In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, I gave a live webinar to the Women in Bio organization about the ROI of a self-investment. the truth is, most of us tally our assets as those material things: cars, homes, bank accounts. We invest in cars, homes and bank accounts, so that we can get the best use out of them. Unfortunately, we rarely think of ourselves as assets, yet we are the reason for the accumulation of those other, more commonly thought of assets.
The interesting thing about investing in ourselves is that the principles of compounding apply. A small change made today and maintained will yield benefits for years to come, and the benefits are generally cumulative. Micro-habits, and micro-learning, lead to breakthrough changes over time.
The four steps to investing in yourself which I discussed during the webinar are:
1- Establish the mindset. You control your mindset. If you want to invest in yourself, you need to vividly visualize doing it and the payoff that the investment will have. You need to realize that the common excuses – lack of time, money, energy, or motivation – are really choices.
2- Decide. Clearly articulate what you want to invest in, and why. In a past article, which you can find here, I list three areas of self-investment: your health, your family, and your career. Pick one, and write down exactly what it is you want to improve. Saying, “I want to get a coach” is not clear enough. Saying “I want to improve my communication skills for difficult conversations so that I can better influence my organization’s direction and reduce my own stress level” is much more powerful, and will lead you to a multitude of “hows” beyond simply “getting a coach.”
3- Develop a Massive Action Plan. The MAP is a very powerful method of identifying more “hows” than usual ; so many, in fact, that when a wrench is thrown into your current plan, you can refer back to your MAP to identify other things that you could do to achieve your investment goal. Developing a MAP involves rapid brainstorming and very careful monitoring of your internal dialogue. Our brains are programmed to seek safety and known variables; make sure you are in the right frame of mind to generate many big and small ideas. By the way, this approach is taken from Tony Robbins, and I have used it regularly since I was first introduced to it by my own Tony Robbins-certified coach. You can find a free description of it here.
4- Make Time. Many people talk about making time by deciding not to do certain things, and that’s valid, until you get to a point where you have no more wasted time in a day. Making time leverages the mindset that no investment is too small. Fifteen minutes driving to the grocery store is enough for me to listen to 15 minutes of something which will help me get to my goal. I can’t take notes. I can’t stop and replay parts I find interesting. I might miss some points. But overall, I trust in the fact that the value I can derive from that 15 minutes of listening is better than not listening at all. If I get one gold nugget from that 15 minutes that I can apply, that’s my microlearning.
If you’d like to discuss this approach, or your own self-investment plan, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.