“The best gift you can give to yourself is to invest in yourself.” – Pooja Agnihotri
Forget New Year – for me, autumn is all about new beginnings. Although it is many years since I left school, September still represents a fresh start and a chance to hit the ground running with renewed determination.
Back in my school days, it was all about meeting the new teacher, wearing shiny new shoes and carrying a sparkly pencil case bursting with freshly sharpened pencils. Now autumn brings a resolve to set goals with a focus on personal growth and learning new skills.
It’s no secret that when it comes to investments, one of the best you can make is in yourself. But all too often, investing in ourselves falls low on our list of priorities and becomes something that we put off until we have more money, more time or more motivation.
This is a shame because learning new skills and developing ourselves enriches our personal and professional lives and helps us grow into the best that we can be. Failing to recognise the real value of investing in ourselves can hold us back from reaching our goals, fulfilling our potential and turning our dreams into reality.
There are many reasons why you should invest in yourself. Here, we have outlined five of the most compelling reasons why investing in yourself should move to the top of your priority list this autumn:
1. It boosts your confidence
Investing in yourself will boost your confidence in your own abilities and have a positive impact on your self-esteem. As well as equipping you with new knowledge and skills, focusing on your personal development will help you get to know yourself better. You will become more aware of your unique set of strengths, values and passions and how you can use these to achieve your goals. Research shows that those who spend 5 hours or more on learning each week are more likely to feel that their lives have purpose and meaning, which in turn increases their overall happiness and wellbeing.
2. It opens new career opportunities
Taking the time to invest in yourself will bring immense benefits to your career, both in the short and long term. You are your greatest asset and, in crude terms, developing your skill-set will boost your market value, whether you are seeking a promotion from your current role or applying for a new job.
Most employers look for candidates who are self-starters and being able to demonstrate motivation and willingness to learn new skills will set you apart from the competition. While technical skills and academic qualifications are still important, the top skills that employers are looking for now include creative thinking, communication skills and emotional intelligence.
3. It helps you build connections
4. It helps you adapt to change
Technology and workplaces are changing faster than ever before. Expanding and updating your skill-set will ensure that you are ready to adapt to these changes. People with transferrable skills are viewed as more flexible, motivated and forward-thinking by both colleagues and superiors. Embracing lifelong learning will also help you achieve a growth mindset and build the resilience needed to navigate life’s inevitable challenges and adversities.
5. It keeps your mind healthy
Continuous learning promotes brain health and lowers your risk of mental health problems, Alzheimers and dementia. The mental stimulation provided by challenging yourself to learn new skills can help limit the adverse effects of ageing on the memory and mind.
A study by business school Michigan Ross found that learning something new, reduced work stress more than engaging in relaxing activities such as meditation or exercise. While relaxation is beneficial for tackling fatigue and calming the mind, developing new skills in the workplace acted as a buffer against stressful situations.