Defining Investing in Yourself:
Before discussing the 3 most important ways of investing in yourself, we must first answer the question: What does investing in yourself mean? We often hear slogans like, “An Investment in yourself is the best investment one can make!” or “Invest in yourself or no one else will!” But what does it mean? The answer: To spend all matters of currency on yourself, in hopes of yielding a positive long-term return…Or in other words, to spend time, energy, and money on yourself now, in hopes of achieving your long term goals.
Monochronic! Sounds like a disease where you’re tired all the time. Actually, it is the term social experts use to classify society’s current view towards time. In simple terms, monochronic means viewing time as a commodity. Basically, to us time can be spent, wasted, earned, and lost just like money. Also, much like money, time is a commodity most of us never seem to have enough of. Ask any manager why he or she does not engage their employees with more training exercises and their response will almost undoubtedly be, “Because I just don’t have the time.” Think about the house project you keep putting off. You need to refinish the deck, or redo the siding. Why haven’t you done it? Chances are it won’t be because you don’t see the need to get it done, or because you don’t have the money, or even because you don’t have the energy. Most likely, it’s because you do not have the time. Making time to invest in yourself is a crucial move, both in regards to your career and your personal life. But between work, the kids, home projects, and catching up on the latest season of Game of Thrones, how do we find the time? Some experts suggest the time is already there, we’ve just been using it in less effective ways. Creating a time diary is the best technique for demonstrating this fact. Start by picking a day in the upcoming week. The night before, make a list of all the things you think you can reasonably accomplish on that day. Throughout the day, keep a diary of each and everything you do, making sure to log the time and duration of each event. At the end of the day, compare what you accomplished to the list you made the night before. Chances are you will find a fifteen minute period of time here and a thirty minute period of time there you spent doing “wasteful” things; perhaps you were reading NFL message boards or researching all of Kim Kardashian’s hairstyles. Next time you catch yourself overindulging in such things, ask yourself two question, “Is what I’m doing getting me closer to achieving my goals?” and “Could I be using this time to invest in myself?”
Energy, energy, energy. The word seems to be all the rage these days. Solar power energy, energy in a can, energy in a pill. Starbucks is one of the world’s most recognizable brand. Why? Because, they provide the world with cups full of delicious energy. However for purposes of investing in yourself, when we talk about energy, we are not talking about the kind that comes from your favorite espresso or blonde roast. Instead, we are referring to the energy that comes from a burning desire to better yourself. This type of desire lends the kind of motivational energy you cannot find in a cup of coffee. Any good manager will tell you the hardest part of reaching an operational goal is not the strategy stage where the blueprint to reach the goal is designed, outlined, and planned, it is in the implementation stage, where the strategy is put into action. What is the most difficult part of implementation? Most managers would say it is in motivating their employees to act in a fashion that is congruent with the plan, so that the goal can be met. Likewise, you must find a way to turn your motivation to invest in yourself into energy to act. Keep in mind that this cannot be a onetime thing. It has to be a process that you perform over and over. The question is: How? How can we consistently find the energy to do so? A useful tip is to make a list of where the desire to invest in yourself came from. Whether it be from a desire to reach your maximum potential, or a desire to fund your child’s college education, or a desire to out earn your annoying brother or sister in law. Once you have made the list, fold it up and put in your wallet or purse. Whenever you are lacking in energy, pull out the list a read it to yourself. Note: make sure your brother/sister in law does not see it when you are reading it, which could make for an awkward Thanksgiving dinner.
Money is usually the biggest obstacle to people adequately investing in themselves. Largely because they do not see the need to do so. People might attend a few extra seminars or take the time to read more articles related to their field, but when it comes to actually shelling out cash, they are reluctant. Here is a question for you, in this highly competitive business environment we are surrounded by in today’s society, what are you doing that sets yourself apart from everyone else? Let’s try an exercise, make a list of your job responsibilities, your work experience, and your education. Now make a list of your goals. Perhaps it is to lead your company in sales, or to move up the corporate ladder, or maybe you own your own business and your hoping to finally turn a profit. Now asks yourself: If every person in the world participated in this exercise, how many people would have made a similar list as me? How many people would have similar education as me, do a similar job as me, and have similar goals as I do? The likely answer would be in the tens of thousands. So how do you set yourself apart? The answer is simple, you must go beyond what others are doing. For them, merely going to work each day and hoping for the best might be enough, but for you it shouldn’t. You will invest in yourself, while others fail to do so. Just like any investment, an investment in yourself requires a monetary sacrifice. However, just like any investment, an investment in yourself is measured not by how much is put in at the beginning, but by how much is returned in the end. Investing in additional training, professional coaching, and materials designed to guarantee greater productivity is the perfect place to start your investment in yourself. According to a study done by MetrixGlobal and conducted by The Pyramid Resource Group, hiring a business coach yields 500% return on investment. A similar study reported by Forbes and conducted by PriceWaterhouseCoopers and the Association Resource Centre found that the average Return on Investment in coaching was 7 times the initial investment, and more than a quarter of coaching clients saw an astounding ROI from 10 to 49 times the original investment. Studies, like the ones listed above, indicate that investing in professional coaching and training are as close to a “sure thing” investment you can find.[wpob id=”2″]