Today I dropped a LOT of cash on personal development courses, coaching and fitness boot camps. Next month I’m budgeted to spend even more on a course that will help me obtain the certification I need to take my career to the next level. A couple of months ago, I read a really intriguing article that made a great point: when looking at your overall savings and investment portfolio strategy, you should consider yourself as an important piece of that portfolio.
The more I thought about it, the more it made sense—when we invest in something: real estate, stocks, mutual funds, etc., we expect a return of some sort, so why not perceive ourselves the same way? Our ability to generate earnings through our skills most likely means that for a huge chunk of our lives, how much (time, energy, resources…) we invest in ourselves will determine how much of a “return” (income) we receive. Here are a variety of inexpensive ways to invest in yourself, to not only amplify your career potential, but your overall well-being as well:
Books. I love spending Saturday or Sunday afternoons perusing the Business, Biographies, Health/Wellness and How-To sections of my local bookshops. Not surprisingly, I’m a book addict, and probably tear through a book a week. Audio books are great for those who drive a lot.
Blogs. Like books, blogs (found via Google) are one of the first places I go when I want to learn something new.
Podcasts. My favourite podcasts right now are Lewis Howe’s School of Greatness and Behind the Brilliance by Lisa Nicole Bell. Lately, podcasts have experienced a comeback, and now there’s one for literally every subject matter and interest.
Meetups and Talks. When I first moved to Toronto from the burbs, Meetup.com was my go to website to find like-minded groups of people who I can connect with.
Free or Inexpensive Online Classes. Did I tell you my friend is taking computer science class at Harvard while living and working in Toronto? It’s possible thanks to the explosion of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). From ivy league universities, to online only continuing education portals such as Khan Academy, Lynda and Udemy, anyone with an internet connection can access world-class education.
YouTube. Whether you want to learn how to build a bird house or grow your digital business ten-fold, I’m sure there’s a channel for that.
Sometimes the choice of whether to spend your money on a class or use it towards savings or to pay down debt can be hard, but remember the old saying: sometimes you have to step over a quarter to pick up a hundred dollar bill. By investing in yourself (and no, a statement purse is not an investment), you are investing in your future and your ability to maximize your talents to create your ideal life.