In order to grow in any aspect of life requires dedication and self-conscious investment.
Great athletes invest in the best coaches. Great business people re-invest profits so they can scale faster and more productively. Even great artists often take time out to explore the world so they can find that next spark of inspiration for their next masterpiece.
Yet investment isn’t limited to physical things and the desire to earn more money, fame or recognition. We can also invest in ourselves to grow as individuals – to feel happier, more positive or even more comfortable in who we are.
In fact, one well known global CEO I have worked closely with the last few years even lives by the motto “that the best investment any of us can make is in ourselves”.
Makes sense. But what does investing in ourselves mean? How do we do it?
The last few weeks, I decided to actually put this question to the leaders I work with myself. And unsurprisingly, not only did most of the successful people I work with specifically mention that they regularly took the time out for personal development, they also had specific systems and tools to do so.
Here are some ways how great leaders invest in themselves.
In my experience, I have found unquestionably, that in the majority of cases great leaders are usually avid readers.
This is usually because often reading illustrates a keen desire to learn and grow. Whether it learning a technical skill, seeking personal development or even reading about a particular person who we wish to emulate, reading is perhaps one of the easiest and most enjoyable ways to invest effectively in ourselves.
Through reading, we can learn the secrets, tips and advice of others. Through reading, we can learn about other people’s mistakes and how we can avoid (yet still learn) from them. Through reading, we can see the world through the highest achievers – even those who are no longer around.
Great leaders understand that reading allows us to feed the mind with the content we wish to concentrate on. It brings focus and direction. By carefully selecting the right content and making reading a regular part of their lives, they ensure that they are investing in themselves consistently.
Great leaders read consistently.
They use a coach
Almost all the high performers I have worked with have attributed the major part of their success in finding the right coach.
Sometimes, these coaches may be referred to advisors or mentors. Regardless of the name, the point is that finding and spending time with the right coach is perhaps one of the best investments any of us can make.
Using a coach, rather than relying purely on self-directed learning and development has several benefits. Firstly, a coach can actually observe us and tell us if we’re doing something wrong (even if we might think we’re doing it right). Secondly, they can give us encouragement and hope when the road gets rocky (which it will). And thirdly, as innately social creatures, the simple truth is that all of us perform better when we know their is someone behind us willing – even relying – on us to succeed. Working together with a coach to overcome massive hurdles or to hit unimaginable heights can be one of the most rewarding experiences in our lives. Sometimes even more rewarding than the achievement itself.
Great leaders understand that self-development doesn’t happen in isolation. To invest in ourselves most effectively requires the support and expertise of others who can compliment our own levels of knowledge and skill. By finding the right coaches, they’re able to maximise opportunities and minimise obstacles when they present themselves.
Great leaders maximise opportunity.
They realise investments cost time and money
Most people know all of the above.
It’s obvious that spending more time reading about subjects that we want to improve on will eventually pay off. Most of us realise the importance of a good coach. We all fundamentally accept that investing in our health (through exercise and reducing stress) will lead to a longer and happier life.
Yet most of us still don’t invest nowhere near as much time as we’d like to in these areas.
The usual answer: we’re too busy.
In other words, too busy working. Trying to earn as much money, career advancement and recognition as possible.
And in this increasingly fast paced world we live in, it’s so difficult just to keep up with our ever increasing work loads and to-do lists, that trying to do something extra and invest in ourselves in the long term is something that we hardly get a chance to think about.
But this is where great leaders are different. Just like a wise investor, they realise that in order to get a good long-term return, it’s essential to invest regular small amounts in the present. Just like good fund managers consistently re-invest their profits, great leaders are not afraid to spend their time and money to get the best tools to allow to them to grow.
By investing small amounts over a long period of time, they cumulatively grow to become the best they can be.
Great leaders invest to become the best.
Pensions, property and savings are obviously important.
But sometimes the best investment we can ever make is in ourselves.
Great leaders not only know they importance of regularly investing in themselves, they also develop a reliable system of doing so. To ensure that they keep improving and growing.
It’s a simple formula, but a powerful one.
How do you invest in yourself?
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