Invest in Yourself

I love self-development.

Whether it’s reading books, taking online classes, or attending retreats, I’m definitely in. I believe that these classes and books have truly helped me, and I love learning and increasing my awareness.

Not everyone, however, feels the same way. My boyfriend supports me in my self-development adventures, but I think he would pay the full retreat fee to NOT have to sit through the retreat that I’m going on next week (and so, so excited for!). Some of my friends love the idea of self-development, but they can’t justify spending the money.

These are two very different reactions, and I want to take a look at both.

If self-awareness and looking at your emotions isn’t your thing, then ask yourself- what do you want to learn? Maybe you’re interested in finance, learning a new language, or becoming LEED accredited. Pick what you want to try, and go for it! Don’t pick something to meet someone else’s expectations- take a Chinese class because you want to learn Chinese, not just because you think you could get a raise if you added another language to your resume.

To those who don’t think that investing in themselves is worth it- I respectfully but strongly disagree.

The return on investment often comes back to you through the enjoyment of learning something new as well as an increase in salary.

For example, last year I spent $2,000 on online classes and 1:1 coaching. I strongly associate my decision to move to a new job that better aligns with my values with coaching. Personal coaching was also an important part of my transition to my new job. You can learn more about my transition here, but the important part is that I defined my values in order to find a job that fit me well.

I learned how to talk about what is important to me during interviews and how to get a flexible schedule that works for me. I may have switched jobs if I hadn’t taken these courses, but I don’t believe that I would have found one that aligns with me so well. And, I got a $4800 raise by switching jobs, and an additional $4000 raise six months after starting for good performance. This doesn’t even take into account the increased happiness levels from being at a job that I actually enjoy!

$2,000 spent -> $8,800 raise -> $6,800 net gain -> 340% ROI

In high school, I chose to take French as my foreign language over Spanish, German, or Latin. Latin would have helped with SAT words, and Spanish would have been more “useful,” but I had always been drawn to French. I later had the opportunity to study abroad in both high school and in college. Our high school exchange programs were only in French and German, so I couldn’t have taken advantage of them otherwise.

In college, I still could have gone on the program, but my experience was greatly enhanced by being able to speak the language. I also worked part time as a translator, making about $200 total. If I had taken a language I didn’t enjoy, I probably wouldn’t have wanted to continue with translations and learning. I can’t calculate the ROI on happiness and some of the best experiences of my life, but it was 100% worth the choice.

My next investment in myself is the biggest that I have paid for myself.

I was lucky enough to have scholarships and parents who paid for the remainder of college. I am getting my coaching certification through IPEC next year, which I am very excited for. The cost is high ($8,895 after a discount for paying early), but I believe the benefits will be worth it. It will greatly benefit me at my current job and in my personal relationships- the second of which is especially important to me, and one that I would put a very high dollar amount on. I am also interested in having coaching clients- if I charge $150/hour (which is on the lower side of most coaching fees), I can make back my initial investment in 60 hours of coaching.

If you’re still nervous about putting away money for learning/developing, start with something small. Pick one area (health, career, finance, a hobby) that you want to focus on. Find a book or a short virtual course, and really commit to it. I’ve found that I typically follow through more on findings from courses, but books are a great place to start.

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