Oprah Winfrey once said, “We can’t become what we need to be by remaining what we are.” Yet so many of us stop short of taking the actions that will support us in our personal and professional growth. Women, especially, shy away from making commitments in development they believe will require a perceived trade-off.
Whether it is a deeply ingrained gender or cultural belief, sense of obligation to family, lack of confidence, or something else, many women leaders do not freely invest in themselves without extensive thought and consideration.
Kathy Caprino, a women’s career coach and consultant, sees this behavior all the time. When it comes to women pulling the trigger on joining a program or community that will enhance their life in some way, she has witnessed hundreds deny themselves the investment due to concerns such as needing to check with a spouse, uncertainty about the timing and return on investment (ROI), fear of more success, and fear about spending money that should be applied toward family or other things.
Why is it so important to invest in personal and professional growth? How can we overcome the persistent mental and emotional barriers that keep us from maximizing our purpose, potential, and passions?
As women, we take on a lot. Many of us have multiple roles, including wives, mothers, employees, leaders, caretakers, and more. We strive to be good at all things and we feel bad when we’re not. The truth is, by not prioritizing our well-being, we are limiting our impact and usefulness to others. We are actively sinking in a state of burnout, overwhelm, and exhaustion.
To meet the needs of our mental, physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs, personal growth must be developed with a holistic approach.
The benefits of doing so are many and include:
- Increased motivation
- Advanced skill set
- Continued growth and expansion
- Greater self-awareness
- Higher levels of confidence
- Healthier relationships
- More professional success
According to a study by LinkedIn, investing in personal development also leads to increased job satisfaction, improved productivity, and higher earning potential. By choosing to invest in yourself now, you are planting seeds that will reap massive rewards for your future.
Once you’ve made the decision to invest in yourself, either personally or professionally, it’s important to write out a plan for how you will achieve your goals.
Here are three tips to get you started:
Spend time reflecting on where you currently are in life. What areas would you like to improve? Where do you feel you could use more connection and support? Consider all aspects of your life: mind, body, soul, and work-life balance to determine your greatest needs. Burnout and complacency can sneak up on us, so be brutally honest with yourself.
By putting yourself in the company of other like-minded and like-hearted people, including friends, colleagues, mentors, and coaches, you open the door for more clarity, inspiration, and guidance that will help you achieve long-term success. You may also discover a sense of renewed energy and focus that allows you to reset, reconnect, and relaunch with a fresh determination. Look for opportunities to expand your community with programs like Leadership & Legacy Retreats from The She-Suite, which facilitate multiple levels of personal and professional growth while nurturing an environment of camaraderie and support from women executives like yourself.
Growth comes at a price, and while that can be daunting, we need to stop looking at personal growth as a luxury. Whether it is time, money, energy, or worry about the possibility of different outcomes, fear will undoubtedly rise and cause you to question yourself. Rather than resisting, make space for these emotions and face them with courage. It may help to think about the opportunity cost of not investing in yourself. For example, consider what will happen if you don’t make your growth a priority. What opportunities for development, inspiration, and expansion are you continuing to limit by saying no?
As a wife, mother, executive, leader, and so much more, your success and well-being should be at the top of your priority list. When you choose to let go of the guilt and invest in your personal growth, you prosper while setting an example for other exceptional women around you. Whatever the cost, you will certainly walk away with a greater value than you could’ve ever imagined.