The best investment you can make is in yourself. Self-investment benefits not only you; it also profits your family, friends, colleagues and causes you support.
When I left my corporate life behind for life in our startup, I left behind a culture of learning and training without knowing it. We regularly attended industry conferences, executive development opportunities, and even had external personal coaches we met with regularly.
This was not the case in our startup. We had no funds or time for professional or personal development. For the next several years, we focused all of our energies on building and eventually selling our company.
Everything I learned was to support our startup. I learned a great deal, more than at any other time in my career. In that respect, I did grow, but the knowledge gained was specialized and industry specific. We had no ability to invest in personal development.
There was little encouragement to engage in professional development, and the opportunities were doled out as perks rather than beneficial necessities for the team. That began changing recently to the credit of current leadership.
It wasn’t until just four years ago that I realized I had placed no emphasis on personal development and had treated professional development lightly as a result.
Developing a Mindset of Personal and Professional Development
I recognized I needed to change my mindset if I was going to grow and be able to achieve success in areas that are important to me.
I realized I had to learn and grow on my own initiative, no on else's. Relying on an employer to encourage my personal development had resulted in hit-or-miss professional development opportunities that in the long run had little bearing on the person I wanted to become. I had abrogated my responsibility for myself in the area of growth to someone else.
I knew I had to take personal responsibility for my growth, or there would be no significant advancement in my career or personal life.
Self-Investment Is The Best Investment
Dan Miller, the founder of 48Days, is a vocal proponent of investing 10% of your earnings in professional development and asserts it keeps him at the top of his game. I know from experience that you don’t have to invest that much at first. Even a little investment to start goes a long way. You can build up over time.
Reading books and listening to podcasts became top priorities.
I started going to conferences on my own time and using my own funds.
Sounds crazy right? My vacation time, my money? It’s not crazy when you think of it as an investment in yourself. I later arranged with our leadership to be able to take time away without using vacation days. I would have continued my personal development regardless.
A side benefit of attending conferences? I met amazing individuals at each one, many of whom I count among my mentors and friends today.
I also invested in a personal coach, Kary Oberbrunner. We worked through a group coaching program based on his book The Deeper Path that helped me to identify and create clarity for my future. That clarity has led to tremendous changes in how I view my career and success. It has also introduced me to definitions of significance and impact that I otherwise would have missed.
I became an author with Kary’s encouragement and help and am writing additional books.
Out of that Deeper Path coaching cohort came our Mastermind. We each have been through the Deeper Path. Our Mastermind continues to push me forward in ways I could not have imagined just a couple of years ago.
Deeper Path coaching changed my life, eventually leading me to leave behind corporate success again and return to being an entrepreneur. This time, I am leveraging that success and my personal growth over the past few years for a new future. It will be an adventure.
I want to encourage you to invest in yourself and start today.
Five Great Ways To Invest In Yourself
- Read and Absorb Books. I have two suggestions: Do Over by Jon Acuff and Deeper Path by Kary Oberbrunner
- Listen to Podcasts. Two great ones are Rory Vaden’s Action Catalyst Podcast and Chris Locurto's Leadership podcast. I wrote 5 Life Changing Podcasts a couple of years ago and all of them continue with excellence today.
- Invest in Conferences. Choose ones you want to attend and do it. Some of those I’ve attended are above. You can find great ones that fit your needs too. Go with a plan to reap the largest benefits.
- Develop a Life Plan. Michael Hyatt has a great book, Living Forward, which will help you to stop drifting through life and plan an intentional life.
- Engage a Coach. Deeper Path is a great option to get started.
You don't have to try every one of my suggestions for investing in yourself immediately. Pick one (Living Forward would be a great place to start), then add another in a few weeks. Build up your ability to invest in yourself over time.
Invest In Yourself for Lasting Impact
What’s been your professional and personal development experience and approach? I’d love to help you move forward. I’m happy to share more of my experiences with coaching, our Mastermind and pursuing development with a clear purpose.
If you make investments in yourself, you’ll reap significant rewards over time. The impact will extend beyond you to your family, friends, colleagues and causes you care about.