“You are your most precious asset.
You are your most precious thing in your world.
You must invest in yourself every day.
Never be cheap on yourself.
You are worth it.
Everything you are and everything you will be
is the result of how you use your mind.”
– Brian Tracy
Last week, I announced the launch of a BIG Life Mastermind Program. The program is quite expansive and was open to 10 high-performing career women who want to learn how to Live a BIG Life, in spite of life and all its challenges. It is an intense 12 month program with lots of great learning. And webinar attendees were very excited until I announced the price which actually was an amazing value for everything I will be giving to the group—through my 42 years of experience, being a mentor and coach, plus materials for the program and 90-minute live sessions for 12 months.
I anticipated there would be people who would say, “That cost is out of my reach.” Or, “My employer will never pay for that.” Or, “I can’t afford that on my own.” I understand and I want to open every person’s eyes to the importance of investing in yourself. So here is an excerpt from our 3-year Amazon best-seller book, Who Took My Pen…Again?
The chapter is called: Invest (in yourself).
When we think of “investment” we automatically think of dollar signs. Don’t limit yourself to such a small portion of what investing in you means. To invest in you means to believe in you. To pick up a book on a subject you want to learn more about, taking a class at the gym, volunteer at your local soup kitchen – you discover more about yourself by taking the time to step back from routine living to do these types of things; such as to set a goal and attain it.
In current times of uncertainty, people have more than ever before trended toward the entrepreneurial mindset, but in fact we always need to be seeking ways to grow ourselves, whether in a recession or not. We should always act upon what it is we believe in at all times!
You should know yourself in order to invest in yourself. What can you invest in? Invest in your beliefs; invest your time; invest your attention; invest your finances. Here is a critical way that you can add value every day: Stop waiting for life to happen, you must be the one to make it happen for you.
Be a Perpetual Student
If your manager or organization does not choose to invest in you, that doesn’t mean you are not worth the investment. You of all people should know that the most. Choose to better yourself.
“Learn how to maximize the enormous potential that lies in your mind and body. This includes learning how to set goals, manage your time, remove fear and doubt, adjust your thinking, create new habits, squash bad habits, how to take care of your health and focus.” – BrianKim.net
You will only get out of work (and life!) what you put into it. Become a student of life, and seek to gain as much wisdom, learning and experience as you can. Don’t rest on your laurels! Yes, yesterday’s success was great, but you cannot rest there forever. We were made for growth, work and achievement. Fresh experiences and learning keeps us vibrant, healthy and challenged.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
To add value, you have to get out of your comfort zone from time to time. It’s not that you have to stretch out every day but rather make the strategic leaps here and there. Stagnant wallowing and growth do not mesh. You cannot grow and be stagnant at the same time.
If you do not choose to grow, to reach out and stretch outside your comfort zone, you will be left behind–it may be a year from now or three years from now. Today’s world will not tolerate immobility.
As a progressive executive assistant you would not be where you are today if you had not stretched during your career. The question is, “Are you tired of stretching? Do you feel like coasting because it is just too much work to challenge yourself?” Or maybe you feel that you have arrived; you generate a good income, like who you work with, and life is terrific. You are content. It is good to be content… we shouldn’t always be living on the edge.
- When you feel uneasy, keep moving forward. Of course we will want to go back to what is comfortable for us; that is our “moment of truth.” Force yourself over to the other side – push past, and enjoy new growth!
- Offer to take on a part of a project that your executive is handling. Your executive may have to make time to teach you were to get the information or how to calculate numbers or pull reports. . . that is the stretching part. This will broaden your skill set and keep your job interesting.
- Join Toastmasters. Toastmaster is not just for people who want to be professional speakers. In fact, it is quite the opposite. It is for individuals who want to build confidence, be more effective, generate enthusiasm for their ideas, and make a greater impact in their world.
- Meet new people. While it is fun to be with people you know and let you be you, expanding your circle is important. It is vital to growth.
- Try something new, often. Doing new things or even doing “old things” in new ways will lay new neural pathways in your brain. In a way, it’s like expanding your brain capacity! Even driving home on a different road, trying new foods, reading a different type of book, or learning about a country’s culture and food, volunteering to research and try a new piece of technology, all of these will lay new neural pathways in your brain.
Be Open about Your Shortcomings
The conference attendees noted the importance of being open about your shortcomings with others, not being accepting of your own shortcomings so as to excuse yourself, “This is just the way I am. I cannot change.”
Talking about your shortcomings to your peers or executive–or a mentor–or even maybe a friend outside of work is beneficial. Frankly, it can be a relief when you have people who know you as you really are “today” but who will support your ongoing growth over time.
Have you heard of The Imposter Syndrome? It’s named for the concept that all people cover up to some degree; that they do not all the time perfectly know what they are doing. We all have a small voice inside, telling us, “If other people only realized what I don’t know….”
Everyone is so amazed at the opportunities that present themselves, and yet here we are, so imperfect. The Imposter Syndrome is that mental merry-go-round of thought that is based upon the idea that we must first be perfect and expert before we would be given this opportunity; we know our ignorance, our own blind spots, yet here we are with the opportunity! Don’t get hung up there. Move on to accept the opportunities and then to grow success in the field where you find yourself. “Bloom where you are planted.”
Honesty is refreshing. Everyone is living life behind a mask, scared to think people might discover what they do not know. Stop hiding. Start talking. “You don’t know what you don’t know” can be a liberating mantra to adopt.
In some instances (and industries) ongoing training, growth/focus is mandatory. And, there are some times we are best positioned to allow others more skilled in those areas to take the lead. The important point is to figure out when each of these points comes into play.
We are human, we have strengths and we have shortcomings. Be aware of what these are but do not dwell on them…
- Since you only get out of life what you put into it, stop complaining and get busy!
- Accept your shortcomings, but don’t get comfortable with them.
- Stretch yourself; develop new skills each year.
- Investing in yourself always pays rich dividends.
- Be a continual student.
- It’s okay to try new things and not be expert at them. Focus on trying, not on perfection the first (or second!) time you try.
- Learn, learn, learn.
P.S. If necessary, start your own education fund. If your employer will not pay for you to go to a conference or take an in-depth training program this does not mean you should not financially invest in yourself. As you mature in your career, you need to see yourself as worth investing in. Plus, how much do we waste with a bunch of little stuff that gets us nowhere? A lot.