Looking to start investing in yourself unsure of where to start? When you reach a certain level of your career, you might start to feel a plateau. And no matter what you do, it seems like you start moving in circles.
This is especially a very common thing to feel when you are mid-way through your career. You aren’t 18 anymore looking at which college to go to and you aren’t 22 anymore looking for your first professional job. It’s at this point that you know something needs to change but you don’t know what to do next. Should you go back to school? Start a side business? Hire a coach? Which business tools should you use? The list of questions goes on and on.
If you are feeling this way, know that you are not alone. No one has it all figured out and it can be difficult to move forward.
When you get to a certain stage of your career, you know you need some help to get to the next level, but because you are no longer in school….there is no one to tell you what to do.
It can be overwhelming but also intimidating so today I’m going to break down how to work through your fear of investing and how to make a smart career investment in yourself. Let’s get started!
1. Ensure You Are Investing In The Result Not The Details
When you are looking to investing in something, whether it’s a coach, a degree or even starting your own side business, it can be so easy to obsess over the small details that you lose sight of the result. This is especially easy if you are someone who overthinks and overanalyzes details instead of looking at the benefits of the result.
When you are investing in a coach or starting your side business, it’s really easy to just try to get up in the small details that you don’t make any progress in making a decision or action. I did this, for the longest time. I used to obsess over the small details of everything purchase, and that would prevent me from moving forward with anything. And then because I obsessed over the small details, I lacked the ability to see how to apply the outcome. I got so caught up in the nitty-gritty details that I didn’t have a realistic plan for the result.
For me, this was a re-occurring theme in my life was going back for a Master’s. I’ve thought about it every year since I’ve graduated from university and the decision I’ve made is to not invest in a Master’s because after defining my career goals, I’ve realized I don’t need it and it’s not the path for me. However, many people go into investing in education without investing in the result. If you go to law school, but you don’t like working 80 hour weeks or doing being in a courthouse, then you may not like the lifestyle of a lawyer. I know a lot of people who spent a ton of time researching which university to go to because of their programs, their campus, the notoriety of their name, but didn’t invest the time to understand what lifestyle, salary, or job opportunities of the career that would result from the career investment.
2. Calculate the Opportunity Cost
Not all investments are not good investments or are meant for you. So how do you decide what the right thing to do is? To really understand if something is a good career investment, it’s important to look at the opportunity cost of NOT investing. If you choose not to invest in yourself, it will come at a cost.
When I look back on my past experience, some of my best investments have been into my education, coaching, travel, my health and creating my side business. The opportunity cost for me not to invest was higher in those cases because the result has far exceeded the initial career investment. The one thing all of the things have in common is that it saved me time, which is something I literally never buyback.
However, sometimes it’s okay to pay the cost. One of my absolute favourite people to follow on Instagram is Bridget from @moneyaftergrad. One of the opportunity costs I’m willing to pay is the cost of not investing in cryptocurrency. I love learning investing information from Bridget because she is very concise and clear on the risks your decision makes and one of the most poignant things she said was that (paraphrased) is that cryptocurrency is a huge risk. And you can either choose to be an investor or a spectator and both decisions are completely fine. In this case, I’ve chosen to be a spectator.
And I choose to be that in many parts of my life. I am a spectator in the level of Master’s education. I’m also a spectator in cryptocurrency. For me, the opportunity costs of not investing in it outweigh the potential return. I know I can make the salary I want and do the type of work I want without a Master’s and I can now invest stress-free in the market because I only invest in ETFs and dividend stocks. I’m okay with not being a crypto millionaire overnight because I’m not willing to lose all of my investments because of an Elon Musk tweet as well.
3. Understand That Investing Solidifies The Commitment And Speeds Up The Process/Returns
One thing I’ve only begun to excel in my later years of life is how investing can force a commitment. An example that everyone, including myself, can relate to is probably school. When it comes to education, the truth is, most of the information is already online. However, most people lack the discipline to be able to learn something without a professor, teacher, or tutor. Because when you invest in school, you’re more likely to show up to class, to do the homework, to study for the exams because you’ve already paid for it. And more than that, in school you have the accountability piece because if you don’t do the work by a certain deadline, you fail the course and most schools do not give you a refund.
When I was looking to upskill myself to work for the Federal Government, I looked into learning French. And really, all the information is out there on the internet. I could learn to memorize all the words, all the verb conjugations etc., but if you’ve ever learned how to learn a language, you know that it’s about so much more than just memorizing words. When I really become serious about learning French, instead of just using Duolingo and watching French Netflix, I invested in a French tutor. Because I met with her every week, I had someone to keep me accountable. Investing also accelerates your growth because it gives you a road map, tools, and accountability. Could I learned French on my own only using Duolingo and watching French Netflix? Sure, but it would have taken a ton more time and I wouldn’t have personalized attention to fix my mistakes.
I provide a career mindset coaching and the reason why my clients see great results is because they have the accountability piece to accelerate their growth and apply what they learned so they don’t get held back by the same obstacles over and over and over again. If you are looking for help, make sure to book a call!
4. It Doesn’t Have To Be All or Nothing
The most common mistake people make is never investing if they feel like they’ve made a mistake. or if it doesn’t work out 100% the way they thought, they don’t do it all or don’t take it as a learning opportunity.
Have I made bad investments? Oh yes. Have a used those lessons to make incredible investments? Oh yes. One of the most important lessons you need to learn about investing is that every career investment (good or bad) is a learning lesson and it’s critical to reflect on that and not beat yourself up over past mistakes. Instead, think of the as the cost of a lesson and use it to move forward.
I’ve made a lot of bad investments, I’ve talked about my massive stock market investment mistakes, but if I didn’t learn from those experiences, I would not have the portfolio I have today. I’ve made way more money in my portfolio than I have lost because I was able to reflect on my own decisions.
I’ve also made bad business investments. I have invested literally thousands of dollars into courses that didn’t work out, but the great thing about it was I was able to learn how to invest in the right things.
5. Focus on Transforming The Future Version of Yourself
Whenever I feel unsure of whether or not to make a career investment, I think about what the future version of myself would tell me. And to do that, I think about what I tell the younger version of myself regarding my investments.
This is how you develop the ability to grow into a growth mindset, stop beating yourself up and developing the self-trust when it comes to investing.
Investing in yourself in your career and business is going to take a lot of self-trust and not beating yourself up for mistakes. The better you are at learning from your mistakes and growing, the better your investments and returns will be.