Learning, earning & returning 1/3


I have had a few conversations recently regarding the following theme: Learning, Earning and Serving. If you’re new to this, the president of High Point University, Nido Qubein, once said that “a formula for success in business is learning, earning, and serving”. We know from the likes of Shawn Anchor that happiness leads to success, rather than the other way around as many believe to be the case. Success won’t make you happy. Be happy first and success will follow. Happiness comes when we find our purpose with equal amounts of learning, earning and serving fulfilled. It is the serving aspect that correlates most with my Searcher motivator and is this that is the focus of this blog post.

When thinking about that final term ‘serving’, I prefer to think of the word ‘returning’ instead, returning gratitude, help, wisdom or support to others. It is about giving back.

In my life, both personally and professionally, I know that if I do not feel that sense of returning something back to the world, giving something back to the people around me, then I lose my sense of purpose. I need to be making difference, having an impact, helping others. At the risk of sounding like Uncle Albert, when I was a teacher, this was fulfilled immensely. Hopefully you can understand how teaching smiley-faced 9-year-olds was the most rewarding thing I’ve done to date. The ‘returning’ box was ticked to no end.

Was I happy? Ultimately, no.

For a variety of reasons, I was not happy in my job anymore and that meant that the job was not getting the best out of me.

Luckily, my Dad saw me struggling mentally, questioning my abilities as an educator and that was when he asked me if everything was ok. I told him and my mum of my feelings but that I did not know what I would do if I left the classroom. Fortunately, Dad offered me a position within the family business with the promise that if I didn’t like it, he would completely support me stepping away and help me find my next venture. That was just over 4 years ago and I haven’t jumped ship yet!

On a serious note, work is often the last thing that impacts my mental health these days. Something, by the way, that we all have in the same way we all have physical health. That is not to say I don’t care, or things do not bother me; my stress bucket gets full and there are some moments when I count the hours until I am home. But things do not upset me at work now to the same degree that issues did when I was teaching.

Today is World Mental Health Day. I like days that raise awareness of things that society has not had a good track record of paying enough attention to. I’ve spent the day thinking about my own mental health and checking in with myself. How do I feel? What is going well? What is causing me stress?

What I have thought a lot about, is how I can keep my Searcher motivator fulfilled so that I know I am returning something to this world. So I’m interested, how are you returning?