If I asked you what your greatest asset was, what would be your response? Your House? Car? Family? I beg to differ. You are your own greatest asset. Investing in yourself is the best investment you can make. Everything else will fall into place once the decision to take this powerful responsibility is taken. Nurturing our gifts and honing our latent talents yields amazing personal results. It spills out in other aspects of life and helps serve others better. Self investment IS the best self love. After all, how can you expect others to love you if you do not love yourself first? So create and chant those positive mantras-for-success. Say yes, take that leap of faith mentally, prioritise yourself with consistent motivation (motivation post here), and watch doors open universally. It all begins with in YOU, for You.
I always worried about “job security”. Not any longer. Sure money is always an issue, that niggling necessary evil. However if you have invested in yourself, by inculcating good habits and empowering your mind, then you will have the tools to create your own financial security and work for yourself.
When was the last time you did something for yourself? Most of us put others first before we consider ourselves. Mothers and working women are guilty of this, myself included. Running ourselves ragged at home, then at work and back at home to ensure that the home fires are burning. What about the fire that is banked in ourselves, put on hold until we get more time? Will we even live to see that leisure time? Why wait when we can begin right now? Raise your self worth, say no to others if you absolutely have to, trust your intuition, set your goals, plan and visualise the success whilst doing everything that you love.
Wikipedia defines human capital as “The stock of competencies, knowledge, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.”
Since not many of us can afford the luxury of a coach, consider a mentor to help keep you accountable and work towards to your self worth and human capital. In the meantime, let us look at some ways to self invest :
1. Develop your skills and creativity
Consider investing in furthering your education. With great trepidation, I began taking part time classes at a college. It was quite an eye opener as I was the oldest in the class full of tech savvy youngsters. Even the lecturer was younger than myself. Still, with an open mind, I immersed myself in the challenges and progressed to “A” levels along with the students. The sense of accomplishment, even now, is a resounding echo. If you have the luxury of time, commit those hours to unleashing your dormant talents, which could turn out to be a profitable hobby.
2. Mind, Body, Exercise and Sleep
An open mind is a great tool. Read anything and everything you lay your eyes and hands on. It will help you engage in conversations and navigate life with confidence. My teen son is addicted to television, “the devils workshop,” I call it and the Big Bang Theory. Surprisingly, I allowed myself a slight window of into that world and learned much. Pointless having an active mind and a lethargic body and tired of my body being in “fight or flight” mode, I tossed out my prescribed medication and went cold turkey (not always recommended). In my defence, the tablets had slowed me down, kept me numb and resulted in stinging skin reactions. Find an exercise that works for you, be it meditation to become mindful, yoga, or my personal favourite, gardening. Incorporate healthy food choices (lessening your sugar intake) a balance of rest and relaxation and you have a winning formula for success. Celebrate little wins by investing in a manicure or a haircut, a little self indulgence is necessary for the soul.
3. Choose Happiness
Choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice. Wake up each morning with gratitude and positive thoughts. Refuse to let worry take up your time. Most of what you worry about is mostly in your mind and useless mental activity.
4. Make financial security a priority
Ridding yourself of debt is importance for peace of mind. Earning a salary? Pay yourself first. Let this payment come off automatically. What you do not see, you will not miss. Already paying towards a mortgage? Reduce the payment period by increasing your monthly payment. Do the math, it works wonders. If your employer offers a 401K, join it. Start early, make the best of compound interest and diversify your portfolio. You will be surprised at the gains. If you are a breadwinner, insure yourself. Not many will agree with this but it is a necessary evil. Knowing that your loved ones will be looked after and homed well makes a marked difference on your outlook on life. Left it too late? Start now. Having a strong financial portfolio guarantees peace of mind and increases your sense of worth.
5. Bucket List
Don’t have a bucket list? Create one. This list will identify all your intended objectives and achievements. Write it down, revisit it, hold yourself accountable for your dreams and achievements. Try to strike at least one a month, watch the strikes grow, feel the satisfaction and revel in the mounting pride.
6. Keep a diary
No, this is not juvenile. You are on a mission to invest in yourself, it is your most important objective. After your plan has been outlined, mark your successes. Find positive memes, cut it out, paste and remember them. Retain your stubs to memorable events. Go back and refer to them, remind yourself of your purpose.
7. Strengths and Weaknesses
We are only human. With strengths, there are weaknesses too. Know your strengths, build on them. Know your weaknesses, eliminate them. So what if you made a mistake in the past? Use that as a point of reference, you are no longer travelling that road. Let yourself heal from the past. Mentally psyche yourself with positive daily affirmations.
8. Embrace change
I used to hate change. Slowly I allowed myself to make small doses of change. Once I adjusted my mental gears, I felt like I could lead the pack! I smile now but it is true. Change is growth.
9. Family, Friends and the right crowd
My dad and I had the best conversations, we shared the same books and as a young adult, our telephonic conversations, however brief, made my day. Fourteen years later, I still miss him. Cultivate positive friendships and meet regularly. The old adage, “birds of a feather flock together” is true. No use clucking about in the same muck when you can soar like an eagle. Network and stay in touch. Rid yourself of toxic, negative friends who will weigh you down. Try and reach out to at least one friend a day, you will be richer for it. Friends are the gifts that we gift ourselves.
10. Gratitude IS the attitude.
Take a few moments daily to train your brain to be thankful. Write it in your diary and watch that list too, grow. Whilst travelling through North India, Bala, a tour guide in Mumbai,used to meet me with a beaming smile. In one of our conversations, I learned that he paid almost three quarter of his salary for his daughter’s tuition…and he earned very little. When we were tucked in our hotel beds at 11pm, he caught his train home, to awake at 5am. He was grateful for the health of his children and a small loving family. His positive attitude and local knowledge could not be faulted. Many people have much less than us. Practicing gratitude promotes sleep and improves health and generally makes you happier.
11. Anxiety, Stress and Depression.
My first panic attack occurred after the loss of our treasured aunt. Those that suffer panic attacks, will identify and agree that a panic attack feels like sheer terror, palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, numbness, muscle pain and mental fatigue. I have been told that they are not dangerous. I disagree. Stress and depression rooted itself and took its toll on me. I wish I could have told my younger self to be kinder to myself and not take things as personally. I will admit that I still cannot handle death. Not every day is easy but I refuse to revisit that darkness more than I have to. Learn from my experience, cut yourself some slack. Not everything has to be a sprint to the goalposts. Take a road trip, bond with the family, experience happiness and learn about new places and deserving relationships.
“Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.” ―Dr. Stephen Covey
12. Forgive, forget, heal.
Buddha says that, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. Reining in, holding anger and grudges pulls you back. Forgive. Forget if you can. Move on to free your energy for more productive activities and people. Allow yourself to heal. There are so many more chapters ahead of ourselves in this book called Life.
Think about this…
One day, your children will have left the nest, your work colleagues, spouse or friends may have moved on, passed on even. No one wants to be lonely, stuck in a rut or loveless. Love yourself first, make yourself your priority. Your future depends on the choices you make today, cultivate good habits and polish your personality. Get motivated, stay motivated.
Make sure that you are the best version of yourself and a magnet for success. Start now.