other parents. Over the years I've shared personal stories, articles, authors and topics to facilitate conversations with parents about the joys and the challenges of parenting.