Jason Brown, Director of Advisor Success, Foster Group
For a minute, I want to think broadly about the question, “What does it mean to be an investor?”
I’ve invested in my relationship with my wife and in our three kids. For 22 years, I invested in various communities of spiritual growth: in Lawrence, KS; Pella, IA; Paramount, CA; and Long Beach, CA. I’ve invested in the people who comprise each of these communities. In the past eight years, I’ve invested in my physical health. I’ve also invested in my personal growth through books, blog, and podcasts. Along the way, I’ve managed to invest in a few friendships! I’m trying to invest in the City of Norwalk, via my involvement on the Planning and Zoning Committee, and will soon be joining the board of a local non-profit. Hopefully, my co-workers at Foster Group feel like I’ve invested here.
Throughout my life, so many have invested so much in me. Let’s start with Jim and Gretchen Brown, my mom and dad. My wife, kids, friends, and communities have invested in me. Teachers and coaches have invested in me. My co-workers have invested in me. All the people who have done the hard work of A) accumulating knowledge and B) making it accessible to me via books, blogs and podcasts have invested in me.
When I reflect on these investments, they share similar characteristics:
- They involve precious resources: time, energy, creativity, emotion, work, and often, money.
- They are commitments, either implicit or explicit.
- They are hopeful, in that those who made these investments believed in a better future.
- They are reciprocal, benefiting all parties.
- At the same time, they are often sacrificial in nature.
- They create the type of connections that are difficult to easily sever.
The world needs people who choose to invest what they have in others. There is something in us or, perhaps, outside us, that encourages us to sacrificially invest our most precious resources in the hope of a better future for individuals and communities.
At the same time, I recognize that much of what is in my ear, i.e., commercials and news, etc., inclines me to invest in only one thing, ME. As attracted as my better self is to the idea of investing sacrificially in things that matter, there’s an almost equal attraction to investing in the stuff that elevates my own happiness and satisfaction. (Note: I realize that investing in the things that matter and my sense of joy and fulfillment are not, ultimately, mutually exclusive. However, given the choice between ice cream and broccoli, I still go for ice cream 😊). If I have limited precious resources such as time, energy, and money, the one has to give for the other.
Two of the most important questions to answer in life are these: What do I want to invest in? And, how do I funnel more of my most precious resources into these investments?
I’ll continue this thought in a future blog.
| Jason Brown, Director of Advisor Success