What investment are you making?

by Francisco J. Cordero

~I make the investment because I want to inspire others to see their potential~

For those who have watched the show Shark Tank on ABC, you know there are negotiations that go on between the inventor and the potential investor. Sitting in front of the inventor are 4-5 multimillionaires who own, let’s just say…pretty much everything you could think of. The purpose of the show is to convince the “Sharks” (Investors) why they should invest in your product. Intimidating right? The Sharks either decline or make an offer and the inventor either agrees or denies it. However, what is even more interesting is what happens next. Once the Shark makes the connection, they work one-on-one with the inventor to connect them with all the right people, teach them the skills of managing a business, and takes their invention or product from a gross income of $10,000 to something in the realm of $350,000 in a year “Cha-ching!” They pretty much change the individual’s life. Nevertheless, the individual is the one helping the Shark grow their assets and business. A mutual investment.

As a person working in Student Affairs, I may not provide the same investment in the form of money (only if I won the Mega Millions Jackpot), but I could provide my time, energy, and knowledge to guide students based on what they believe is their vision of success. I have noticed over the years working in this field that if you make the initial investment in the lives of your students or staff, you receive the same investment in return. What do I mean? Take one of my past student staff members Courtland:

Courtland, a student athlete, is sitting right in front of me during one of our mind-year Desk Assistant interviews. Dressed to the nine, serious, and authentic in his responses, you could tell he wanted this job and I was looking for one person. The final piece to the interview process was for the group to show us their creative pieces. Courtland look dazed and began to sweat. It was his turn to give his creative piece. He was nervous, and decided to do his creative piece in a form of a story. I and my other colleagues were impressed. Courtland on the other hand, thought he just lost his only opportunity for a job, because he did not follow directions. I called him to meet with me. I began to get to know who he was, his career aspirations, where he is from, how he is enjoying his college experience, and how has football been going for him. More importantly, I wanted to know how he is going to manage football and his extracurricular activities with this job. Courtland had it mapped out.

The thing is, I wanted to hire him even before he forgot his creative piece for the interview. You don’t meet many students like Courtland. I could see how his discipline in the football field could translate to the job. He could follow direction well, he is a team player, a great time manager, driven, and motivated. I told him all these things, and when I offered him the job he said: “Francisco, I will not let you down, I truly appreciate this opportunity. You could have given it to anyone else, but you chose me and I can’t thank you enough.”

Let me just say. Courtland did not let me down. He was one of my best workers I had. I made the investment to get to know the type of person he is and what he wanted out of life. I found out that by giving him this opportunity it would provide him less financial strain and the opportunity to establish himself as a student leader on campus. Man, did he work hard. His investment came in the form of hard work, dedication, following direction, and going above and beyond of what was expected. I didn’t ask for it, but I wanted to invest in his personal growth and goals. I think he got more out of the job then he knew and now he is graduating and entering an internship with a broadcasting company.

Here are some things to consider when building a mutual investment with your students/staff:

  • You cannot invest in everyone, but find 1-3 students/staff members that show potential or have a goal that needs some structure.
  • Don’t just tell them, show them. (show their accomplishments) 
  • Be an active listener. 
  • Get to know who they are: strengths, weaknesses, fears, career aspirations/intentions, motivations, etc…
  • Create interventions or activities that foster growth and understanding of one’s self (this could be done through reflection exercises or life-skill application – just to name a couple). 
  • Be authentic and honest. 
These are just some considerations, but as you work with students/staff you begin to develop your own formula.

When you come across students that are not like the others, who show a set of skills and characteristics that are not teachable, we need to embrace them and invest in who they are and what they envision. I knew about Courtland’s ability and he knew what I expected. Together, it was a mutual accomplishment. I still stay in contact with Courtland on a consistent basis and every time we talk, he accomplished another goal or has something new going on. I continue to do the little things to provide my support.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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1 comment :

  1. Everyone who has some money don't want to keep it idol and invest it to earn more profit. There is always risk involve in the investment but a batter idea can lead to success. I learn so many points from your article about investment success. Here is the important link for students of business and administration to get well written papers from online writers at cheap cost.


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