The one secure investment risk you will ever make is in yourself. It is the only place I have ever found where I can get all of my investment back and then also some profit in the form of actual money or at least wisdom from my efforts. The trouble is it has taken me a long time to understand what it means to actually invest in myself.
When I was younger, I believed investing in myself meant getting through college and securing a job that would support me. I would be one of those adult learners who didn’t go to college right away from high school because well I didn’t have good grades and I had no way to pay for college. It would take multiple employers who had a benefit paying or reimbursing for college courses and my own student loans to eventually make that degree possible. I swore it would be worth it since every job out there that pays anything decent seems to require a degree. I would also swear I’d never go back to school again once I got the degree. Both of those things have held true so far.
Investing in my education was positive. I was the first in my family to graduate from college yet none of them would ever know it happened. I appreciated the milestone though and still do. It however would not be the defining thing that would make me feel I had completely invested in myself. Rather my education was a necessity, a standard and a must do for survival.
To me investing in myself has always meant something bigger. It is the ability to not only make myself feel good now but be the form of what contributes to my future self. The real me and not just the label I am applied for the job I am supposedly qualified to perform because of spending so many thousands of dollars earning a degree. That was where my degree fell short in providing that full investment as it only served to help carve out the labels I would get from my jobs. Project manager, program manager, director, chief operating officer, director of strategy and more are just labels I have received because of a piece of paper. They are only a part of me and sometimes not even the best part I think.
It was not until I started Dragonspit Apothecary that I started to unravel what it really meant to invest in myself. It wasn’t just the fact I was now a business owner as my label of job but rather it was about me entirely. It was my symbol of what I was now and could become in the future. It was all of me that I was investing in each time I sat to write a blog, work with a client, teach a class or make a sale. It was the real me investing in me.
The more I dug into who I was the more I discovered what I was capable of doing. It started to be really empowering to see this new strength emerge. I mean I consider myself already pretty strong of a woman given the road I have had in life but this was next level. I now had this space where I could really test out all the ideas I had presented to my employers but never got to see materialize. I could create and shift gears without eight layers of approvals and an ask for budget funding. It was all pouring out of me like a new tapped well. Some of it would pay out and trigger growth and other things would be well learned lessons I could still grow on.
Simply put I don’t listen to any naysayer when it comes to direct marketing because of what it unleashed in me. Professionally I saw myself as someone I had never met before because I had been limited in what this woman could do in her career. Yet here I could use my voice, say my truth and represent what I knew in my heart and it didn’t need approval or subjective redlining from someone else. This was the investment in myself even if I never made a physical dollar from sales. I would however make a dollar and eventually some amounts that were pretty cute and fun indicating I was growing financially too.
Investing in myself has looked entirely different than I thought it would. It has looked like me doing hours of research for how to use hashtags, reading leadership books and simply being brave to introduce myself to a stranger. It has liberated me from this idea that investing in myself meant only what society tells us we should be doing and how we should be doing it. Instead it means standing up for myself and using my own voice where there are no glass ceilings.
It has also meant a freedom I crave more and more as each year passes and I’m still working in my college prepared for career. That taste of being myself so addictive it consumes me to the point nothing else is satisfying anymore when it comes to work. That is when you know you are investing in the right thing for yourself. When the mere thought of it is so strong you can’t help but let it take over what you once understood as the only path. Now, you know there is better out there and you want it.
Investing in myself has touched every area of my life. It influences my diet, physical health, emotional well-being and even my finances. There is nothing untouched by this wave of personal investment. Everything fits and feels right for the first time. Now to only let it expand until it is the size of my dreams.
If this sounds like you too, let’s chat. Visit me at dragonspitapothecary.com to see if what I do is a fit for you.