Investing In Yourself…

“You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself any direction you choose.

You’re on your own and you know what you know.

And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.”

-Dr. Suess

When you wake up in the morning what are you striving for? When you’re sitting alone at night in your thoughts, what do you dream of becoming? When you look at where you were 3 months ago, what have you accomplished? When you look in the mirror, what do you see?

So many of us dream of who we want to be, or who we wish we were, yet do nothing about it. We leave it in the distance, as if it’s so far out of reach that taking those necessary steps toward it seems worthless.

It’s like not wanting to get off the couch to get the remote because it’s too much work. If you sit there long enough, day in and day out, you make an indent in that spot. It becomes YOUR spot, shaped to your own making- eventually becoming one that’s hard to get out of once you’re in it.

Funny, how that’s also how life seems sometimes. You settle into the role you’ve chosen for yourself, the role that’s “comfortable” and where you fit into it as perfectly as you fit into that spot on the couch. It’s your place; your routine. The place that maybe once you’ve been in it for so long, have it broken in, it’s hard for you to get out of. It’s hard to want to try sitting anywhere else. But then one day you’re forced to and you realize from this new place you have a better vantage point and better perspective to see everything you couldn’t before. You realize the spot you were once in was nothing compared to this new place you’ve discovered. You just didn’t know what you were missing because you became comfortable. You didn’t want to go outside your box, your routine, your opinion of what you thought you liked or didn’t like. It was simply what you knew.

For me, it’s sad to think about myself ever getting “comfortable” in this role I’ve chosen for myself and who I am. I don’t think I’m ever fully comfortable because I’ve been blessed to travel the world and see things that many people don’t ever get the chance to. Every time I think my eyes are open, I turn the corner and find that my vision wasn’t as clear as I thought. My eyes are constantly being opened by experiencing new cultures, languages, foods, and activities; by meeting people who are different from me, and through every bit of new knowledge I gain. Each detail of my life has opened a new door within me and there are so many doors there, in my mind and in yours, that haven’t even been touched. Maybe you just never saw the door before or maybe you did and just didn’t care enough to jiggle the knob and peek inside.

I’ve found that through my experiences, I’ve gained much more compassion and acceptance towards others because I’ve been in so many different situations and met so many people different from myself. I’ve gained more vantage points to view from and multiple lenses to view through. So many more perspectives to see with because those “doors” have been opened. With those added skills and knowledge, I see myself as more valuable. You become more valuable when you open your mind to experience more and see things in a different light. You become a Swiss Army knife with more than just a blade. You’re a tool box that’s actually filled with something useful. You’re not just an empty box with nothing to offer others who come along, looking inside for the right tools to fix or create their lives/dreams. You are capable of helping them fix their problems or create something great of their own!

It’s not just about you, or how others can help you. That’s the narrow, one-way perspective on life. It’s about those you can impact and help along the way. Meaning, life is just as much about how YOU affect others as it is about how they affect you. Every single person makes a dent in you in some way, shape or form and vices versa. We are constantly being shaped into the person we are supposed to be by every detail, word, and action that occurs. Who you are carries weight and value. Why not try to be as valuable to others as you want them to be to you?

For this reason, I chose to go after my MBA. It’s why I am constantly trying to be better, in some way every day. It is why I strongly believe in forever INVESTING in yourself as a person and as a professional. You should think of yourself as something worth investing in. You should be trying to make yourself as valuable as possible. You should be trying to be that toolbox with something to offer others, as well as yourself.  Don’t you ever wonder where your potential reaches and where your limits lie? I question all the time who I could be, how valuable I could be to myself and others, or how I could better help anyone who I come into contact with in some way, shape, or form. I wanted to go after my MBA to get those “tools” to fill my box with so that when I do figure out what I want to build for myself or others, I have the tools to do so.

On top of that, I also really enjoy learning because knowledge is another powerful tool. The day you stop learning or wanting to learn is the day you die. You’re going to learn something in this life whether you want to or not. How much you learn is up to you. You can’t push someone up a ladder- they have to want to climb. Are you just sitting there staring up, wondering what’s at the top, but too lazy to climb? Are you too comfortable in your spot to get up and grab the remote? Are you sitting there claiming to be “starving” with a buffet before you, but too lazy to get up and eat? Maybe you’re actually starving for knowledge, for fuel to add to that dimming flame of yours, for some enlightening experience to provoke a new way of thinking within you.

I don’t know about you, but when I start sinking into my spot and routine my mind goes somewhat numb. When I break from the routine, go out, or experience new people and things my mind feels refreshed. These moments spark something in me. They ignite a fire in me. They wake me up!

The people in my MBA program do that to me. Talking with them about their reasons for being in the program, what they are striving for, why they want to be better … is INSPIRING! It’s an amazing feeling to be surrounded by others who are trying to be better daily and are motivated to increase their value. Everyone is striving for something even they don’t all know exactly what they want to do with the MBA once they have it. Heck, I don’t even know for sure what I’m going to do with it or what I want to be when I “grow up”. And that’s okay! My dad and many other “adults” I’ve spoken with still claim they don’t know what they want to be when they “grow up” and they are old and dusty.  So I’d like every one of you out there to know you’re not the only one. But the only one that can go after that dream of yours is YOU!

These people in my program fuel my flame and my motivation to be better. They inspire me to go after the dreams and ambitions that spark my fire. Go after those things that fuel yours as well. Make your flame as blindingly bright as you can and share your light with others.

A candle loses nothing by lighting another. Remember that…

Also, I will add that at the end of the day, you are the top 5 people you surround yourself with. Meaning, you become the people you CHOOSE to surround yourself with! Ask yourself, who are your top 5?

In my mind, if I’m just sitting around completely satisfied with who I am today it’s almost like I’m just biding my time until my days on this Earth are over. I feel like I’m a glass that’s supposed to be filled to the brim and I want to be overflowing. Why would you choose to settle for half full, half empty or somewhere in between?

Why wouldn’t you want to make yourself better and more knowledgeable? Why accept who you are right now when there’s so much out there that you know nothing about or haven’t seen? You should wonder where the limits of your potential reach. You should wonder who you could be. There’s never an excuse to stop dreaming of what you could become or what skills you could obtain. So no, maybe none of us know what/who we want to be when we grow up. We are constantly growing- forever growing up. Our priorities and our values change with age. We reach one goal of who we see ourselves as and we find something else to strive for. Do it for yourself, even if others around you are still “sitting on that couch”.

But at the end of the day, how many steps you’ve taken toward that dream is up to you and the only person standing in the way of reaching your full potential is YOURSELF. Get up off that couch. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better. Do some things that make you uncomfortable. You prune the dead leaves off of trees to make them grow. Start pruning and continue growing!

“Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full–pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”

-Luke 6:38


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