Invest Like a Successful Leader

Talking with several financial successful business owners and leaders over dinner, the discussion started on how to invest in solar and wind energy before straying onto another energy investment: emotional energy.

Invest In The Right Things

If I’m honest, my earliest pictures of success look a lot like Daddy Warbucks and Ebenezer Scrooge, two guys known for stinginess with both time and money. As a child watching these make-believe characters, I assumed that selfishness had a hand in their make-believe successes.

But I heard something very different from non-fictional successful business leaders.

Practice an abundance mindset when it comes to your time and money.

Look for ways to invest generously in high-potential people and activities.

What does that look like? One leader brought an immigrant employees’ entire family to the United States. Another bought a van for one of his best employees to use for work and to take the soccer team the employee coached back and forth to games.

How does that kind of investment create ROI? Imagine the engagement and loyalty these acts of kindness create. Imagine how good it would feel to work for a leader who cared this much for the people in her employ.

And almost all of them mentioned that they bring trainers in-house to develop and motivate their employees. Money spent increasing the skill and engagement of employees is considered a high ROI activity.

This kind of generosity seems to contradict the entrepreneurs on Shark Tank that focus on “hard dollar” ROI exclusively, and I said as much.

One leader from Jamaica said something like this: “But time, money, and even rest are renewable. Give too much one day, you’ll make it up the next. I believe in business karma. Do good things, and good things will come back to you.”  

Refuse to Invest In The Wrong Things

Some leaders admonished against investing in certain industries or parts of the world. Others warned against wasting time trying to become an expert in every part of the business instead of hiring good people and letting them be the experts.

But most leaders told me they avoid investing in anything that takes more than it gives.

I loved the simple yet actionable ways these leaders explained how  prevent their energy from being drained-

Avoid envy or jealousy.

Focus on what you have, not on what others have that you want.

Avoid worry.

If you have time to worry, you have time to take action steps towards a meaningful goal.

Avoid letting elephants stay in the room.

Either confront the elephant or change rooms! Life’s too short to tip-toe around others or try to wish problems away.

Avoid procrastinating difficult, important tasks.

The cure for procrastination is getting started.

Avoid over-commitment.

Balance your priorities between “strategic things” that build the business and “shit you have to do” that keeps the lights on. And learn when to say YES to doing something for yourself.

Avoid the pressure of trying to live up to the expectations others put on you.

Learn to say, “Fortunately, I don’t hold that expectation for myself.” Focus on your expectations of yourself and of your business instead of trying to be all things to all people.

Avoid obsessing over losses.

We can learn more from losses than wins. Hold onto the lessons of failure, but don’t allow a failure to define you.

“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” ~ Johnny Cash

How do you renew your emotional energy or prevent your energy from getting drained?


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