Avoid Ground Hog Day... Invest In Your Most Valuable Asset - YOU!
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
"The swiftest way to triple your success is to double your investment in personal development" Robin Sharma
"You’ll have a more rewarding life not only in terms of how much money you make but how much fun you have out of life; you’ll make more friends the more interesting person you are. So go to it, invest in yourself" Warren Buffet
If one of the most financially successful men on this planet tells us to invest in ourselves, then who are we to argue?! Well, this could be one of the shortest blogs ever but I want to share my perspectives and experiences to further persuade you that investing in yourself will not only pay for itself many times over financially but will also lead to a much more interesting and fulfilled life too.
Stand still and become obsolete
The television programme which had the biggest influence on my career choice was called "Troubleshooter". It was presented by a fantastically charismatic and successful former chief executive, Sir Harvey Jones. Each week Sir Harvey would be invited to visit a company struggling to make money - and many of these companies were old, established and prestigious companies (e.g. Wedgewood Crystal, Morgan cars) and they asked Sir Harvey to evaluate them and advise them.
I found the weekly show riveting and Sir Harvey was one of the main reasons I wanted to become a management consultant. His advice was always constructive, pragmatic and effective and he made it look so easy! I think you can still watch these episodes on YouTube - highly recommended as Sir Harvey is very entertaining too!
It covers a broad range of activities - but the one thing they all have in common is that doing something new breaks your old established patterns of thinking. Why is this so important? Career-wise - unless we learn new skills and keep on improving, you're going to find it tough to get promoted or achieve a more interesting career. Even worse, you will probably find your job being taken over by a more hungry and ambitious colleague!
On a personal level, doing new things and learning new things makes us and life more interesting. Who wants to go through life doing the same thing day after day for your whole life - what a boring groundhog day!
Why am I telling you this story? Well, because this story is relevant to individuals as well as companies. What does investing in yourself mean? Investing is spending either time or money or both to acquire new knowledge and skills.
So the possibilities are endless -
going on courses
learning a new language
listening to experts via podcasts
joining new clubs
learning a new skill or hobby
Please don't misunderstand me, I'm not asking or advising you to read a new book every week or take up skateboarding or take up new hobbies regularly - nothing extreme! I am suggesting that you should try something new at least once a quarter and each year, try and plan what new activities or hobbies you might want to do. Although I have been doing this for a few years, its only been in the last couple of years that I have been putting my thoughts down on paper.
So for this year, I have given myself a target to learn to cycle properly and do at least one 50 mile bike ride, publish at least 6 blogs and read 20 books a year. The benefit of writing it down is that it gives you something to focus on and helps you to review your progress too.
What's been my experience of self-development?
My biggest investment has been to do an MBA whilst I was in my thirties - to do this I took a year off work (unpaid) and did a one year course at Warwick Business School. Previously, I had also trained as an accountant and worked for an accountancy firm in London. However, I always felt that I need to broaden my knowledge and thought an MBA would be an ideal way to achieve this as it covered so many business topics that I hadn't studied before.
Of course, it was a risk as there are no guarantees that the investment would lead to anything better. But it was one of the best decisions I made. The course was fantastic, I made some life long friends and I learned so much! When I returned to work,
I had a pay rise of 50% compared to pre-MBA and I found a role in a new area which was available to me because I had acquired an MBA.
As I've already said earlier, self-development is continuous so I'm always thinking of different ways to keep on learning whether it's for my career or my personal growth.
Apart from the financial benefits there many other benefits from investing in self-development. But there are also several very important non-financial benefits too.
Improves confidence to try new and different things
It's a powerful indicator to your employer and peers that you understand the need for continuous improvement and take the issue of self-development seriously
Broadens your outlook on life and what it has to offer
Changes your mindset to a can-do attitude and much more positive one
Makes life more interesting, enjoyable and rewarding
Great way to broaden your social circle and make new friends
Improves your health if you take up a new sport for fitness
Keeps your skill sets relevant for the workplace
Enables you to learn new skills
Improves your brain health, thereby helping to reduce your stress and can ward off dementia
My favourite way for self-learning - Podcasts
One of my favourite ways of getting information on a variety of topics is podcasts. There are lots of free apps you use on your phone and there are podcasts for every area Its so easy to fit in listening to a podcast whilst your waiting for lunch, walking the dog etc. Some of my favourite podcasts include;
In our time
Today in Focus
How to Academy
The Rich Roll podcast
Feel better, live more
Another great way to learn new skills or develop an interest is by using online courses such as MOOC and Udemy - 1000s of courses are available and many are not expensive so definitely worth having a look!
Not everything you try and learn will go according to plan - I found out the hard way! I've always wanted to play the saxophone so finally decided to take the plunge and buy one. However, it didn't take very long before my family banished me to the downstairs toilet to practice! Needless to say that "vote of confidence" led me to think that perhaps the saxophone wasn't going to work out for me! But I haven't given up all hope of learning to play - just waiting for the kids to leave home so I'll be free again to play in any room I want!!
Use a coach
One effective way to help you improve yourself and get ahead is to use the services of a coach. A good coach will help you move forward in various areas of your life depending what you seek to achieve and will give you confidence and clarity in those areas, helping remove any obstacles and doubts you have. The specialisms of a life coach are wide; ranging from business coaching to life coaching so its best to talk to a few to see which one you connect with best and can help you achieve your goals.
I hope I've shown you that there are only upsides to investing in yourself - there are so many benefits and no disadvantages! You really have nothing to lose!
I would love to hear what new things you are going to do and try - you can either write to me in the comments section of this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.