How Are You Investing Your Life ?
By Lane Kramer, President, The CEO Institute
Over the last 20 years I have been around some very successful CEO’s from a purely business standpoint. Some of these people have taken a very modest amount of capital and have grown companies to a considerable size, and then sold them for many millions of dollars . Several of these individuals have been able to employ several hundred people over time and lead very large companies. However, I wonder if these business indicators alone mean that they have truly been successful in life?
The answer to that question of course depends on how a person defines success. How do you define success for your life ? Do you measure success by how many dollars you earn, how big your company grows, or perhaps through a more relational approach like the quality of your relationships with God, friends and family members.
The answer to that question for me is determined by whether I am fulfilling my God given purpose and doing the things that God wants me to do in my business, my family, worship community, circle of friends, the marketplace as a whole and the Dallas community.
One way I measure success is through the lens of an investor
. Every day I have to determine where to invest my time, talents, treasure, relational capital and physical energy. These are all gifts from God that He has entrusted to me. The investment choices of how and where to deploy them are not always easy!
For example, do I spend more time at The CEO Institute “after hours” trying to grow my client base or do I spend that same hour at home having dinner with my wife. Do I spend some regular time on Sunday afternoon talking with my Mother or do I spend the time reviewing investment research in The Wall Street Journal? Do I ride my bicycle on Sunday morning or do I invest that time worshipping at Church and attending Sunday School? Do I participate in a prison ministry event, or do I play in the Member Guest Tournament at Royal Oaks ? Decisions, decisions!
All investors try to maximize their return on investment of capital. That is what I am trying to do in my life as a whole. I know that one day God will review my life with me and ask me for an accounting of how I invested the gifts that He gave to me. So as a Steward of those gifts, and not the Owner, I have to think about how would The Master (THE Owner) have me invest what He has entrusted to me? While we should primarily seek to be a good Steward/ Investor because we love God and want to serve Him, God also understands our human nature as our Creator. He knows we all want to be recognized and rewarded for being good investors! The Bible makes it clear that God will reward us for our faithfulness in investing/ stewarding His gifts both in this life and in Heaven.
So if I want to do a check up on myself and see if I am being a good investor of my life what will I look at? What will HE look at? First, I will look at the quality of my relationships with God and other people. Am I putting Christ first in my life? Am I spending time with Him on a daily basis asking for direction, wisdom, strength, provision and yes forgiveness when I mess up? Can I honestly show Him that He is number one in my life? The proof of whether or not I really value/ love/ obey Him comes in how I treat my wife and daughter, other family members, friends, Church Members, customers, vendors and yes even my post man, my most valuable business vendor!
Secondly, the proof is also born out by looking at my checkbook and seeing where I am investing/ spending His money. Am I constantly looking for ways to invest His capital in His Kingdom as He puts opportunities in my path to help other people ? Am I also saving an appropriate amount of money to help pay the future expenses at a time in my life when I can no longer work? Am I making prudent financial investment decisions so that I will eventually have money to leave to my children’s children as it says to do in the Bible.
Third, I have to look at my calendar. How many hours did I spend at work? Was it the number I believe that God wanted me to invest at work that particular day or week ? Am I allowing God to be the CEO of my business and use it for His purposes or is it just a personal play toy that I use to earn a living to be spent on myself ? Did I spend appropriate time with God in daily quiet time, developing my relationship first with my family members and then with friends, serving others in the community to help them improve their life in some way, exercising to keep my body healthy and enjoying some recreational activities?
The choice of how we are investing our lives is ours alone. We can’t pass the buck some day and tell God The Devil made me do it! I don’t know about you but when I take my last breath and stand before God, I surely want Him to say to me “Well done good and faithful investor of the life I gave you, enter into my Heavenly Kingdom and enjoy eternal rest in the place that I have prepared for you!
So if you have not taken some time lately to consider how you are investing your life, I would urge you to spend a morning away from the office and do a careful review of your life investment decisions. You may discover that a reallocation of life resources is in order and if so, you will be glad you did. Happy Life Investing !!