Many ages ago, there was a general preparing to send his troops into battle. While discussing battle plans with his officers he was told, “This is a waste of time. The Gods have already decided our fate.”
The general was stunned to hear this from an officer.
He responded, “So, our fate has been determined in advance?”
“Yes.” said the officer.
“Ok,” said the general. “Here’s a coin. Heads we win, tails we lose. That’s how fate works, right?”
“Yes, I suppose.” replied the officer.
The general flipped the coin up into the air and landed with heads up.
“See, it’s fate. The God’s have decided. We can’t lose!”
The general and his officers rushed off to share the new with their men. The army had enormous confidence and enthusiasm. And after a magnificent victory the officers met in the general’s tent.
The general was asked, “Do you believe in fate now?”
He finally spoke and said, “I don’t believe in fate, just the value of self-belief. When you and the soldiers thought we couldn’t lose, I knew we couldn’t lose.”
The greatest piece of advice I ever received was this: invest in yourself.
If you believe and invest in yourself, you can’t lose.
I was about 22 years old when a professor told me this. He said I needed to invest in my own personal development. His advice was to get my master’s and advanced credits as soon as I had a teaching job. The professor also said to do this before you have kids, because once you do, you won’t have time for classes.
I took his advice to heart. I finished my master’s and plus 30 hours all before we had our first kid. I invested in myself. Had I not heeded the professor’s advice, our family wouldn’t have the home we do today, and be able to do the things we enjoy.
So many people leave their lives up to chance. I just don’t get it. People accept their circumstances and buy lottery tickets “hoping” to make it big. Let’s be real, either you’re investing in your own dreams or you’re investing in someone else’s dreams. (See previous blog post here)
Quit standing on the sidelines while your life goes by you. Take ownership, responsibility, and action. Don’t leave your life and legacy to chance. Don’t let anyone else decide your fate.
Here are five key ways to invest in yourself and your families future:
Engage in personal development.
Personal development comes in a variety of ways. This can include learning how to organize and manage your time. You could learn a new skill. I highly recommend learning how to use social media to engage with others. One great idea is to pick one strength and focus on how you can make that stronger. Personal development is a lifelong process. It doesn’t end once your formal education does. If it does, you will always be limited on what you can do.
Read. Every day.
The wonderful thing about technology is you don’t have to read a book to personally develop. I still love physical books, but there are so many tech resources and social sites where you can obtain your reading. The most powerful and successful people in the world all share one thing in common; they read every day. Reading will change your outlook and life for the better. I know it has mine.
I try to attend at least coaching and teaching conference a year. I don’t know it all and want to be better. I don’t want to get old and stale; I want to stay relevant. Conferences are great because they provide excitement. You are surrounded by energetic and enthusiastic peers. The energy is contagious and helps carry you through the year.
As I have gotten older (and wiser) I realize the value in networking. Many young people (I was guilty of this too) don’t think there’s much value in networking. But the opposite is true. The truth is: it matters who you know more than what you now. So get out and network. Use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Snapchat to build relationships. The tools are they, we just have to use them.
This is something I am really going to focus on this next year. I have a lot of big goals and realize I can’t do it alone. I will seek out mentors who can provide advice, wisdom, and experience in the areas I want to grow. On the flip side, I will actively seek to provide mentorship to anyone I can. The key to leaving a legacy is paying it forward. What we give to others, comes back to us.
What are some ways you invest in yourself? Do you have any thoughts or insight we can share to help others? Your voice matters!
As always thanks for reading, have a great week, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.