I recently graduated with my degree in Advertising/Public Relations. As any of your mass comm types know, it’s pretty much your degree in constant sarcasm and hating yourself for being a creative/account planner/event planner/client coordinator/human being. Something that we are told over and over again is- “How does your return on investment look? What is your client going to get out of investing in your ideas?”
Now, things like this in the business world can be easily calculated. Look at your total reach, look at your budget, blah, blah, blah.. but how can we calculate the real ROI on a person? How do you know what you will get out of someone when you put something in?
I found myself today telling one of my girls, “what you invest into someone, they will invest in others.” You see, we were discussing her problems with a mutual friend, someone she would like to have a romantic relationship with, but feels as though he doesn’t care about his appearance, his future.. anything. I told her that he isn’t investing in his life because no one invested in him.
In my life, I have had people invest in me that should not have had to. While my parents did not invest in me, my teachers (shout out to Mrs. Minkley, Mrs. Maxfield, Mrs. Roberts, Ms. Zink, and Mrs. Thornton) in high school invested deeply in me. While others wanted to chalk me up to be just like my mother, these women saw the change in me. They saw brilliance and intelligence. Sometimes they saw attitude, which they combated with their own. They won, in case you were wondering. They invested in my education, yes, but more into my spirit. They encouraged me to go to college, to be better, to live better, to love without any expectation of return.
(It’s also National Teacher Appreciation Day, so thank you to every great educator in my life, especially to the ones listed in this blog. Thank you for loving me, always.)
As I transitioned into college, I had an amazing professor who scared me to death, but showed me my path and my voice. She was, and always will be, the most influential part of my career. Her name was Dr. Leigh Browning, you should Google her. I began to understand what I was good at, what I understood. I ran with it. I joined the National Student Advertising Team as a freshman and learned the hardest lessons come from investing in an experience.
As I grew in my college experience, I was given the opportunity to travel to beautiful Bolivia with the Readership Ambassador Program at West Texas A&M. As I invested in the traveler’s spirit, I gained the experience of a lifetime, all with friends who would soon prove to be family.
Soon, I joined Alpha Sigma Alpha. At this point, I invested my whole soul into the organization and into my sisters, who are the most important people in my life now. I invested in our philanthropic partners, (Special Olympics, S. June Smith Center, Girls on the Run, and the Alpha Sigma Alpha Foundation) and into the a community of peers that I never thought I’d be a part of.
So, how could you calculate the return on investment in me? What did those people who spent their time and love on me get from doing so?
The answer is plainly this- nothing.
You see, the thing about investing in others is sometimes you see none of the return. You see no gratitude, no huge change, no fireworks. But, sometimes the things you can’t see matter the most. While my teachers invested in me, they can’t physically see what they invested, but it’s there.
I became compassionate, intelligent, observant, charismatic, loving, accepting, God-fearing, creative, intuitive, and about a million other things.
All because people decided to take a chance on the possibility of who I may have become. Thank you to everyone who planted a dream in my galaxy, who planted a seed of love in my heart – I now sprout love and I’m in love with the flowers that spring from my rib cages. You’ve made me into my own secret garden.
So, to everyone who is wondering if what you’re putting into a person will matter, if you’re wondering what you could gain from investing into someone you care for.. Don’t forget that we are called to do so. It matters to the person you’re caring for, whether they show it or not.
Keep investing, friends.