For the past few weeks I’ve been writing about the seasons of life everyone goes through. I introduced you to the three seasons in my first post, and then wrote about the season of learning and the season of earning. And what’s made me so excited to share with you is the level of engagement you’ve brought to the process! Your comments and observations have been so encouraging, and have really added value to this series. Thank you.
This week, I want to wrap up with the season of increased returning. And I have to say—this is my favorite season. My passion is adding value to leaders who multiply value to other leaders, and this season of returning is right in that wheelhouse. You see, returning is all about giving back what you’ve received. It can be financial, it can be time, it can even be gratitude—the point is to not hold back when you see an opportunity to give back.
The season of increased return is all about investment. It’s being able to give from your abundance in ways that make a difference. To borrow from my book Intentional Living, the season of returning is the season of significance—using your success to impact the lives of others around you.
As I’m currently in my season of returning, I want to share the three areas where I’m currently investing. I believe these are the areas of greatest return, and anyone of any age can begin investing in them today. In fact, I recommend it because when you invest in these areas early, the dividends pay off for a lifetime.
And trust me—these areas offer a much higher return than any stock tip!
The season of returning often happens later in life, and I don’t think that’s an accident. If you’ve been intentional in your seasons of learning and earning, then with age come resources. It’s out of those resources that you’re able to give back to the people in your sphere of influence.
One of the best ways I know to invest in people is through mentoring them. It’s no secret that I’ve benefited greatly from the many mentors who’ve invested in me, and I am committed to passing along that legacy to people in my life. In fact, I’m going to write more about the value of mentoring in next week’s blog post, and it’s part of the reason why my team and I launched Maximum Impact Mentoring. There’s no substitute for having a mentor who invests in your life.
I’ve often said that people are the only appreciable asset in an organization—but it’s true in any area of life. Family, friends, co-workers, even strangers on the street are worthy of your time and wisdom. By investing in another person, you can create a legacy that will impact the world and outlive you.
People aren’t the only place where you need to invest. Chances are you have something you’re passionate about—in fact, if you’re living with intentionality, that passion has helped drive your life! But if you’re still not sure what your passion is, here are three questions you can ask yourself to help get you on the right track.
What do you cry about? These are things that break your heart and make you want to take action.
What do you sing about? These are things that bring you joy and give you energy for work.
What do you dream about? These are things that inspire you to do something to change the world.
Good causes, charities, and local needs are all excellent places for you to discover or express your passion. There are always good people doing good work on behalf of others, who can use someone with your experience to join the mission. And you never know when that mission might become your own, which brings me to my final area of investment.
A few years ago a friend approached me about a business opportunity. It had great potential, but like any great idea, it had some potential downsides. I had to really consider the risk versus the reward. In the end, I chose to invest in the people and the potential of the idea, and I’m sure glad I did: today, the John Maxwell Team has over 6,000 certified coaches who add value to people far beyond my reach. And many of them have partnered with me to take transformational leadership lessons to the world. We’ve been to Guatemala and Paraguay together and trained over 40,000 people in roundtables. And we’re planning to do a lot more!
I’m so glad I chose to invest in Scott Fay and Paul Martinelli. I can’t tell you how rewarding it’s been to see them thrive because of our partnership. My willingness to give back to them has resulted in their giving back to me several times over. It’s a beautiful example of what my friend Zig Ziglar said so many years ago: “If you’ll help people get what they want, they’ll help you get what you want.”
We are surrounded with opportunities to invest in our world every day. All we have to do is look for them and take action. That doesn’t mean you have to do something for everyone, but you should do at least one thing for someone. As Mother Teresa said, “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time, and always start with the one nearest you.” Whether you invest in people, passion, or potential, there’s nothing like returning to others what was invested in you.