When people go to see a broker to talk ‘investment’ it’s not to discuss signing up to a yoga class, travelling for a year or enrolling in an online business school. The term ‘invest’ is usually used to refer to property, shares, some kind of financial commitment, or the purchase of an asset intended to increase in value over time or improve an outcome. However, investing can also refer to ‘effort’ or ‘time’, not simply a financial consideration. We can also invest in people, not just ‘things’ such as investing in our relationships (including the one we have with ourselves) as well as investing in our personal and professional selves.
Investing in your personal and professional growth will not only yield future returns, it also presents you with ‘right now’ benefits. The time, effort and money you invest into yourself will have a direct impact on the quality of life you experience now and into the future. Some of the most successful people alive today attribute much of their success to having invested in their own personal development and wellbeing. However not everyone seriously considers the huge benefits that come with investing in one’s self. Equally as important as external, monetary investments, investing in yourself helps to create a strong and secure foundation, increases confidence and provides you with additional skills on which to build throughout your life.
Ongoing personal development may improve your ability to prosper and perform according to research. A study between Oxford University and the Workers Educational Association of England and Scotland found when people participate in classes outside of work, they improve their mental and physical health and report greater satisfaction with their lives. A study by Cornel University in New York explored the idea that education enhances economic decision making and argues the case for expanding your horizons and learning something new.
As we ease into a new year, why not consider some simple ways you can invest in becoming the best version of yourself
Self development is a vast and broad area, but may include doing in-person or online courses for personal growth or to pursue an interest; attending workshops to learn new skills or to advance a hobby; or reading ‘self-help’ books to develop and expand your own personal awareness. Self development also encompasses embracing new experiences or travelling to new places to expand your horizons and push your own boundaries and comfort zones, each of which helps to create a rich life experience.
Engaging in personal growth or self development may give you the opportunity to improve the following:
- Listening skills
- Learning new skills
- Empathy towards others
- Being more focused, gaining more clarity
- Your ability to set and achieve goals
- Being more organised
- Being more courageous
- Enhanced resilience
- Confronting and overcoming fears
- Moving beyond self doubt
- Improve your ability to cope with change
- Your ability to change perspective and see things differently
- Self-awareness, in turn fostering a stronger sense of purpose and identity
All of these traits will support you to enjoy better relationships with work colleagues, clients, loved ones and foster a more nurturing relationship toward yourself. Improved self-awareness also helps us to better understand our own values and beliefs, making it easier to make decisions based on these. Healthy relationships, increased confidence and motivation to work toward your goals will all flow on to elevate personal satisfaction and success.
Learning, training, and Skills development
Professional development encompasses anything which gives you additional skills, strategies or structures to enhance your professional life. This might include enrolling in TAFE or University or taking short courses or ongoing training. It’s easy to discount learning later in life, but it’s never too late to improve efficiencies, expand your skills set, increase your knowledge base, or develop expertise or a specialty which may contribute to a more satisfying and rewarding career. Some industries require yearly professional development training to maintain industry standards and uphold regulations.
Investing in skills and training may result in the following:
- Broadened employment options and career prospects
- Increased productivity
- Encouraging innovation
- Increased earning potential
- Increased confidence in the workplace
- Improved job satisfaction
- Becoming an expert in your field
Often training, courses and skills development can be claimed as tax deductions. Anything that expands your skills for an existing role can be claimed as a tax deduction. In some cases, if signing up to the course or training is coordinated with your employer, they may offer to cover the expense. If you work for yourself any industry courses relevant to your profession or general business related courses can be claimed as tax deductions.
Health and Well-being
No matter how well your shares are going on the stock market or how many investment properties you have, without good health these are worthless. Your health is one of your most valuable assets and spending money on improving your wellbeing should be a priority. Examples of investing in your health and wellbeing might include buying and eating healthy, nutritious food; dedicating time and money to fitness; or carving out time for massages, meditation classes or wellness retreats. Anything that supports you to nourish your mind or body and reduce stress is a valuable way to look after the essential assets that are your your body and mind.
Investing in your health and well being may assist with the following.
- Reduced stress
- Increased energy and productivity
- Improve sleep
- Improved mood
- Increase overall health
- Improved life expectancy
- Reduced potential medical costs in the future
- Improved relationships
A healthy mind and body will enable you to live, work and play more fully and to appreciate your monetary investments now and into the future.
As you budget for 2024 and allocate funds towards your various financial commitments and goals, don’t forget to keep some aside to invest in yourself, it’ll be one of the best return in investments you are ever likely to experience.
Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.