Immediate Needs vs Lifetime Value
If I’m considering my immediate needs I look for easy wins. I think about my projects in terms of the immediate benefit (financial, professional or social validation) and I put aside opportunities that don’t have a measurable ROI or are more of a gamble.
I make decisions based on where I am and what I want today. Sometimes that works out great. The spontaneity of making plans on the fly leads to some exciting new experiences. Other times it means I treat people differently because I don’t have time for them (or need anything from them) today. Some days I choose not to write, exercise or eat right because I don’t feel like it – and how much difference will one day make?
Things look different when I take the long view and I consider the lifetime value of the people and important things in my life.
When I consider the lifetime value of a personal relationship
- Spending the little extra energy to treat this person right today is going to pay off massive rewards over the years we know each other
- When we have a disagreement it might feel like it turns today upside down, but it’s only a minor blip when I consider our relationship as a whole. A blip that needs to be addressed, but this helps me keep things in perspective.
When I consider the lifetime value of a professional relationship
- How will I treat this person differently today, knowing that we might play an ongoing role in each other’s careers for many years?
- What extra value can I add for this client or customer, considering that maybe this isn’t a short term freelance gig but a business partnership that could have ongoing benefits for us both?
When I consider the lifetime value of a project
- This doesn’t have to be perfect before I share it with the world. It’s not the only post I’m going to write, piece I’m going to play, song I’m going to sing, show I’m going to perform. Today I can do the best I can and then share it with the world, knowing that tomorrow I will try again.
- In a few years time, it’s not likely that I’ll be measured on the project I’m working on today alone. It will be on the body of work I have accumulated to that point. Sometimes the value of the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
- The return on investment is not always obvious. The project I’m working on today might not pay very much, but it could put my work in front of the one person who can offer me an incredible opportunity. There are some outcomes that you just can’t see until you’ve shared your work with the world.
When I consider the lifetime value of my health and wellbeing
- How is the way I choose to ‘look after’ myself today impacting the way I’m looking after ‘future me’?
- How does not exercising today because I don’t have the energy impact the amount of energy I’ll have in a week, month or year from now?
- What daily habits or rituals can I implement and maintain each day that add lasting impact to my physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing?
What happens for you when you ask “What is the lifetime value vs the immediate value of how I approach this situation? How might I act and respond differently?”