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The Best Ways to Invest in Yourself
One of the most consistent and highest-performing investments you can make throughout your life is in yourself. That is to say, one of the best ways to use what available capital you have (financial, social, or human) is to focus it inward and use it to turn yourself into the most complete, capable, knowledgeable and employable person you can be.
Investments in yourself can be major or minor, but they should always be strategic and purposeful. Chosen correctly, they will make you stand out in a sea of global competition and allow you to add value that will be repaid in the form of responsibility, opportunity and, eventually, salary.
Below are some of the best ways you can invest in yourself as a person and employee.
In many of the most competitive industries, professional designations are not only useful, they are also essential. Even still, a great many people interested in beginning careers in these industries (in manufacturing, in construction, energy and utilities, transportation and warehousing, logistics) apply for positions with impressive educations, but lacking the requisite professional designation.
If you are contemplating an investment in your education, and perhaps even a return to school after a long hiatus, consider a professional designation. Many industries, for instance, put a premium on project management skills and designations, which can and often do trump related academic backgrounds.
Invest in Both Your Mental and Physical Health
It is cliche to say that money cannot buy happiness, but that is because of how universally agreed-upon this is. If you work hard and long hours, make sure you are giving your body everything it needs to stand up to all that you put it through--travel, late nights, early mornings, a less-than-healthy diet, hours a day sitting. Investing in yourself also means investing in the way you look after your body. Invest in good food, a good mattress, a gym membership, rec-league sports or dance/martial arts training.
Don’t neglect your mental health either. If your current employer provides benefits allotments for mental health and you feel you would benefit from using them, speaking to a counsellor, for instance, use them. A sound mind and body are a major part of satisfaction inside and outside of work, and help to boost your productivity and cognitive function.
Never Stop Reading
Another important self-investment is in knowledge. Knowledge, to invoke another cliche, is power. Not only is knowledge power, but it is an opportunity. This opportunity comes in the form of conversations you would otherwise not have been able to have or participate in, potential friendships and relationship and, depending on how you deploy it, prestige and respect from coworkers and managers.
If you are interested in a particular industry or are already employed in it, never stop reading. Stay abreast of current developments, changes and opportunities and try to know more about them than anyone else. If this involves attending conferences, purchasing subscriptions to industry magazines and journals, or even just regular book shopping online, make the investment. Self-education is vital to success.
Develop a Side Hustle
Side hustles are anything that you do or have in addition to your primary job and source of income. It could be something you do online, offline, or a combination of both. Usually, your side hustle is something you either have an innate interest in and/or are good at. Side hustles can provide not only nice supplemental income, but they sometimes turn into career opportunities, and even full-time self-employment opportunities for people.
A side hustle also shows potential employers, as the word indicates, that you “hustle.” That you are creative and hardworking and are always on the lookout for new opportunities to be productive and make money. Investing in a side hustle might imply purchasing various tools and hardware, or software subscriptions and courses. These are the kinds of worthwhile investments to make in yourself.
Build Your Communication Skills
One of the most important soft skills employers look for in the digital era is good communication. Communication skills are key in the 21st century because of how much communication now takes place from behind a screen. When the non-verbal cues that make up much of face-to-face communication are no longer present, there is an even greater need for accurate, concise communication.
Invest in yourself by constantly improving upon your ability to communicate, whether in-person, or via email, text, instant messaging or with any of the wide range of digital collaboration tools that define the modern workplace. One great way to ensure you always have the necessary language at your disposal to say what you need and want to is to spend time each day using applications and programs that help you build and strengthen your vocabulary.
Always Take the Opportunity to Network
Networking is sometimes viewed as a dirty word by people because it implies a transactional relationship. A better way to think of “networking," however, is as a relationship of mutual benefit. Never exclude the possibility of friendship in addition to a networking relationship, but it is completely reasonable to be looking for opportunities to offer and receive something from other people of goodwill who are in search of the same.
Relationships you develop through networking and cultivate over time can translate into future business and professional opportunities. Nurturing these relationships may involve taking a person out to dinner or lunch to pick their brain, or attending conferences, seminars, trade shows and other industry events. Either way, building your professional network should be considered a worthwhile cost of doing business.
The essential thing to keep in mind when investing in yourself is that this is not a burden.
Investing in your skills, knowledge, professional designations, network and potential side ventures are designed to add value in ways that can be immediate, long-term or both. Keep the above suggestions in mind and always consider yourself your most important investment.
About the Author
Alex is an internationally-based freelance writer and currently the content writer at crushthepmexam.com. Alex likes writing and talking about education, career-building, wildlife conservation, sustainable tourism, music and culture. When he's not working, he's hiking or swimming.