Investment. Half of you have read this first word and it was enough to make you jump forward. Curious word this one. I do not know what comes to your mind when you read or listen to it. For a long time, the first word popping in front of me was money. For some well-planted unconscious reason I will not dwell into right now, investment has been undeniably associated with money. Immediately I would visualize bills, bank accounts, balance sheets, anything which could be slightly fit into this category. Even after having invested in my own psychotherapeutic journey - meaning investing in myself was a priority - money was still the main concept making my eyes pop when someone would mention the word investment. Whatever financial investments you have going on, keep at it! Having your money invested is an add-value and a theme that should be addressed more openly while growing up, including at school. It may be that investment for you makes you think of the time you dedicate to your job, or the energy spent in dealing with any professional or personal conflicts. However, this week I want to talk to you about other kind of investment: Investment in yourself. There is a myriad of ways to do it, though only a few that will lead you where you want to be while simultaneously keeping you true to who you are. In other words, it is not just about how to invest as well as when and in what. You must invest in yourself considering what really matters to you. Your investment in yourself must be aligned with your purpose and your goals.
One of the reasons why we keep referring to goal setting, schedules, milestones is what they have in common: YOU! These represent the tangibility of the investment you are making in yourself.
Let us look at the following 6 strategies to help you start – or keep – investing in yourself throughout this year of 2022 toward the outcomes you aim for.
1. Practice self-care: This one is probably the most underrated one of the 6! Maybe because we are just better at taking care of others…or could it be because we feel it is a waste when we use the time on ourselves? Oh, I lost the entire morning at the gym; or I could have done so much if I haven’t taken that nap. Is it time lost; I wonder? Or rather energy you invested in yourself which can be applied elsewhere contributing to your productivity? Otherwise, your body will keep supporting the extra weight, until it has no other way out than expressing clear physical symptoms you can no longer ignore. No reason to reach this low point if you act in your best interest. You are the best person to take care of yourself, as you know what you enjoy the most, what helps you feel relaxed. Do not wait for others to do it, nor use others as an excuse to de-prioritize yourself. Make yourself your number one priority!
2. Keep your space organized: What does it have to do with anything? Well, you may not be the most organized person on earth, but that is no excuse to have your stuff all over the place. Have you ever walked around the office and suddenly came across a cluttered desk? Or visited a friend whose apartment looks like a mess? I bet it is not the most pleasant view, plus it shows lack of care and disregard for that person’s own space. Having your personal and workspaces organized and de-cluttered is a sign of order as well as structure, giving your mind its own room for creative freedom. A neat and tidy space is in a way an investment in yourself, displaying respect for your work and efforts.
3. Strengthen your skills: You have a unique set of traits, experiences, strengths, skills, that make you who you are. Sure, there will be always areas where you feel less comfortable, things that do not come naturally to you and that you would like to do better. This is true for you as well for everyone else. Wouldn’t it be smarter to invest on what you are good at and become even better? By strengthening your skills, you are opening a window of endless opportunities for your own personal and professional growth. Perhaps your communication skills are a great asset both in your personal and your professional life. Or maybe you have a talent for numbers that make you sound like a nerdy Rockstar. Use your skills as superpowers, identify key moments in your daily routine where you put them into practice. We are all different and your set of skills are an asset you bring to the table that others come to respect and admire.
4. Learn something new: Taking the humble road and open yourself to new learnings makes you evolve; it makes you grow. Apart from the new opportunities it brings along. By learning something new, you are investing inner and – potentially – outer resources. You are expanding your knowledge, developing new brain patterns, broadening your horizons. Which by the way can become a new strength to add to your skillset. At the same time, you are boosting your creativity, feeding your curious self, therefore creating opportunities for future endeavors. Remember that it may be beneficial for your job, though it can also be anything else outside your professional sphere. What you are trying to achieve here is a mind open to new stimuli and connections enabling both your neural system to expand and contributing to your personal growth.
5. Stay socially engaged: We may well come to this world alone and leave it behind alone, though that does not mean we are not social beings. Regardless of its dimension, since birth we belong to a community. From then onward, we keep expanding and strengthening our network. Through new connections and interactions, we are investing in a huge part of life – human relationships. This means investing yourself in connecting with others, in giving back, in showing gratitude. When you invest in others, you invest in yourself as well. Not talking here only about meeting with friends or organize get-together with family. But also looking beyond, volunteer, connect with people with similar interests across the world. Nowadays, we can easily reach out online to others, though it is equally important to seek face-to-face contact.
6. Find a coach or a mentor: It is not uncommon to have a hard time asking for support or reaching out for help. Sometimes because we do not even recognize we need it, others because we are too stubborn or proud to ask. But we all need help occasionally. Whatever you might be telling yourself, you will not conquer it alone. Not only we are not alone throughout our life journey, but we can also learn plenty about ourselves when in connection with others. A coach or a mentor are indeed part of this investment in yourself. By offering their guidance and objectivity, they are opening a window to your inner world. They are granting you the space and time to explore yourself in-depth, to learn from your shortcomings, to transition to the next best version of yourself. Life is all about transformation and growth. Knowing that you do not have to do it alone may encourage you to go the extra mile and connect to your higher self.
Aside other investments you might have ongoing, remember that investing in yourself is the worthiest of them all. You are investing today in the best outcomes of tomorrow. Although the payoffs may not show right away, your efforts will not go to waste. When the time comes for you to reap the fruits of what you have been sowing, you will be mesmerized by the transformation and growth shining from within.