The Best Investment? It's You.

(What I think I look like at the gym)

You want a hot tip? Invest in yourself.

Did I just see you roll your eyes? Thought so. But what if investing in yourself is the best way to increase income, savings and reach financial goals? What if investing in yourself is personally rewarding as well?

When you're trying to decide where to put your effort and time, consider your own education and skill set first.

(What I actually look like at the gym)

What does investing in yourself mean? Here's my two cents:

Becoming a lifelong learner. Those who are eager to learn will become experts in their field. You will never know everything about your profession, but you shouldn't assume you "know enough." That's dangerous. Whether you work in finance, medicine, teaching, the arts, or truck driving industries are constantly evolving and they'll evolve without you if you don't continue to learn and adapt. Experience plus continuing education makes an invaluable employee. You want to climb that corporate ladder? Show your superiors you're constantly making an effort to evolve yourself and remain relevant and of value. Lifelong learners value reading, surrounding themselves with people more intelligent than they are, and curiosity.

Allowing yourself to explore creative endeavors. We weren't just born to pay bills and die, y'all. We've all got a creative muscle whether you know it or not. Allow yourself to explore and flex it. Your creativity might not help you in your professional life per se, but it's good for the soul and it'll help you generate ideas. Our creative side strengthens the more we allow ourselves the freedom to use it.

Eating healthy and exercising. Part of investing in yourself is supporting your health and well-being. By eating right and exercising you'll keep your machine running smoothly and with the energy required to succeed. A recent study showed that 77% of Americans don't get enough daily exercise. That's the opposite of investing in yourself. You don't have to go crazy either. A 20 minute walk in the sunshine is better than nothing.

Prioritizing your mental health. It is possible to work yourself to death, or at least to burn-out. Our culture is one where we shame rest and idolize busyness. It's not healthy and it's definitely not sustainable. Our mental health is much like our physical health. We must take time to exercise it, rest it, and do what is needed to recharge our battery. If you need to power nap at 2pm everyday, that's okay. If you need to meditate, see a therapist, get medicated, or just go for long walks in the woods, that's okay, too. Self-care is a critical component of your overall success. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Trusting yourself. The most successful people were able to take risks that paid off because they trusted themselves. Our greatest failure is our inability to trust ourself. Not trusting yourself results in indecision, complacency, and a life of missed opportunities. Trust yourself to take the necessary risks to achieve great rewards. You're smarter and more capable than you give yourself credit for.

What are the results of investing in yourself?

Increased confidence. The more I invest in myself the more confident I feel in my job. It's as simple as that. Every year my financial knowledge has grown tremendously and I'm excited to become an expert in this field. As I continue to invest in my own education, the more comfortable I feel giving advice and doing my job day in and day out. Confidence leads to greater job performance and increased production. There's a motto hanging above my desk that reads, "Be smart enough to know you don't know anything at all." It seems counterintuitive, but this motto will make you more confident because you are opening yourself up to personal growth.

A solid network. A natural side effect of investing in yourself is growing your professional network and industry connections. Building relationships will help you gain mentors, referrals, and opportunities.

A life of purpose. Investing in yourself will help you find what you've truly been called to do. You'll have greater knowledge and clarity.

Increased income. Your mind is your money making tool. The more you sharpen it, the more potential you have to earn a higher income. Don't limit yourself by having a closed mind.

Achievement. Naturally, by investing in yourself you'll be more prepared to achieve your goals. I truly believe achievement helps us feel satisfied and is a source of motivation in the workplace. If you never achieve anything, what's there to keep you going? Investing in yourself will allow you to reach new heights.

So while you're at the beach this summer, read! Write! Ask people questions! Give yourself the gift of a growth mindset!

Have a happy 4th of July!

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