Most people think that investing in the stock market is the best thing that they can do for their financial future. However, investing in yourself is significantly more important for a variety of reasons. Today we look at 11 ways in which you can do just that.
(1) Get a mentor – Find someone who you respect, has a track record of success, and is willing to help you grow. You are essentially searching for a personal coach who can help guide you through the many minefields you will encounter throughout your career. Find someone who has been there and done that so that they can save you time, effort and money. This doesn’t necessarily have to be someone who is closely tied to the position that you occupy and the industry that you work in. Working with an “outsider” can be extremely beneficial as they have no bias and are naturally more inquisitive to understand your business more. Another benefit of finding someone outside of your company is they don’t have a personal stake in your success, meaning they give you unbiased feedback, share their experiences, and offer the support system that you need to take your career to the next level.
Tip: Your mentor doesn’t have to be older than you! They also don’t have to be in the same line of work. They just need to be successful and be willing to share their secret sauce with you!
(2) Join a group or organization – This can have multiple benefits as there are many different opportunities that typically arise from surrounding yourself with similar minded people who have common goals in place. You could join a professional organization such as the NSCAA, your local IFMA chapter, or the nearby Chamber of Commerce. All of these will provide you with opportunities to share problems with professionals in similar positions as well as giving you multiple opportunities to network and participate in industry specific workshops and trainings. Associated benefits include newsletters, discounts, the chance to be recognized for your work, and access to thousands of people in the same boat as you.
Tip 1: If there isn’t a group that fits your needs, create one!
Tip 2: Attend your first event as a guest to see if it is something that you see value in before committing financially.
(3) Volunteer – Besides the good you will be doing for others, another major benefit of donating your time and efforts is the associated feel-good factor which can significantly improve your health and reduce the risk of depression and anxiety.
Tip: Volunteer for something that means something to you, and as above, if it doesn’t currently exist, create it!
(4) Work sponsored professional development opportunities
Speak to your HR department to see how they are prepared to support their employees in their pursuit of professional development. If you can demonstrate how the training will benefit the company, the impact it will have on your work performance, and the total cost of your venture, you should be able to secure financial support.
Tip: Try to find online classes as well as training sessions that are held outside of work hours to minimize disruption to your work schedule and responsibilities.
(5) Listen to a podcast
If you can’t find anything that fits your needs, create your own podcast! This could even be a collective effort where you collaborate with a couple of other individuals to discuss current issues in your industry.
Tip: Save time and look after your health by listening to a podcast while walking, running or biking.
(6) Participate in webinars
There are many free webinars that are available online these days, and many of these are available at multiple times throughout the day. The typical structure is that they have the webinar live during work-hours, but upon it’s conclusion a recording is sent to all registrants so that they can watch it in their own time.
(7) Watch a YouTube video
I think that there is a “how to” YouTube video out there for any need that you can think of. My husband and I repaired our washing machine a couple of months ago by following step by step instructions by an appliance repair store who had posted the video on their Facebook page.
Tip: Search for industry leading companies and individuals and see what they are creating or watching.
You can read fiction books to feed your imagination, or you can read non-fiction and professional development books that will provide you with ideas that you can integrate into your daily activities. You could also look into starting a book-club with colleagues or friends where you get together monthly to discuss how you can take the ideas presented in the book and add them into your workplace.
(9) Take a class or seminar
These are available all over the place! A good starting point is to visit an industry specific membership group such as IFMA is you are a facilities manager. You can then view and register for training events that meet the criteria that you have in place. You can Google nearby events, and you can also communicate with fellow professionals for recommendations.
(10) Have a monthly expert present at your place of work
This is something that has had tremendous success for many reasons. The best aspect is that it can be held at your place of work so that everyone can attend. It’s also great as the content can be tweaked to hit the key ideas that you are looking for support with. Any questions that are asked are relevant to your business, and you will be able to have great follow up conversations with your teammates who were in attendance. Find someone who is an expert in the area that you are focusing on, reach out to them, and see what it would take for them to present to your team.
Tip: Many professionals will be honored to be considered for this opportunity, and they are typically very motivated by the new clients that can emerge from the interaction.
(11) Attend industry specific trade-shows
This is a great way to keep up to date with industry trends, rub shoulders with potential clients, meet strategic partners, and to get a better understanding of what your prospective customers are looking for.
Tip: Many trade-shows provide free access to the exhibit hall where you will have the opportunity to connect with vendors, see demonstrations, sign up for newsletters, and enter drawings for some cool gear!