I recall a recent conversation with some friends who were complaining quite bitterly about the lack of training at their companies. While we were talking I asked a simple question: why not train yourself? Their response – since their organisations would benefit from the results of the training then naturally, it’s the organisation’s responsibility to train their staff.
I agree to a limited extent, but then I wonder if an organisation can possibly be more responsible for you than you are for yourself. In any organisation anywhere in the world there will always be many more development needs than existing resources can meet. So shouldn’t people take charge of making sure these needs are met outside of what the organisation can do?
More worrying is the fact that a lot of people are happy to completely surrender their developmental goals to their employers rather than drive their personal development themselves.
I read an article recently where the author stated that if Bill Gates lost all his money today, he’d be wealthy again in no time because he had invested in his human capital. While this may be true for Bill Gates, the question to you is, are YOU investing in yourself? Do you realise that YOU are your greatest asset? Once you do, your perspectives and actions will alter dramatically.
Here are 4 ways to invest in your most valuable asset:
Read a book on a topic that interests you: Why? Reading opens up your mind in ways nothing else does. It expands your imagination, perspective and vocabulary at the same time. In the last one month have you read a new non-work related book or article? Do you engage the Internet and look for specific information or just surf? Pick up a book (it could be online or hard copy depending on your preference) and challenge yourself to read at least one new book a quarter this year.
Enhance your skills: Actively seek out ways to improve your skills. There’s really no excuse not to as there’s so much free information available now through expert blogs, ebooks, articles, webinars etc. on literally any subject in the world. Beyond the freebies, invest in quality trainings, conferences, seminars as these also give you networking opportunities where you an share thoughts and experiences with others.
Get creative: People often link creativity with artistry or musical skills, but that’s only one aspect. Creativity exercises your brain as you think of ways of doing things differently. It doesn’t have to be complicated, you can learn a new language, write an article on something that interests you, explore a skill you’ve always wanted to develop. Make a conscious effort to try something new consistently.
Take care of your body: You’ll only ever have one body so take care of it. Imagine your body is a million dollar machine, how would you treat it? Definitely you’d fill it with the highest grade fuel (food), make sure the body work is top notch (exercise, good skin care and dressing) and won’t overrun the engine (get adequate rest). You’d take it for regular service checks (medical check ups, rest and recuperation), and make sure nothing impairs the brain box (take care of your mental health). Sadly we often take our bodies for granted until something forces us to change our behaviour. Don’t wait until that happens, be proactive.