After bouncing around from job to job after high school it was obvious I was not on the right career path. Folks, I’m not sure I was on any path, much less the right one. I worked at a carwash. I worked in a bakery. I got a factory job. I was going nowhere fast.
But something changed for me. It started when I heard a radio advertisement for Evans Business College in nearby Concord, North Carolina. It was a relatively short program that provided training on the basics of personal success in the workplace. The main mission of the school was to help a guy like me get a better job—or in my case, get a job to begin with!
The simple lessons were exactly what I needed to get my life going in the right direction. It helped me so much and I liked it so much that I ended up owning the college and most of the course materials.
Following up on that radio ad was the breakthrough moment when I realized if I was going to be successful I needed to invest in myself.
We love to talk about investing in the stock market. But how about investing in ourselves? What are you doing right now to sow the seeds of accomplishment in your life?
Let me throw four simple ideas about ways to invest in yourself for you to consider.
- Invest in yourself by taking care of your body. Good health fosters good productivity. Care enough about you to improve your diet and get some regular exercise. If you are too busy to take care of your body you are either too busy—or need to reprioritize your time.
- Invest in yourself by taking care of your appearance. The rules of dressing for success aren’t the same as when I started out in business. But personal grooming never goes out of style. Dressing appropriately for an occasion isn’t old fashioned. I don’t care if your potential customer wants to see you formal or hip or sporty … what you wear needs to send the right message to the people you need to help you to succeed. You might even need to dress up for the potential investor meeting.
- Invest in yourself by feeding your mind. Don’t be one of those people who is addicted to mindless entertainment. There are grown men that spend as much time on video games as they do on their job. Have a favorite weekly TV show. Watch the big game with friends. Go to an occasional movie or concert. Read an escapist novel. Fine. But don’t let those things dominate your waking hours. What’s the last business or self-help book you read that really challenged you? What’s the last lecture from a business leader or life expert you watched on YouTube? (Screaming goats, kittens playing the piano, ski falls, and karaoke bloopers are funny—but you need to feed your mind with big ideas.) I was shocked to learn that 37% of high school graduates never read another book; 43% of college graduates never read another book either. Wow. Don’t be that person.
- Invest in yourself by being in settings with other people who are also committed to growing. Learning is not a stage of life, but rather a lifelong pursuit. Continuing education—something near and dear to my heart for obvious reasons—is available in so many formats now. Ask your boss to help you pay to finish your degree. Join Toastmasters or a book-reading club. Audit a class at the college closest to you. Enroll in a degree program. Go to free lectures to listen to smart professors and authors. Just do something!
My life changed when I learned the value of investing in myself. I believe the same will happen for you!