Invest in yourself

Imagine what it’s like to spend the majority of your adult life thinking that you’re mediocre at everything you do…in your job (building presentation slides, leading sales pitches, throwing together proposals), in your personal life (decorating your apartment, staying active, making “small talk” with strangers), in your most favorite hobbies (singing, holding yoga poses, hosting dinner parties). Somehow, you find that you always fall short, despite momentary triumphs along the way.

And then one day – Bam!- it hits you like a freight train. You realize you are actually really, really good at something. And not just one thing, but maybe even a few somethings. And the weird part is, these are things you may have never thought to try, had it not been for that little bit of encouragement you decided to listen to. Even weirder, these are things you have avoided out of fear of criticism and failure.

After spending enough time feeling helpless, anxious, and just plain mediocre in your daily grind, it’s an incredibly special thing to find these buried talents that have been within you all along.

“It’s a great thing when you realize you still have the ability to surprise yourself”

Non-fiction writing. Blogging. Makeup artistry. Authentic networking. Dreaming up adventurous business ideas. These are all strengths of mine that have taken me by complete surprise within the last year. At one point, I thought I sucked miserably at all of these things.

Before I really developed any of these strengths, I invested a chunk of my savings into two intensive self-explorative programs. One lasted four days, another ten. They both had very different formats and agendas, but shared in common the same fundamental goal: provide the life skills and support necessary to successfully build a life you love. An entire galaxy of possibility has opened up around me, as a result of these programs. I’ve walked through a magical door, because when someone else discovered this door and put a cover charge on it, I was more than willing to pay it.

I was finally ready to invest in myself.

Are you ready to invest in yourself? Maybe you have the funds, but you aren’t ready to let go of all the reasons you can’t put your daily life on hold to get in deeper touch with yourself. Maybe you don’t have the money, and you’re in extreme save mode. I can relate, trust me.

I know what it’s like to feel like you are at the mercy of your anxiety, your financial status, your job. I know what it’s like to bemoan parts of yourself that you have no idea how to control, emotions that feel like they are controlling you. I know what it’s like to wake up everyday filled with dread, afraid to leave that job you can’t stand because it’s what you know, it’s what you’ve been told you’re good at, you’re due for that promotion, and all the 999 other reasons you just. can’t. leave. it.

I know what it’s like to be almost-30 and not have a damn clue who you really, truly are. To not know how to be ‘enough’, for your boss, your partner, you family, your self. To feel so misunderstand and lost.

Trust this: I was that person, living that life. That was my truth.
Trust this: 16 months later, I’m not that person, and I’m not living that life.

What did I do?

  1. I invested in myself. I put my money where my mouth is, and invested in what I no longer felt comfortable putting off for later.
  2. I shared my authentic self with people. My artwork, my writing, my beliefs. Like a kindergartner at ‘show and tell.’
  3. I took big, scary action. I made a significant change (left my job and launched my blog), and then another (moved from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe), and then some more (traveled to Thailand, moved to Portland, went back to school, found a new career). Each one of those early changes made huge impact in my life’s trajectory.

Each one of these three steps have had a MASSIVE impact on how my world now looks.

I’m not the bravest person, nor the most outwardly confident. I blush easily and apologize far too often. But I am committed to living with great purpose and learning as much as I can about being the best version of myself, as long as I’m alive and kicking. Those are things anyone can commit to, and I’m convinced that commitment alone will move your life in an unpredictably powerful direction.

And if you really, truly don’t have the funds, you should consider asking for others to invest in you. If the thought of doing so makes you cringe, then you and I have that in common. Just yesterday, I had a once in a lifetime opportunity present itself to me: to be one of only 30 people to take part in an amazing retreat with one of my heroes on a beautiful island I’ve been dying to visit for years. The price tag is outside my means, however, and the thought of asking others for their help if I get picked to go terrifies me, despite what I know to be true about asking others to help you realize your dreams:

People enjoy helping others realize their dreams.

And here’s the funny thing about asking others to invest in you. It makes you fight harder. It makes you want to make something of yourself. You will be more likely to push the envelope if you know people are betting on you. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time or money. When you commit to living a life you love and bring others along for support, you set amazing things in motion: greater creative expression, more authentic connections, synchronicity, fiery passion, self-reliance, entrepreneurial drive, empowerment.

From that point on, gone are the days of accepting mediocrity. Good riddance to those sad images you have of yourself and your life you’ve surrendered yourself to, thus far.

So, let me ask you again, are you ready to invest in yourself?

With courage, love, and intensity,

Kristen

Photo credit: Newton Free Library / Foter /Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

9 thoughts on “Invest in yourself

  1. Pingback: The b-sides of my mind | Courage Love Intensity

  2. YES! A gazillion times, yes!

    Up till my career switch, I was questioning everything, but slowly I realized that I simply couldn’t justify how I was living my life. I couldn’t find the reasons to keep on going with what I was doing. These so-called reasons were sad excuses to keep on living a life others would wanted to see. Every since I’m doing what I’m doing, I do not accept “mediocre” anymore. I know what it’s like to feel hollow inside and no way I’m going back to that. It can be difficult as most of my surrounding do live that “socially approved” life and I’m often different with my perspective or thoughts. But, it keeps life interesting! 🙂

    “People enjoy helping others realize their dreams.” – So, so true. It’s amazing.

  3. I’m there. Totally. I think it’s sad when I realize we are not the norm. I’ve tried to help friends cross the line, friends who asked my help, and found myself being pulled back to their hole rather than have them let me pull them out.

    People are frightened of success. Frightened to run after their dreams and choose to stay in the “what-if’s” within the confines of their cubicles. It’s sad…

    • Oof, I know that feeling Marie. There are friends who have asked for my guidance, but still haven’t moved a muscle. Then there are those friends who are breaking free from their former lives, and it’s sooo awesome. I think it just takes some people more time than others to get out of ‘what if’ land.

  4. I’m only half of the way there. I’ve made some lifestyle changes, but I’m still not “betting on myself” as it were. Too scared to jump.

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