Often times, there are necessary steps that must be taken, things and people that must be in place, processes that we have to go through, and a mindset that we must have prior to reaching our goals. I contend that between the time of setting a goal and reaching the goal, we should “invest in ourselves” and then “invest in others.” The verb “invest” is defined as to commit to something in order to earn a return; to make use of something for future benefits or advantages, and to involve or engage especially emotionally in something or someone with no expectation of a return.
Many times, our goals and dream are far-reaching, require time to accomplish and are not easy to attain without determination. Even if you don’t have a goal or dream that you can articulate at this time, I promise that if you begin to invest in yourself and others, your life will be fulfilling. Spiritual wisdom says you reap what you sow. Therefore, if you begin to sow or obtain more knowledge, understanding, skills and growth in your life, you will reap or attract more opportunities. Worthy investments might involve going to college, getting an advanced college degree, taking an entrepreneur class, taking voice lessons, reading self-help books, or saving money.
For example, if you want to start your own business, it will take more than a good idea. Most likely, you must take a class offered by the Small Business Administration on how to write a business plan, how to market, how to obtain a business license, and the list goes on and on. Taking these classes constitutes investing in your own business knowledge but may make the difference between your business becoming a success or just an idea. You may even have to approach investors and sell them on your idea. However, before they invest their resources, they may want to know if you have done your homework, are prepared for the ups and downs of being in business, and whether you are able to articulate your ideas to other investors and most of all future customers.
After you have invested in yourself and reached your goals, you must continue to invest in yourself through life-long learning opportunities. It might be reading literature in your field, attending a continuing education workshop, or just continuing to network with like-minded people. In other words, you will continue to invest in yourself but also transition into investing in others.
Investing in others is using your gratefulness to those who helped you reach your goals by helping others reach their goals and dreams. Investing in others might involve participating in community service, starting a non-profit organization, being a mentor, or teaching others who have similar goals. You can find many examples of successful entertainers, entrepreneurs, and professionals who, after reaching their goals, became more satisfied when they began giving back to others through philanthropic acts of kindness. Philanthropic acts develop from “a desire to improve the material, social, and spiritual welfare of humanity, especially through charitable activities.”
In summary, philanthropic acts must begin with you by investing in yourself and improving your own material, social and spiritual wellbeing. You do the work it takes to become successful.
© 2012, Dr. Shambra Mulder. All rights reserved.