Last week, I attended a workshop on investing in yourself hosted by PWOCN, The Professional Women of Color Network. I came in expecting to get some financial investment tips and tricks and left with something much more meaningful.
Jolyn shared her inspirational story of leaving her job as a criminal prosecutor to live the life she dreamed of. She explained her definition of living a life of leisure as having “opportunity afforded by free time.” That phrase has been stuck in my mind ever since.
The most valuable information for me came during the discussion on what investing in yourself actually means. As we went around the room, I was surprised to hear that no one was speaking about financial investments. Instead, the idea of ‘betting on you’ was about so much more than money.
With The Great Reshuffle in full swing and October 10th’s World Mental Health Day celebration, the discussion was timely and motivational. I thought I would share 8 meaningful ways to invest in yourself.
8 Meaningful Ways to Invest In Yourself
Know Who You Are
Imagine pulling out a roadmap to look for directions (I know… old school) and not having a destination. To know who you want to be and where you are going, you must start with who you are right now.
What are your strengths and weaknesses? Are there things about yourself that you don’t like and want to change? Do you have talents and ambitions that you are not using?
Do the work by analyzing yourself and your habits to identify areas for improvement and attributes you want to highlight.
Know Your Value
Now that you have taken inventory and know what you like about yourself and what you can leave behind, it’s time to advocate for yourself ruthlessly.
Every single skill that you have is valuable. Understanding what you bring to the table is important in making sure that you never allow yourself to be undervalued or taken advantage of.
Do your research and find out what people are paying for your type of expertise. Jolyn made a statement that resonated with me. She said, “You are the wealth.”
To me, that means you don’t work for free or for a discount unless you are volunteering. Your knowledge is your own asset and is worth the investment from anyone needing access to it.
Be In a Position to Add Value
Naturally, knowing who you are and being aware of the value you bring will highlight areas where you can increase that value.
Relationships, business and personal, are created based on need. Whether it is emotional, personal, or financial, everyone is getting something out of the relationships they choose to participate in.
You can add value by meeting a need for others. Maybe you have a business that sells products to solve a problem. Perhaps you provide a service that helps others. Understanding what value your unique abilities adds is pivotal in creating circumstances where others see and know your worth.
Learn Something New
Personal development is one of the best ways to invest in yourself. Have you identified gaps in your knowledge? Find courses that can fill them.
Knowing where you fall short is a powerful position to be in. With so many platforms available to give you free learning resources, everyone is capable of learning anything.
If your career or business idea requires certain knowledge, pursue it. You don’t have to be an expert in every subject that comes your way, but if it is vital to your success and aligns with your purpose, get the information you need.
Collaborate and Delegate
You cannot be everything to everyone. Knowing what should be passed off to someone else is as important as learning the things that you need to know when investing in yourself.
A new phrase I heard during the PWOCN workshop was “Village Technology”, which is not technology at all. It’s the idea of building a talented, collaborative community to lean on when you need to.
One of the biggest causes of burnout is the refusal to delegate. Surround yourself with people you can trust and depend on. Work together to get things done and give as much as you take.
Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Relationships are reciprocal. Even with parents and children, one gets the benefit of being loved, cared for, and supported, while the other hopes that the investment in their little one will pay off in the long run.
This isn’t just about financial support. Help can come in so many ways; a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen, advice, resources, referrals, or simply showing up.
The only people that should be allowed into your presence are those who believe in you, love you, and support your vision. You become like the people you spend the most time with. Make sure the habits and mindset you pick up are positive and beneficial.
Create Circumstances in Which You Can Thrive
My favorite saying is, “If you don’t like where you are, leave. You’re not a tree.” Barring imprisonment, you have the freedom to only involve yourself in situations that serve you.
If you find that your home, workplace, or any other setting that you are showing up to is dragging you down and creating roadblocks, it’s time to let it go.
The Law of Attraction is the belief that you create your own reality. You speak things into existence. You surround yourself with circumstances that support your journey. Know how to leave the table when you are no longer being served.
The ability to thrive is dependent on your environment, valuing your time by not overcommitting, and protecting your energy by not taking on other people’s problems or negativity.
Speak up when you are bothered or uncomfortable. Learn to say no without guilt or explanation. Support others in a way that does not compromise you, your morals, or your goals.
Avoid Negative Self-Talk
Who better to speak life into you than you? How you talk to yourself is a strong indicator of how you see yourself and how the world will view you.
The way you communicate with yourself can either sabotage or support your goals. Positive self-talk can build self-confidence, help you cope with life’s struggles, and supports your mental health and well-being.
If you happen to start talking negatively to yourself, ask if it is helpful. If not, redirect your thoughts. If you are having difficulty changing those detrimental thoughts, reach out to a mental health professional.
Sure, investing in yourself is about money and the freedom to live the life that you deserve. It’s about building wealth and knowledge that can pass from generation to generation and bridge the financial gap for people of color.
But more importantly, investing in yourself is about setting up the right circumstances for growth and abundance. Doing what you love to the best of your ability, having a network of like-minded and supportive people, and speaking life into yourself is a recipe for financial empowerment and stability.