"You treat a disease, you win, you lose. You treat a person, I guarantee you, you’ll win, no matter what the outcome."

- Patch Adams

Mosaic Blog

    Was He Ever Invested?
    Christine Cress - Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    When you're an investor, you can look at the quantitative and qualitative elements of an investment, but there's a third aspect: What you feel in your gut. Kevin O'Leary

    This summer, I've arranged for my tween son to have a first-year college student as a mentor/friend. He comes to our house once a week to work on a special project and talk about "stuff". Clearly, my son is smitten with this guy - the attention, the fact that he gets to hang with someone "so old", and that his younger brother has to stay out of it. My boy, notorious for one word answers, can talk non-stop for a couple of hours with this guy. It's perfect. 

    Two weeks into this "new relationship", my son pauses and says "Will T be here next summer too?" When I truthfully replied "I guess we will have to see what the future holds", you could see my son's shoulders slump and he started to stare out the window. In his decade on the planet, my son has seen his grandpa and his furry four-legged first love pass away. His all time favorite nanny left without notice upon finding her life partner. Some friends have changed schools. And his family has been redefined by divorce. He's learned through common but traumatic life events that nothing lasts forever and already, he's wondering around what corner impermanence lurks with respect to his summer mentor. (This will get to you soon...hang on a second....)

    I know him. He's looking ahead to when the end will appear and in the midst of his giddiness, is wondering just how close to get. He's deciding right now how invested he's going to be. Because he knows...from experience...that being invested can result in hurt. I could go on about what we talked about but I'll skip that and pose the question to you... Do you ever assess the risk of investment? Are you conscious of when you do it or it sort of automatic? 

    Once during a corporate team building event, I posed the question to a team member, "What is one question you want to ask your new director?" (This was part of a re-build of a department that had had leadership vacancies for a while and previously had 4 directors in as many years.) Her response was "I want to know - Do you own or do you rent?" That was telling!! A  lot like my son the other night, she was assessing what HER level of investment would be. What happens if we habitually hold back? Protect ourselves from loss? How do we show up when we have that protective mindset? And how then does that impact the outcome of our situation? 

    I know for me, I am much less happy and expressive when I'm cautiously investing in a situation or a person. Now...of course we all need to check things out and use critical thinking to assess the safety of our circumstances. I'm not talking about throwing discernment out the window. But when caution is used in an attempt to lessen negative outcomes on an unconscious or habitual basis, you could be robbing yourself of the job and possibilities available right now. We've all encountered certain situations where protection, caution, holding back was the wise and good thing to do. But for today, take a look under the hood for a sec... and ask yourself, "Do I hold back more than I should?" What would happen if I did that less often? Who might benefit from my choice to invest more of myself? Jot down some of your thoughts in the comments below and be a part of the conversation. You are an important part of the mosaic. Looking forward to hearing from you.... Christine 

    Some insightful evidence-based reading about our abilities to invest interpersonally --Johnson, Sue (2013). Love Sense.  New York, New York: Little Brown and Company. 

    Mike Phillips commented on 24-Jul-2015 01:03 PM
    Some idle thoughts:
    1. Age matters in terms of investment. A child vs. a tween vs a teen vs a young adult vs an old fart will all see investment through different lenses.
    2. Experience is a harsh mistress.
    3. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me.
    4. Everyone and everything deserves three "good faith" chances. If the investment becomes disappointing after three tries, its a patter of behavior, not an investment.
    Anonymous commented on 25-Jul-2015 10:11 PM
    Very insightful comments, Mike! CC
    Scott commented on 15-Oct-2015 02:53 PM
    This was a great post as it reminded me of some past memories. I have been a corporate leader for over 30 years and I have interviewed and hired hundreds of people. "Back in the day" we used to routinely ask candidates if they owned a home with a mortgage, were they married, and did they have at least 2 kids under the age of 10. Not so PC today but it was an effective indicator of just how committed they may be... akin to your rent vs. own comment.

    I have evolved since then and ask far better question to determine the level of an employee's commitment and investment in their role, but I did enjoy contrasting how much we, as people have changed and how much we have not changed in this area.

    The bottom-line is that people are wired to be fear based (some more and some less than others) but it is how you work with your fears that matter.

    Thank you again Christine.
    Christine commented on 16-Oct-2015 04:29 PM
    Thank you for your comments Scott! Yes, how you sooth those fears is the core of emotional intelligence, I believe. Thank you, again.
    Rebecca Petrella commented on 02-Jun-2016 08:08 AM
    This piece, even though it was written a year ago, is very pertinent for me today. As someone that is still not sure where they will "land" in the midst of a departmental re-org, I had to decide how invested I was willing to be in the work I am doing now.

    My decision, after much debate by the various (and often warring) factions in my head, was to go "all in." My rationale for my decision was that I am not one to do things in a slip-shod way and I like to take pride in the work that I do. I decided to give it my all, and if it turns out that I don't stay with the group I'm currently in, then at least I will know that I did my best. I would rather live with the possibility of getting pulled away from projects in which I have been very invested than the disappointment of knowing that I could have done a better job!
    Diana Nagatani commented on 03-Jun-2016 08:42 AM
    This is a great post, Christine, and a reminder to us all that life is full of risk and if we aren't willing to take those, we miss out! Thanks!

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