Well, I don’t know how brushing “bad handed” went for you, but my meager attempts resulted in 2 things. At first, I spent nearly double the amount of time brushing as I felt like I needed to “redo” it with my good hand. But secondly, and more importantly, I kind of feel like I got at a bit better by 30 days. Nonetheless, I have a dentist appointment scheduled for next week!
May’s theme of “Investing in Yourself” has a different approach from April, but has a similar feel. Although we often think of “investing” as placing our money somewhere for other people to use and hopefully grow, it’s easy to overlook (or underestimate) the power of allowing ourselves to “use” the money to increase our knowledge or skills. Development also isn’t limited to just “business use” as there are a variety of skills that can be incredibly useful to us in our philanthropic or personal endeavors as well!
Here are some possible examples of developing skills:
- Advance your education – certification or licenses, advanced degrees, or extra classes.
- Utilize available training – Workshops, webinars, seminars, and conferences.
- Expand your knowledge – Reading books, learning a new skill such as cooking or woodworking, or seeking articles or white papers.
- Reach out to someone that you could mentor or be a mentee of – Sometimes a great way of investing in yourself is actually investing time in others.While advanced degrees and conferences may have large out of pocket costs, learning a new skill and reading articles doesn’t have to be expensive. In either case, these new experiences help us to get more into an “always learning” mindset. Learning not only helps our mental health, as we saw last month with neuroplasticity, but also with our personal and professional development. It helps us not only learn that new skill, but also be incrementally more creative.
Have you ever noticed how amazingly creative children can be? If we step back, we see that everything to them is brand new. They are learning language, smell, feel, utility, and sounds of every item they encounter. So, it makes sense that our 19 month-old daughter, Adelyn, would use her play metal saucepan to cook our dog’s dry food. We have never shown her that, but she knows that pans cook food and the dog’s food is…FOOD! Children’s brains are at peak capacity for being creative, they just don’t have all of the information yet!
As adults, on the other hand, we have learned an incredible amount of information, but our brain has lost some creative capacity. The good news is that we can incrementally increase our creative capacity by putting ourselves in new situations. I’ve seen this firsthand with the business conferences that we attend. Being exposed to other perspectives really broadens our horizons and can often lead to heightened creativity. One thing Jeff has often said is to “be careful of becoming an island”. Because, until we leave our “island”, we don’t know what we don’t know.
Here are some ideas for this month’s challenge of learning something new:
- Have you ever wanted to learn a new language? There’s a service called Duolingo that offers a variety of different languages at no cost. They even claim that 34 hours of using the app is the same as taking a semester long class.
- Are there any certifications, designations, or degrees that are available to you that could further your career or expertise? After all, if a certification that costs $2,000 increases your pay by even $500 per year, that would be a 25% return on your investment…every year!
- Put together a “thought experiment” with friends or friendly children and get lost in your/their imagination for a while. (I think you’ll be amazed at how involved some kids can get with these ideas.) Here are some awesome ideas:
- Imagine what life would look like if every day at exactly 10:00pm, gravity instantly “turned off”. Then, at 6am sharp, gravity instantly worked in full force again. How would you sleep? What would you do with pets? What would the inside of your house look like? How would you travel? Would oceans even exist? What if you forgot? What about weather?
- Imagine that instead of us “shaking hands” to great each other, it was customary to kick each other. Where would you kick? How “hard” would be appropriate? What if you found an overly zealous “kicker”? How would you portray confidence and professionalism? Can you make up a special “shin-kick” for your best friends?
- Is there a podcast that applies to a topic that would benefit you? If in doubt, find a podcast talking about public speaking or persuasion to listen to during your commute. (After all, my hardest “sale” is at home to get Ady to eat her proteins!)
- Is there someone that you look up to who might be up for talking over coffee so you can ask them questions? Here are some starter ones to think about:
- Why do you do what you do?
- Who has influenced you the most?
- How do you approach the unknown?
- What’s 1 question you wish you asked earlier?
- Would it be alright if I follow up to do this again down the road?
Well, I hope this got your gears turning a bit and provides another stepping stone in your development. Next month, we will transition back to finances as we talk about “financial education”.
As always, let us know if we can be of any assistance!
Until gravity fails,
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Trent Huston is a Financial Consultant with securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/ SIPC. Investment advice offered through AK Financial Group, a registered investment advisor. AK Financial Group and OC Wealth Coach are separate entities from LPL Financial.