We just came through an unusually busy weekend. On Saturday, my daughter Jennie and I had an all-too-rare theater outing in Los Angeles. Adding to the busyness was the exciting theatrical debut of granddaughter Zoe as an orphan in Oliver. She had performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
In the midst of all this theater, Jennie managed to take time out to attend an all-day seminar on Sunday. Ever since she started her birthing doula practice, she regularly attends workshops to add to her repertoire and connect with others in the area birthing community.
Fortunately, we all survived the busy weekend, but I am even more pleased that my daughter continues to invest in herself and her business. With her active household, it would be easy to neglect herself.
Every successfully self-employed person I've ever known considers on-going learning to be a top priority. While their less successful peers are finding reasons to stay home, the eager learners are exploring, experimenting and moving ahead. Most of us have to move through all sorts of resistance before deciding that we are, indeed, a good investment.
Every day we are inundated with advertising that urges us to buy things that may or may not improve the quality of our lives. Seldom are we encouraged to invest in experiences that will enlarge our inner selves.
One day I got a call from a stockbroker who said, "How would you like to get a higher yield on your investments?" When I told him that my primary investments were my businesses, he said, "Oh, isn't that scary?" "Not at all," I said. "Giving my money to a stranger over the phone is scary."
My dictionary defines "invest" this way: to spend money or time or effort on something that will bring a profit. To invest implies that you must first put something in in order to get something greater out. When most people think about investing, it generally involves putting money into something rather cold or impersonal, then waiting in the hope that the investment will grow. This common practice has a huge element of risk involved, which may be why so many traditional investors stay removed and uninvolved.
On the other hand, there's a far lower risk to be had when we invest our money, time and effort in ourselves and our dreams. Although it can be a far better investment to do so, many people have a hard time understanding its importance.
Writer Sondra Ray confronts this attitude. She writes, "When it comes to buying things that are really good for you and that make you happy, guilt comes. When you say, 'I don't have enough money to go to that self-improvement seminar or buy that self-improvement book,' it is almost like saying, 'I am not a good investment.' The best way to make money is to invest in yourself and that is what self-improvement is all about."
When you invest in yourself and your dreams you are investing in the one thing that lasts a lifetime and cannot be taken away from you. The ups and downs of the economy have no effect on your investment in yourself. In fact, if you do it wholeheartedly, you'll acquire skills and tools for circumventing difficult economies.
Author Jim Rohn has some other suggestions about sound investing. "Each month," he suggests, "set aside a portion of your income and invest it in your search for knowledge. Spend the money to cultivate the sleeping giant inside you. The money-that's a small price. There can be a great deal of difference between cost and value.
"I used to ask, 'How much does it cost?' I've learned to ask, 'What is it worth?' When I started to base my life on value instead of price, all kinds of things began to happen. Missing skills, missing knowledge, missing insight, missing values, missing lifestyle are all a result of not reading books or spending time in seminars or with those who have something to teach you.
"The promise is unlimited potential. Fortunately, life has a unique way of rewarding high investment with high return. The investment of time you make now may be the catalyst for major accomplishment."