Investing in Yourself
This topic wasn't even the one I had originally planned to share this week. I have blog posts planned and outlined for the rest of the year, but this one took a bump to the top of the list after some things I noticed happening this week. I posted in my Facebook Community that I was working on creating a Mental Health Mastermind for creatives who want to work on what is going on in their lives and business in group setting. That post was met with lots of excited replies and then met with a concern about...cost!
Don't get me wrong, one of the first questions to come out of my mouth when making a decision about where to spend my time and resources is "What is the cost?" Here are a few observations I've had over the last few years.
First and foremost, people struggle to invest in themselves. There is often a sense of "not deserving" to do something beneficial for yourself, even if you have worked your butt off to get where you are.
Secondly, this is particularly true when people are investing in things that aren't tangible, like education or a mental health resource. Most people will spend money when they feel like they are getting something they can see and hold in return, which is not the case with mental health or education.
You cannot hold improved self-esteem, confidence, stability, or well-being in your hand. You can't feel them or taste them or wear them. They don't look shiny. Nobody may notice. We want to be able to see where we have spent out money...or likely we want others to see. And somehow that means that our mental well-being isn't often prioritized. Why is it that we can drop $200 on a new dress but still struggle to pay the same amount of money for therapy or a group program?
Therapy, mental health and educational resources aren't cheap. I won't digress into all the reasons why, but I will be first to advocate for better mental health coverage and resources. Choosing to invest in yourself plays a large role in the way you feel about yourself, both mentally and emotionally. Investing in yourself sends a powerful message psychologically, the message that you are valuable and you believe in yourself and what you're doing.
But what about money? Money is one of the largest stressors and anxiety producers that exist, especially for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Investing in yourself can be quite daunting when you are struggling to meet your basic needs. Please note that spending money you don't have on things you can't afford is not what I'm encouraging. However, I encourage people with financial stability to wholeheartedly invest themselves, because there is never a better investment than yourself.
Here's the bottom line (no pun intended), you should never feel guilt for investing in yourself. You get one opportunity to live your life and while you can't keep hard things from happening and quite a few things will not go according to the plan you have for yourself, you cannot keep going and going without investing in yourself. Investing in yourself can look different, but can include going to therapy, signing up for yoga classes, or planning a weekend away.
Investing in yourself is going to look differently for everyone (yes, I know I say that in nearly EVERY post, but it's true). You may not ever invest in therapy, but may invest in a gym membership or co-working space so that you don't feel isolated. Regardless of where you invest in intangible things, know that you are worth the investment.
Now I want to take some time to flip the question and ask another hypothetical question. "What is the cost?", but this time what is the cost if you don't invest in yourself. People who choose not to invest in themselves and in both their own well-being and that of their business, may feel stagnant, anxious, unfulfilled, burn out, depressed...and the list goes on and on. You have to value yourself and the opportunity more than you are afraid of making the investment.
I don't even want to try to summarize this, because it is all so good. This is from an article written by Nicolas Cole for Inc.
He says, "Successful people invest in themselves. Both in terms of time and money, successful people see life through a lens of investment.
The majority of people don't invest; they spend. They spend the money they earn. They spend their time with people they don't really like, doing things they don't really enjoy. They spend and spend and then wake up one morning wondering why their life is the way it is.
Successful people, on the other hand, invest. They are conscious of how they spend their time and invest it toward their goals. They invest their money in creating additional revenue streams, not owning depreciating assets. They invest in themselves, taking courses, exposing themselves to worthwhile attractions, feeding their interests."
This article brought up so many great points. One of the things that stuck out to me most is the difference between spending money and investing it. Are you struggling to invest in yourself right now? What is holding you back?
Here are some simple ways to get started investing in yourself if you're still anxious of spending money:
1. Set a budget for the year and prioritize ONE thing! And then you can break it down per month. Even if you are only able to invest in 1-2 things a year, that is still a great way to start. Saving is a great way to be able to do things. Figure out how much you have to save each month to make what you want to happen, happen. Instead of trying to invest in lots of small things once you've set a budget, pick one that matters most to you. If this is going to join a yoga studio or support group, commit to that one thing. You can always add more later!
2. Look for FREE and reduced cost resources. There are tons of great online resources for business and mental health that are totally free. There are even several courses and programs that you can test! Lots of educators are providing totally free workshops as a way to opt into their email lists and paid programs. You can learn so much without have to pay anything.
3. Write out the benefits of investing in yourself personally if you're still struggling to make a commitment. Would you be able to learn something new? Or make connections? Sometimes you need to be convinced more than anyone else does. Often the people who are close to you will cheer you on to invest in yourself!
4. Believe in yourself. I know, I know, this sounds cheesy, but I'm serious! If you believe in what you're doing, you are more likely to spend money to make it happen. Knowing you are worth the investment, is the most important step in the process!
5. Invest in your future and the goals you have for yourself. Invest in your mental health and the things that you value, but most importantly, invest in yourself. Doing this will make you not only more successful is your business, but in your personal life. You are the best investment you will ever make.
Want to continue the conversation?
Be sure to join the FREE Facebook Community and continue the discussion there! What other struggles are you currently battling with as you navigate your small business journey? I would love to help! Feel free to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions you may have or topics you would like to see covered in future posts.