What comes to mind when you read Invest in Yourself? Is it buying yourself that new outfit? Shopping at Whole Foods? Or being able to invest in your 401K? Whatever came to mind, I want to challenge you to rethink what this means to you.
I was recently discussing how we often sign up for training events with a sincere intention to attend and improve at a specific subject / area of expertise. In some cases, for whatever reason, we don’t attend. I find myself asking, “What is it that makes us follow through with that commitment?” Does personal development need to be forced by our employers to make sure we put enough attention on it to actually do the task? Or is it a matter of money? Is the only way our minds can see value in a commitment if it is tied to money? Coming from a background of sales, this is something I will continue to research. In the meantime, allow me to call attention to the importance of personal development and investing in your skills.
Wikipedia defines Personal development as “activities that improve awareness and identity, develop talents and potential, build human capital and facilitate employability, enhance the quality of life and contribute to the realization of dreams and aspirations. Personal development takes place over the course of a person’s entire life. Not limited to self-help, the concept involves formal and informal activities for developing others in roles such as teacher, guide, counselor, manager, life coach or mentor. When personal development takes place in the context of institutions, it refers to the methods, programs, tools, techniques, and assessment systems that support human development at the individual level in organizations.”
Let’s start with improving awareness and identity. If we don’t spend time reflecting on our own abilities and how we can improve, we will be in a constant state of confusion. Not understanding what direction to go or what strengths we possess to get us there. Understanding who we are or who we would like to become is the first step in personal development. Spend some time to understand your talents and goals.
Building Human Capital and Employability. This should have Human Resources rejoicing as well as demanding investment into personal development. How can HR really show that they are building the human capital within their organizations? I believe there is fear that if we help train our employees to be better at their jobs that they may acquire those skills then leave the organizations. This fear has increased in recent years with millennials entering the workforce. I too have struggled with the investment and the ‘unknown’ in an employee’s commitment, but there is no room for abandoning our responsibility to training and building our employees within our organizations. If you treat your employee well, even if they leave, they will send connections and even sometimes sales back your way.
Invest In Yourself
Self-help… now I am a big fan. I probably have more books in this area than any other, but this can only go so far. We must network and grow by connecting with people who are better than us. Networking with role models and mentors who have already figured out much of what we are trying to accomplish. Joining a network of peers in your industry is one of the most valuable gifts you can give yourself. I say give to yourself, because you don’t have to wait for your boss to sign you up for these opportunities. If you understand the importance of this to your development as a person and an employee, you can easily make the case for this.
As I think about this for our own conference, Empowering Women in Industry, I have never been more confident in the amount of value something like this will give to your life. At $350 for a full day of learning skills, networking, and celebrating industry success with dinner and music, I will take back that overpriced purse or wine and take another look at really investing in myself.
So, if the research says we must tie dollars to our commitments to make sure they happen, that is all set up for our event – just know that this is not what is motivating our event. Our event is motivated by the desire to help you invest in yourself. You are worth investing in!!! When you grow, and we grow together, we can #BetheChange.
“Personal development is the belief that you are worth the effort, time and energy needed to develop yourself.” ―Denis Waitley