It’s a brand new year, which makes it the perfect time to be thinking about ways to prioritize your own personal and professional development. Different than those stressful and often unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions, setting yourself up for success this year can simply mean putting yourself first in certain areas and intentionally investing in yourself. The better you are, the better you do. So why not prepare yourself for future opportunities that align with your talents and skills in a fulfilling way? It’s time to make thoughtful investments in your most valuable asset: you! Here are seven ways to invest in yourself so that you can be the best version of you yet:
1. Attend conferences that peak your passion Conferences are not only a great place to learn, but they are also a great place to network with leaders in your industry and become known. Very seldom do people bloom into their best selves by keeping themselves shut away. And while the cost of conference tickets plus airline and hotel can add up, if you are thoughtful and strategic about which conferences to attend and why, and plan ahead for the costs by stashing away each month (or getting your employer to sponsor your attendance) you can ensure you get the very most out of them.
2. Start or join a mastermind group Having been in multiple masterminds myself, I can say that the power of a mastermind group in invaluable. These groups bring people together who are passionate, excited and committed to help each other grow. They provide a ‘safe space’ where participants help each other become better versions of themselves by challenging each other to set and meet goals, sharing ideas and supporting each other with honesty and respect.
3. Discover you No matter how well you think you know yourself, going through a formal exercise of self-discovery is never a bad thing. Making the investment of time and a little money to rediscover your strengths, weaknesses and dominant personality traits is a healthy way to recalibrate in the new year and have a clear picture of where you are today versus where you might have been three years ago. The Gallup Strength Finder or Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI) assessments are a great place to start in gaining a little more insight into what makes you tick, which can help you more effectively focus your time and attention in areas that you are more likely to succeed and enjoy.
4. Consider getting a formal mentor or coach There is pretty much a coach for whatever area of your life you are most interested in improving: life coach, professional coach, money coach, health coach and so on. What they all have in common, however, is that they will work with you on an individual basis to help you reach your goals and overcome anything that you may be struggling with.
5. Establish a personal brand and online presence Establishing your personal brand online will only serve you professionally. In a world that is connected 24/7, it’s more important than ever that you create a positive perception of who you are when someone Google’s your name. Ask yourself what people should know about you and what you want others to think of you. Between all the social media platforms, share a consistent message of who you are and what you’re all about.
6. Put some hustle in your life Tap into your passions by turning them into a money-making business on the side. Maybe you have a full time job already, but it’s not leveraging all your talents and abilities. If it’s not possible to express certain passions you have from 9am to 5pm, use your other waking hours to. You don’t have to have ambitions of starting a Fortune 500 company in order to begin something that allows you to expend energy doing something you really love and, in turn, make some extra income in the process.
7. Learn what you don’t know Whether it’s learning more about subjects that will enhance your professional growth and contributions or practical life skills, take the time to learn what you don’t know and never stop learning. There are thousands of free online college courses from accredited universities to keep your competitive knowledge of your industry sharp. Coursera.org is one such way to expand your knowledge for free. The internet is full of resources, articles, blogs and videos on just about anything you’d want to know. Of course, one of the ongoing ways to invest in yourself is to get money smart and take control of your finances. All of these ways to invest in yourself this year have the potential to lead to more opportunities and higher income. Therefore, pay special attention to the finances that support your life and do what you can, now, to maximize the returns that may come your way. Related article: Start Now to Get Financially Ahead in 2016