Financial guru and founder of ipac securities limited [no, it’s not a grammatical error], Paul Clitheroe said that you must “Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.” Yet, the demands of life—family, school, and work—tend to deter us from our self-investment.
Since ancient Babylonian times, people have been making New Year’s resolutions to get back on track. Despite their good intentions, 88 percent of people resort to their old habits within a few weeks. If this sounds like you, stop making resolutions. Research proves that if you treat them as goals and write them down, you’ll have a higher success rate.
Below are 10 career investment goals that will not only increase your value, but provide personal and financial rewards that will see you past 2016.
Do what you love.
Some people have found their life’s work. Others are still searching. If you fall into the latter category, make 2016 the year that you reassess your talents and harness them toward a career path that makes you happy. Reevaluating your experiences provides deeper insight into your skills and competencies.
Enhance your knowledge.
Benjamin Franklin said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Raise your interest rate by completing that training course, embarking on a degree, or earning a certification, licensure, or credential.
Expand your network.
Growing your network is just as important as enhancing your knowledge. One of the best networks that I’ve witnessed to date is across Wake Forest University. It is an impressive and humbling example of networking. It’s true: “Wakies help Wakies.”
Networking not only opens the door to new business and employment opportunities, but some of those relationships morph into lifelong friendships.
Self-branding is front and center when it comes to advancing your career and developing oneself as a leader. It packages your strengths, talents, passions, and life purpose into one competitive statement [brand]. Start this year off by asking “What am I known for?”
Update your personal marketing tools.
There are many non-search-related reasons to keep your résumé updated. Waiting until you “have to” is a bad strategy. Time constraints always result in omission of important items, or the résumé quality suffers.
How about that LinkedIn profile? Make this the year that you either update it, or better yet, get one! In addition to basic tips, be sure to infuse your new brand into your profile and network, network, network!
Most people want a mentor, but few seek a sponsor. There is a difference. Mentors support and coach by providing advice. Sponsors, on the other hand, get you there. It takes time to build such a relationship, so start now with these tips.
Read a book.
Reading is a habit successful people share. It’s easy to get caught up in the humdrum daily routine comprised of work, home, and sleep. Picking up a good book provides an escape from the daily affairs that bog you down, and it also prevents your mind from becoming too rigid. No matter the genre, you need outside sources of information and thought.
No, not the run-for-your-life-kind of fear, but the scary fear that, if confronted, gives you an adrenaline rush of good endorphines that mirror a runner’s high.
When attempting to create the incandescent light bulb 1,000 times, Thomas Edison asserted that he didn’t fail. He just learned 1,000 ways not to create a light bulb.
We all experience a fear of failure or, perhaps, anxiety over admitting that we don’t know something. Why? It all comes down to worrying about public opinion. Forget it. It doesn’t matter what others think. Rather, what matters is the weight of your conscience over the next 20 years.
The most successful people find work-life balance, and this includes knowing when to say no [with a smile].
Make time for you, the family, and the dog [or cat].
Go for a run, visit a museum, or, perhaps, read a good book. Whatever your flavor, striking that work-life balance will not only keep you mentally sharp, but it will help circumvent burn out. It’s also one of the most difficult challenges—especially if your corporate culture doesn’t promote it.
World renowned investment advisor and philanthropist Warren Buffett practices exceptional work-life balance. He said, “I insist on a lot of time being spent, almost every day, to just sit and think. That is very uncommon in American business. I read and think. So I do more reading and thinking, and make less impulse decisions than most people in business. I do it because I like this kind of life.”
Shed negative people.
Not to be confused with honest realists, we all know a “Debbie Downer.” No matter what happens, these people only focus on negativity. They build a posse of insecure colleagues who would rather feel a sense of belonging than think for themselves.
Converting to the dark side did nothing for Darth Vader’s resume.
Detox. Now. Negative people plummet your executive presence and self-motivation. Did you just start a new job? Go [Hans] solo until you identify and surround yourself with a force of people that hold a healthy, positive outlook toward life.
We’ve all heard the adage that we cannot take care of others unless we take care of ourselves. Investing in yourself leads to life-long dividends that include better health, relationships, and yes, professional success.
During a 2008 Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting, Warren Buffett said:
“The most important investment you can make is in yourself. Very few people get anything like their potential horsepower translated into the actual horsepower of their output in life. Potential exceeds realization for many people…The best asset is your own self. You can become to an enormous degree the person you want to be.”
Best yet, he reminded everyone that nobody can tax it or take it away. Now, that’s a smart investment strategy.