| |

Learning: The New ROI

Source: Unsplash
Source: Unsplash

Whatever it is you’re building, creating, or advancing, when you think of your return on investment, weigh it on what you learn in the process. This is often over looked or not calculated into the final ROI at all.


I laid out rows of three acorns on the lawn.

Me: “How many rows of three are there?”
7-year-old: “Foherr” (she rolls her ‘r’s as if she were French).
Me: “So, how much is 3 times 4?”
7-year-old: “Twelve!”

We continued for about 20 more minutes with various acorn mathematics I’d invented on the spot. Last year, my daughter had difficulty with some first-grade math. Acorn math was my attempt to make something abstract as number and dots on a line for a young artist’s mind both concrete and enjoyable.

But behind my drive to teach, is my drive to learn.

Love of learning has gotten me a long way, and in the early 21st-century the return on what you learn will get you a long way, too.

After my first online workshop last year a friend asked me, “Was it worth it?” His implication was did we earn enough income to justify the expenditures. Yes, I said, but there are other ways of looking at return on investment than short-term bottom line.

One factor is the return on what you learn.

You’ve possibly invested a considerable sum in your business-building and brand-building or book-building. You can correlate any such investment with what financial return you’ve seen from that investment. But factor in as well what you learned. You can learn directly from advice, consulting, and programs you invest in. But what you really learn is what you test out and implement yourself. Then, once you test it, reflect and assimilate it.

Before executing any big decision – be it hiring someone new on your team or launching a new product – take stock of what you want to learn and what you need to learn.

Make a simple learning plan:

  • knowledge you need to learn or hone

  • skills you need to learn or hone

  • strategies you need to learn or hone

Then learn by doing.

If you’re truly assimilating knowledge, skills, and strategies along the way, they’re transferable, and with transferable skills and strategies you become all the more versatile.

And then you learn by reflecting. After a launch, conduct an improvement review. After my online workshop was complete, my assistant Erin and I stayed online to make a list of what we thought could be even better next time as well as a list of what we thought worked. My team and I do a similar review every single event and launch.

I’ve developed complex courses and workshops over the years but I wasn’t sure if the online medium could allow for intimacy of ideas.

Knowledge: I needed to research facts about the number of blogs published online these days (a mind-boggle), and I needed to pull some concrete examples to illustrate key points.

Skills & Strategies: I learned (and re-learned) the promotion, messaging, work sheet set-up, exercise facilitation, and preparation & run-through rehearsal necessary to run an online workshop near-seamlessly. But here’s the thing: I’ve deliberately grown my business so that more team members are taking care of behind-the-scenes operations so I can focus on what I love – to research, organize, orchestrate, deliver, and engage. And love it online I do.

In holding the workshop, I remembered that people need and want safe, thoughtful space to give voice to their ideas. They need and want to be heard. They need and want to learn to listen, openly. These factors are as important if not more so than the knowledge, skills, and strategies themselves – although those do matter.

For a $49 investment, each participant not only learned the knowledge and frameworks. Many of them also learned why their ideas mattered to them and to other people across the United States. Some of them learned that they shared core values and convictions with others. And they learned hands-on, practical ways to start shaping and making the most of their online content to make a difference with those ideas. We took something as nebulous as blogging, content development, and even branding, and made them into concrete, practical steps. Brroken down they became enjoyable, meaningful and actionable.

And there is the return in the heart – which, for me and so many others (probably you, too) means having exponential impact. Certain emotional experiences drive me, among them gratitude, impact, and innovation (i.e., changing things up).

So for all of that, the workshop was more than “worth it.”

My 7-year-old gradually collected the acorns and asked if we could build a faerie house.

“Gladly,” I said, and learned how acorns can be used as delicate faerie lanterns.

If this blog speaks to you I invite you to join our The Tracking Wonder Quest Community. This is  a community of professionals, entrepreneurs, creatives, teachers, coaches, and consultants dedicated to doing Business As Unusual. I’d be pleased to have you join us.

Share This Article:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *