When people talk about investing, they immediately think of investing money somewhere. Maybe in real estate, in the stock market or possibly bonds or maybe something relatively safe like CDs. They may strategize and make sure their portfolio is “diversified.” However, when I talk about investing I like to think about how you can invest in yourself. After all YOU are one of the greatest assets you can invest in.
You may have heard the saying “you will only rise to your level of incompetence.” Meaning, you can only take your business so far before you run out of knowledge and skills. Many businesses I see get stuck and can’t seem to take it to the next level. They struggle with growing their business beyond a certain point. And when I dig deep into the problems many times it’s simply that the owner doesn’t have the knowledge or skill to move farther than they already have.
So what can you do to invest in yourself in increase you knowledge and skills and thereby improve the results you are getting from your business? One simple answer is to READ. Consider the sad statistic that the average person reads about 12 books in a lifetime. That’s IN A LIFETIME! My rule of thumb is to read every day for 20 minutes. If you did that you could probably finish a book per month. That would be 12 books per year. And, let’s say, you did that between the ages of 25 to 65 (not even your whole life time). That would add up to 480 books. How much more knowledge do you think you’d gain just from reading 20 minutes every day? Do you think you would gain a competitive advantage and be able to become more successful? Of course you would. And if you spend a lot of time on the road, as I do, you can get many titles on CDs and listen to them instead of reading— a great way to use that time instead of listening to music or sports and other talk shows.
There are other ways to invest in yourself. Attending seminars and/or workshops is another great use of your time. There are many of these available through local chambers or business associations. If you can take away just one good idea from attending a workshop it would be a great return on your time investment. There is also the Internet. There is so much out there a simple search in Google can lead you to many different articles and newsletters on a multitude of topics.
Another great way to invest in yourself is to meet and build relationships with other successful business people. Share ideas and best practices. You could do this in a group or simply meet one on one with someone periodically.
We all know that “knowledge is power.” And in most cases it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to gain more knowledge. It simply takes your commitment and passion to achieve personal growth. So the next time you think about investing think about investing in yourself. It can make all the difference in the world. And the sooner you start the sooner you will see the results.