Invest in yourself: development, mentors + coaches

At one time or another in our lives, we’ve all received advice on the importance of “investing in ourselves.” Still, interestingly enough, this advice may not mean the same thing to one person as it does to the next. What does it mean to you?

Your answer will surely be somewhat different than your neighbor, colleague or friend. But the more important question is where and how do you begin? Below are a few suggestions on how to get started on your journey of personal investment.

  1. Improve your skills. Everyone can benefit from taking a hard look at their strengths and opportunities. But instead of focusing on marginally improving or overcoming weak areas, think about how much greater an impact you could make by aggressively working to build up your strengths. Lean into the areas where you can create the most impact.
  2. Explore your creative side. Although your strengths may lie in numbers or science, you can still benefit from tapping into the other part of your brain. And remember, creativity doesn’t necessarily mean art or music, it can be the ability to approach a challenge differently and be an innovator. Creativity is subjective and unique to the individual – embrace yours.
  3. Map out your financial future. It never hurts to evaluate your past and current financial situation and look forward to the future. Whether you’re in debt, making a comfortable living or saving for a future purchase – it is always a good idea to set goals and guidelines to get you to your ideal financial future.

Now that you’ve got a good start, let’s take it a step further.

While skills, creativity and finances are key areas of basic investment in self, it’s also important to look outside of oneself to continue on the path of personal growth. Specifically, finding a mentor – someone to help push you to that next level – can help you with the goals above and provide insights and guidance in many other areas of your personal and professional development.

A mentor is someone who has experience and expertise in areas and skills where you want to grow. They may be in the same career or industry and can guide you as you navigate the ladder they’ve already climbed. When you find a mentor organically – a current or previous boss, a connection you’ve made in the community, reaching out directly to someone you admire or through referrals – you begin a relationship that could last for many years. These people become both guides and anchors for you throughout your career as you shift and grow and pivot.

If you are having a tough time finding a mentor on your own, there is also the option to hire a coach to serve as a type of mentor. A coach is a little bit different in that they can provide unfiltered and unbiased advice in all areas of your personal and professional development. Hiring a coach is guaranteed to give you the feedback you need which could be the key to your future success. Of course, there are many different styles and approaches, so it’s important to find the right fit.

While you may be able to achieve your goals on your own, having a mentor or coach can enable you to achieve your dreams faster and possibly help guide you to avoid classic pitfalls along the way.

So what are you waiting for? Start investing in yourself today!