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  • Jim Williamson

Words of Wisdom for My Younger Self: Invest in Yourself



I turned 50 recently, and many of you know that these milestone birthdays bring about some reflection. In my last article, I advised my younger self to take more risks. It’s easy to get complacent, and if you spend more time trying to protect what you have, you can miss out on so many different experiences and successes by playing it safe. For many of us, taking risks goes against how we’ve been wired, but when we’re able to have that confidence in ourselves and the people who are always there to support us, we can unleash our true potential in work and life.

Today, let’s explore another great lesson that I learned over time: the profound effect that investing in yourself can have for months and years to come.

Several years ago, after having some level of success in business, I recognized that I would need some help to get to the next level. I joined a networking group with other business leaders, a group that was facilitated by a friend that was a successful consultant and executive coach. A natural and appropriate progression after the networking group would have been to engage in a coaching relationship. Upon exploring the investment required for one-on-one coaching, I got a little sticker shock and decided to continue going at it on my own.

After the next two years of laboring through new challenges I decided to make the investment in coaching. The three years that followed were the most successful in my career, the most developmental for our team, and the most profitable for our company. In hindsight, I couldn’t afford not to have a coach to offer insight, affirmation and perspective and helping me ascend to an new level of leadership.

I’ve observed this principle at play in other areas as well. When I first began playing golf, it didn’t take me many rounds to realize that an investment in a good coach would make the game more enjoyable. It was also important to distinguish between expenses, which for me would have been spending a lot of money on memberships or equipment, versus an investment which involved learning fundamentals and laying a foundation that would pay ongoing dividends.

In my next post, we’ll conclude this series of reflection with more advice I wish I’d heard in my younger years. One of the best aspects of life is that it’s never too late to learn the lessons that equip us for the next phase, whether it’s taking on a new job, a promotion, starting a business, or even retiring. In the meantime, be well.