In the early part of my career, I worked in the financial services industry. We talked a lot about investments. One of the fundamental principles with regard to investing is that you always want to consider the “return.” That means, what do you expect get back? You weigh that against the cost of the investment to determine if it’s a smart move.
This concept applies to all kinds of investments, big or small, financial or otherwise.
When it comes to your career, there’s one investment that will always yield the best, most sustainable, most reliable returns. And that investment is YOU.
Any time or money you spend on expanding your professional capabilities has a potential payoff that is greater than any other investment you could make.
That sounds like an exaggeration, I know. But think of it this way: Your professional capabilities dictate your earning potential and your opportunities. When you expand the former, you also expand the latter, and there is virtually no limit to what you can achieve. Sure, there’s no guarantee, but every investment has risk. This one has very, very minimal risk in the grand scheme of things.
Plus, your professional capabilities are yours forever. No one can take them away from you. Your potential to continue earning is more valuable than money in the bank.
I have already written at great length about my love of learning and why learning is the best thing you can do to accelerate your career. But I often get pushback. After all, most professionals are busy and it’s hard to devote time and money to something that is often viewed as “non-urgent.”
However, if you think of it as an investment, you begin to operate with more urgency. After all, as with most investments, it’s a long-term game. The earlier you start developing your skills, the longer you will have to reap the benefits in your career. Over time, those skills become more and more valuable, as you begin to accumulate greater and greater accomplishments. In this way, the return you are able to receive compounds. Your one-time investments have the power to continue delivering returns throughout the entire course of your career, which is often decades.
If you aspire to get ahead in your career, but are struggling to justify an investment in yourself, let me just say this: You are worth it. Your career is yours to own and its your responsibility. No one else will ever care about it more than you. Put your resources back into something that really matters. Nothing else (and no one else) deserves them more.