Are You Investing in Yourself?

Are You Investing in Yourself?The easy part about goals is setting them, right? All you have to do is say, “I want to do this” or “I want to be that.”

But what happens next? Do you break out of the starting gate at top speed toward your goals, only to get burnt out? Or does the myriad of activities bring confusion? Do your goals end up just sitting there, and you revisit them from time to time? Do you longingly think, “That would be so cool!” Or do you invest in yourself?

That has been the crossroads I have found myself at a few times with my own career. 2010 was the year I started on this latest chapter in life as a career professional, and I found some degree of success in those early days. Getting my name out there, working with clients — it was coming together.

At the same time, I kept thinking, “Am I doing enough?” I joined Career Directors International (CDI). Even before making the change to the career profession officially, I was constantly read articles about job hunting and career management in the 21st century. I networked with other career professionals. Was I investing enough in myself?

When I looked honestly at everything, the answer was no. Certainly, those activities I was doing helped bring me as far as I had gotten and I had achieved my goal somewhat. But some pieces were missing.

A couple years ago, I began to think more critically about what I needed to do to continue on this path. As a result of these ruminations, two things happened:

I became a Certified Advanced Résumé Writer (CARW). This was an important investment I made in myself. Since the activities to earn this certification include having my work judged by a panel of esteemed colleagues, it reaffirms the level of quality my clients can expect.

I attended a career conference. While networking with peers, belonging to a professional organization that provides regular educational offerings, and keeping up with readings in my field all have helped, going to the career conference was a great choice because the information and the conversations were intertwined and sustained over those three days. I left the conference feeling very excited.

Those two actions were key to helping me along the path I was going. However, I found myself stagnating again in 2013. Why was I spinning my wheels? What more did I need to do to invest in myself?

Then there was this revelation: trying to figure out all aspects of running a business was keeping me from doing the core work of furthering my career.

It took a major website malfunction for me to realize that enlisting the help of experts was a necessary investment in order to move forward. I contacted Kim Woodbridge, the web designer who had put my website together a few years prior, to get the job done. She recreated the formatting, but that incident impressed on me the importance of letting her handle the regular maintenance of my site since that is what she does all the time. My intermittent tinkering wasn’t cutting it.

As a business owner, choosing to delegate certain pieces was the right move. While, for example, I know a tiny bit of HTML and can interpret basic code if I sit with it long enough, it is an activity that doesn’t fit well with my strengths. Better to leave that to the experts while I focus on the things I excel at, such as helping clients with job searching and career management, providing information to people who need it, writing, and preparing folks for interviews.

Are you making a similar mistake with your career? In what ways can you invest in yourself by partnering with an expert who can help propel you forward?

Image courtesy of Barbara

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