Getting Past the Guilt of Investing in Yourself
I grew up in a family where you definitely didn’t treat yourself, you fixed and mended things until they died. And when they did, you bought the next car / dress / washing machine second hand. I don’t think this was because we couldn’t afford to buy new (but then I have no clue, we certainly didn’t talk about money), it was just how my parents did things. My mum would never book herself a spa day or go all out and treat herself to a new pair of shoes (unless they were comfy, practical and going to last, of course).
As Danetha Doe explained in episode 43 of my podcast, the environment we grow up in heavily influences our own attitudes to money. We subconsciously adopt the way our parents deal with money and that means we’re also adopting the way our parent’s parents handled money. If I think back to my grandparent’s and their money stories, they would have lived through the second world war (my grandma in a prisoner of war camp), had their food and clothing rationed until the 1950’s, even my mum can remember ration books. So, it’s perhaps no surprise that the make do and mend culture trickled down into my parents and then on to me.
I guess that’s why I’ve struggled so much with getting used to investing in myself. And I know I’m not alone with this.
Investing in ourselves can come in a variety of ways, it might be a Spa day, a massage, a holiday. How many of us haven’t been on a proper holiday for a matter of years!? It might be self-development and learning in the form of joining an online course, or workshop or hiring a mentor. It could even be eating well and spending that bit extra on healthy food to fill your fridge with. Of course, investment doesn’t always have to be financial investment, it can also be time which is equally, if not even more precious. Perhaps it’s an early night or time out of your busy day to get out for that walk that you know will clear your head and calm your anxieties.
Investing in ourselves triggers all sorts of emotions. We feel guilt for being ‘selfish’, we worry about the financial investment ‘shouldn’t I be spending this on x instead’. We’re so used to putting others first that we forget what it feels like to invest in ourselves. We convince ourselves we’re not worth it or that we don’t have the time. And often we create excuses (like the not having time one) that cover up our fears around taking ourselves and our businesses seriously. Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s scary going into the unknown and truly believing that if you got serious about your business or side-hustle, it could change your life.
But let me invite you to think about this. When you invest in yourself, you’re also investing in others.
No, really. If you’re investing in that massage or eating well the chances are you’ll be a more relaxed, well rested person to be around, who has the energy to give back to others. We feel like we should always be focused on doing things for others, but as the old saying goes you can't pour from an empty teapot.
And, when it comes to business, your investment in yourself gets passed on to your clients and customers who benefit from your higher level of knowledge, or just the fact that they can find you and work with you because you finally got serious about relaunching your website or making your business idea a reality.
As Marie Forleo often says, everything is figureoutable, and it’s true. If you want to build a business without a mentor, without buying business books or without joining any groups or workshops, it’s definitely possible. But it’ll be a slower journey with a lot more heartache than if you’re prepared to invest carefully in working with the right people who can help you along the way.
Over the years of growing my own business I’ve debated with myself for weeks over investing in myself and my business. Blogtacular was a prime example, and look how much I learned and took away from that one day. Over the years I’ve tackled that ‘make do and mend’ attitude I adopted from my parents and invested more and more into myself and my business. That came in shape of courses, 1:1 coaching, workshops and events but also by making time to take a walk each day and slow down my pace of life. And I’ve seen proof, from the results, that investing in myself is one of the most powerful things I can do to serve others and create the lifestyle I ached to live.
What I’ve learned is that investing in your dreams, lifestyle and happiness IS a worthy investment, but it's not just you that gets to benefit, its the people your work touches and it's the people you spend your time with.
So my final questions is this, how much do those dreams and the lifestyle you long for mean to you? And how would you feel if things just stayed the same?
If you want to make a change, start by investing your time to listen to that podcast or take that walk each day. Make considered investments in your business, start small with the business books that might help you and work up to those larger investments.
In order to thrive, we need to let go of the guilt that surrounds investing in ourselves so that we can serve our people and give ourselves the opportunity to life the lifestyle we long for.