When we talk about investing, we know that Investing is, without a doubt, important. We throw around that term loosely, I find. Investing entails putting effort, whether it be time or money into something with an expectation of growth. When we talk about investing, we think about return of investment and we want something in return for the money and time that we put in. We often talk on this blog about investing in your portfolio, your RRSP and your TFSA, but we seldom talk about investing in yourself.
Related: TFSA VS RRSP
Investing in yourself is probably by far the most important type of investment. Investing in yourself does not mean buying expensive shoes, a Louis Vuitton purse, or the most recent iPad. These do not necessarily give you growth. A momentary satisfaction, perhaps, but little or no return on investment.
Investing in yourself entails personal, professional, or spiritual growth that will help you be a better person in your workplace and help you grow your career. Here are a few ways that can give a good return on investment for your current personal, professional, and spiritual state.
Investing in your Professional Growth
This is probably the most expensive way to invest in yourself but can give you a boost in your career, help give you new career options, and to reinforce your passion for continual lifelong learning. Many people also go back to school during an economic downturn to upgrade their skills.
An important thing to note about professional growth and going back to school. Before taking the commitment (often at least 1-2 years of schooling), make sure you understand the job market for the additional education you are seeking. Many people feel that there isn't much point to take 1-2 years off the peak of your working years to seek education that may not benefit you in any way financially. Another thing is to make sure you will follow through with the program and finish it. If not, the return on investment is very very dismal.
Investing in your Personal Growth
Investing in your personal growth is by far the most “bang for your buck” option. There are plenty of options out there. Toastmasters is a great meet up group for those who want to have a supportive place to improve and develop public speaking. Toastmasters is usually free and it is also a great way to meet new people. Gaining confidence with public speaking (without having to resort to taking an Ativan to calm your nerves down) is a great asset for your personal and professional growth.
In addition, personal growth also involves respecting your body and your mind. Take care of your body by exercising (30 to 60 minutes a day 4 to 7 days a week is recommended), by eating well, getting sufficient sleep, and by drinking plenty of water.
Investing in your Spiritual Growth
Spirituality colours everything that we do because it is the way that we find meaning in our lives. Without a good sense of what drives us, what calms us, and without a good sense of who we are, we risk going through the daily grind or daily motion without a direction.
Stresses of every day life, getting the groceries, making meals, getting to work on time, making that deadline for work, picking up the kids- these are all part of every day life but can add a lot of stress. Stress is a big reason for most illness that we face later in life, including heart disease and high blood pressure.
Investing in your spiritual growth can be in the form of a retreat. A meditation retreat can cost anywhere from $75 to $300 for a weekend away. You'll be fed (well) and you will learn the skills to incorporate meditation into your every day life. Studies show that with six weeks of consistent mindfulness meditation, MRI and CT scan changes are seen in the brain within 8 weeks according to eScience. That $300 is priceless for the ability to allow little things not bother you like they used to, like a stubbed toe or someone cutting you off in traffic. The change in the outlook and perspective of your life is priceless.
Readers, how have you developed your personal, professional, and spiritual lives?