How to invest in yourself
Businesses need to maintain themselves or grow. If a business is shrinking, it is failing, and it is only a matter of time before the business will crumble. This is especially true for public businesses, which have a responsibility to their stockholders to constantly grow and improve – for them, being stagnant is not good enough to keep the doors open. Even for small businesses, you’ll often see them always striving to grow their business. When they do get a windfall, it is often immediately re-invested back into the business. More marketing, hire more people, expand. This happens for a couple of reasons, but the primary one is that the only way that you can guarantee the business will succeed is if it is constantly improving itself – otherwise someone else will take your business from you. Look at MySpace. Look at the music industry. Look at Sears. These are businesses that failed or are failing because they are stagnant. So why would you treat yourself any differently? Treat yourself like a business and start investing in yourself.
Invest in your education
There is nothing worse you can do for your career than stop learning. It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what business you are employed by if you stop learning you will become obsolete eventually. I see this all the time in the various industries that I’ve worked in. As I am a relatively young person, I often come into roles with older co-workers. They have often been doing their job for longer than I’ve been living out of my parent’s basement, and I have a few weeks of job education. However, because I am a student of everything I come across,I can quickly learn what is required to do their job, and soon surpasses them as well. This, not surprisingly, has rarely gone over well. The problem is not that they aren’t good at doing their job – they definitely are. The problem is that they stopped learning, they stopped growing, and they became stagnant in their position.
Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant in your career. Even if you love the job that you do, start learning how to do it better. Does your job involve computers? Learn a programming language and start automating your tasks. Does your job involve working with different departments or companies? Start learning what they do through job shadows or interviews so that you can improve relationships, communication, and processes between the different areas. Never stop learning by investing in your own education and skills.
Invest in your health
One of the biggest things you can do for your career is to get fit and stay fit. A healthy body is a healthy mind, and it doesn’t matter if your job is sitting at a desk or walking 20 kilometers a day, you need to be healthy in order to progress in your career. As unfair as it may seem, if you are sick or injured on a regular basis, you are unable to do your job well enough to be considered for promotions, raises, or new job opportunities. You don’t need to be a bodybuilder in order to progress your career, but getting fit and staying fit shows that you have self-control and willpower. A business would fail if it had to close it’s doors for two months twice a year – don’t allow your body to do the same.
Invest in your future
There’s a reason most personal finance advice starts with savings. If you want to be able to take advantage of life’s ups and downs, you need an emergency fund to buffer the damage. If you want to be able to relax when you’re older, then you need a retirement fund to rely upon. For most people, they will not make enough through a simple salary in order to become financially independent. That’s why you need to put your savings somewhere that it can start working for you as well. Whether that is a mutual fund, some bonds, or a simple savings account, it needs to be earning you enough interest over time that it will outpace the rate of inflation so that it is ready for when you need it. Take the time and money necessary to understand your investment options – it may be the best financial investment you can make.
What do you do to ensure that you are investing in yourself? How do you keep yourself from being stagnant?