If you spend any amount of time online, it’s likely you’ve come across pop-up ads encouraging you to invest in this, that, or another company, with your returns guaranteed. Of course, there’s nothing that is ever guaranteed in this life, so these investments may or may not work out. There’s another form of investment that we don’t often think about – investing in your own personal growth. Investing in your own growth will more likely than not yield positive results for you and others around you.
Why invest in yourself for personal growth?
It may seem selfish to think about investing in yourself. Shouldn’t we spend our time trying to better others and improve things for them? True, a life spent in service of others is a life well spent, and greatness is to be found in being for others. However, investing in yourself doesn’t mean taking away from investing in others or being oriented toward others. There are at least two reasons why investing in your personal growth is a good idea.
No one invests in something without value, and spending time and energy to invest in yourself reaffirms your value to yourself and how much more valuable you can be to someone else. One of the key commandments that sums up Christian teaching is to love your neighbor as you love yourself – that implies that you have some sense of love toward yourself and investing in your personal growth is one example of expressing love toward yourself.
Investing in yourself allows you to be better placed to serve others.
Far from taking you away from being of service to others, investing in your personal growth and well-being sets you up to be of even greater service toward others around you.
For instance, a well-rested mom or dad who takes the time to attend a parenting seminar is better placed to be patient with the kids and know how to be more present for them. Another example is being able to impart your knowledge and experience to others who may not have the same skills.
An emotionally secure boss who invests time and energy into cultivating that emotional stability is less likely to extract confidence by treading on the people that work for them. When you invest in bettering yourself, the benefits flow toward the people around you. What are some of the ways that you can begin investing in yourself today?
You are multi-dimensional
To begin investing in your personal growth requires an awareness of all that you are as a person. You are a physical, emotional, thinking, spiritual, and relational being, and you can invest in your growth in all these areas. Some people invest in their bodies but ignore the fact they also need to invest in emotional and spiritual health too.
Writing to his young protégé, Paul said, “…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:7-8). This suggests to us both that we are multi-dimensional beings that can train several aspects of ourselves, but also that we also need to have our priorities straight.
While there are many things we can invest in, keep the main thing the main thing. Just as with investing in a company, you want to invest in what will give you the most yield for the longest period. So, as you survey your life and the different areas of personal growth that you can invest in, consider carefully what will yield the most for yourself and the relationships that matter to you.
You can decide to invest in your health by getting more active and careful with what you eat or prepare for an event like a marathon by practicing with a coach. You can decide to strengthen your prayer life or spiritual growth, deepening your relationship with God.
Another option is investing in your professional development by going for a training course or enrichment seminar; a couple can decide to attend a couple’s retreat to strengthen their relationship; an individual can choose to go for therapy to unpack their emotional and mental health concerns in a safe space with a licensed therapist. In these and many other ways, you can invest in different areas of your life for your personal growth.
Set your personal growth goals
To meaningfully invest in your growth, it’s helpful to know where you want to go, how you plan to do it, and by when you intend to do it. This gives you much-needed direction and focus. We might be multi-dimensional beings who have a lot of growth potential, but it’s hard to retain laser focus on several goals at any one time. You can decide to work on one or two areas at a time, giving them your undivided attention.
Start small. Think about one or two things that you would like to improve in your life. Try not to get overwhelmed by wanting to tackle it all at once because that often doesn’t work and won’t have lasting results. Your life also doesn’t have to be in disarray, you can focus on small issues that you simply want to be better at.
By setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely), you give yourself a good shot at accomplishing your goals, then move on to other areas that may need your attention. Often, when you set your mind to investing in your personal growth, there will be more than one area that requires your attention. Take time to figure out what is more urgent, and what will bring the most value to you and the people in your sphere.
So, in a situation where your relationships are in disarray, perhaps the most helpful thing and the priority would be going for therapy and investing in building your ability to relate well with others rather than pressing on for more qualifications to set yourself up for a promotion at work. Either way, everyone will have to make a call and decide what will enrich their lives more and invest themselves in that as a priority.
Investment means resources
Investing in anything implies resources. If you want to invest in a company, you need the money to invest as well as put in the work and time to figure out what’s a worthwhile investment and what might be vapor. It’s no different when it comes to investing in your personal growth – it will require resources if you’re going to get anything out.
Investing in your growth will require resources such as time, money, and effort that could be spent elsewhere. If you want to grow spiritually through reading the Bible more consistently or spending time volunteering in service of others, that will take time away from other pursuits and possibilities.
Starting a morning routine that includes some form of exercise will mean getting out of bed and forgoing those extra minutes of sleep, and it may mean buying workout clothes or equipment. Any investment that you make in your personal growth will require something of you, but it will give you something in return; that is the nature of a sound investment.
As you go about deciding what areas of growth you want to invest in, it’s helpful to count the cost so that you make an informed decision you stand by even when things get rough. Whenever you try your hand at something that will improve you and grow you as a person, you will inevitably hit that point when you get stretched beyond yourself.
This is good; it means that you’re growing beyond what you already were, and a new, stronger, more capable person will emerge from the process. You’ve got to push yourself (within healthy limits) and do what you’ve never done before to achieve what you’ve never had.
In every workout, prayer time, couple’s session, therapy session, business course, and so on, you may reach a point where you’ll say, “I just can’t do this. It’s too much for me.” It’s for this moment that you count the cost before you get started, and it’s at that point once you’re going that you must remind yourself why you embarked on this journey, to begin with. The fruit of growth is delicious, but it takes work to get there.
Investing in your personal growth is a great way to love yourself and others around you. Whatever benefits you reap from investing in your personal growth will enrich your life as a human being, but they will also flow to the people around you. Taking the time to pursue personal growth and investing in it actively is an act of deep love for yourself and others. Plan well and stick to your plan for personal growth.
“Light Bulb!”, Courtesy of Qimono, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Plan”, Courtesy of Wokandapix, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Emoticons”, courtesy of AbsolutVision, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Freedom!”, Courtesy of JillWellington, Pixabay.com, CC0 License