Another from our archives. It’s a burning question that doesn’t go away easily. If we are women with a sense of discomfort about our value in the world of business; then it’s a question that may haunt us our entire life in the marketplace. It’s the main reason I’m posting this again today. . . since the topic is as appropriate now as it was a few years ago. . .
“Yes, you read it right! How much are we worth? If you are a bit flabbergasted by the question; stay tuned & read on so you’ll know why the question.
A few days ago, I was sharing with a woman about re-discovering the “art of friendship” for no other reason than friendship! Her response rocked me on my heels – not literally, but mentally.
“And how do you calculate the ROI on that?”
She was serious. She wanted to know how I/we calculated a “return on our investment” of time & energy to develop a friendship for simply friendship-sake! Now I was ‘flabbergasted’.
It was as if she was asking how much a person – a woman – is worth; in $$$ & cents.
Well here’s my ‘take’ on her question. First of all, I can’t calculate the worth of the friendship I had with my late friend Joyce! But I can say that the last week of her life, my calendar opened up. Counseling-coaching clients rescheduled right & left.
As I rounded the aisle in our local Kroger store – there she was. We hugged, chatted & talked about how we needed to get together again. She was gaunt & needed to lean heavily on the cart.
That was Monday! Wednesday, we tele-chatted & together we determined she had to file for disability. I had great connections in the social service world, so I made the phone call to the area social security office. The woman with whom I spoke choked as I shared my friend’s more than 5 year battle with cancer. A battle she won every time. A battle she was about to lose this go around.
Thursday of that last week in March, 2003 – Joyce & I chatted via phone for several hours. She was elated! The social security lady was expediting Joyce’s application. We made plans to work together. Although Joyce was educationallly untrained in group process – she was a natural. I experienced her excitement as much as she did. And she planned to travel with her husband who was an over-the-road semi-driver.
Then came the phone call on Friday while I was with a client. Once I saw Joyce in the ER, I knew her hours were numbered. Yet she was perky. Her nails perfectly done & that beautiful sparkle in her dark brown eyes. She winked at me & said, “I’m not going to die – we have too much to do!” I nodded trying to hold back tears.
Early on Saturday, she was gone! We all knew it was for the best, but she was only 52 years young. And we had so many plans – as she said, “too much to do!”
How do I calculate the ROI on friendship as deep & strong as that? Well let me see. She worked for the local DFC (Division of Families & Children) as a Family Assistant. I was in private practice & under contract to that same agency. But she had no “referral privileges”. And I could not make referrals to her as they had to come from the agency. I can’t say that money ever landed in my account that could be tracked directly back to my long friendship with Joyce.
But we did have plans & they would have materialized, but. . . .
Today, as I recall that wonderful l-o-n-g last conversation with her – I treasure it. Just remembering the excitement & eagerness in her voice. And my own excitement at finally being ‘free’ for us to work together – something we had talked & dreamed about for as long as we had known each other. I have no regrets that the reality of our dream was cut short. . . .
So as I think of the, what I would call, callous question asked of me by the business-woman-in-pants; I’ve decided that the ROI from my friendship with Joyce rests in that last marvelous conversation.
What is its value? PRICELESS!
So what are we worth? Are we simply numbers on a balance sheet & at the end of the day – if we haven’t produced the desired ROI – out the door of friendship we go.
Or is there something of more intrinsic value that cannot be measured in currency? Let me suggest that the measure of our value cannot be determined by an accountant or CFO.
Our true value to each other – when friendship has occurred for friendship sake – is truly PRICELESS!
May your day hold room for the priceless friendships of life. . . .”
Linda S. Fitzgerald, CEO & Visionary Partner
Champion of Ordinarily Extraordinary Women of the World
A Women’s Place Network, Inc. dba
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