by Shannon Cohen
Investing in yourself is pivotal to operationalizing what you believe about yourself. If belief is the spark, investment is the current. For too long, culture has championed “believing in oneself” as enough. It is not. Belief without action is only wishful thinking. Wishful thinking without movement goes nowhere. I meet female difference makers every day who have amazingly brilliant ideas. Daily, I talk with women who are crafty and creative, skilled intrapreneurs, budding entrepreneurs, and exceptionally talented and gifted. Yet, many of the women I meet falter in believing and investing in their potential and dreams.
I believe the upward mobility of women is connected to divorcing our confidence from external validation. We can no longer afford to wait on others to acknowledge our potential for greatness. Some of the most culturally contagious movements of our time were ideas that others didn’t recognize or validate until it was too late. Blockbuster and Netflix are perfect examples. Blockbuster had seven opportunities to acquire Netflix. However, Blockbuster slept on the potential of Netflix and that oversight led to the organization’s demise. There is a lesson in the Blockbuster-Netflix story for female leaders and those who overlook us. The days of delaying our launch, growth and expansion until we receive buy-in from those currently sleeping on our talents, gifts, and abilities are over. Now is the time to believe and invest in our promise and potential. Here are three ways I believe every woman can move from belief alone to believing and investing in herself:
1. Ignite a new conversation about your dreams.
Even when overqualified, women undervalue their talents and ideas and will delay implementation until every aspect is 100 percent perfect. Yet, we all know men who confidently champion ideas they haven’t even written down let alone perfected a plan for. A Hewlett Packard study found that women applied for jobs only when they thought they had 100 percent of the job requirements, while men applied when they thought they had 60 percent. As women, we must speak life to the dreams of our own souls. Our words are foundational to our confidence. How we internally and externally talk about our dreams is a form of pitch preparation. Getting comfortable confidently championing your gifts, ideas, and dreams is an art that is developed first behind closed doors. Our words either seed or sink our activity, our energy, and our goals. As Carol Sankar, Founder of the Confidence Factor for Women states, “Confidence is a powerful accessory. Never leave home without it.”
2. Put your money where your dreams are.
Allocating dollars in alignment with your personal and professional goals is a tangible way of investing in you. Add a line item to your household budget to invest in growth goals like trademarking your logo, taking a class/workshop, developing a prototype of your idea, or footing the bill to attend a conference that will help you advance to the next level. Melissa Butler, founder of the Lip Bar birthed her now million-dollar business from concoctions made at her kitchen table and the infusion of her own resources. Short on cash? Consider crowdfunding tools like Kickstarter or Indiegogo. Barbara Corcoran flipped a $1,000 loan from her then-boyfriend into a real-estate behemoth that sold for $66 million. Women all over the world are using collaborative capital raising approaches to garner the resources they need.
3. Annually grow your level of investment.
Treat your talents and gifts as part of your investment portfolio. Portfolios grow from investment over time. Do some forecasting for the remainder of 2019. What can you invest in the development of you? Remember, there is no shame in where you start. As you look ahead to 2020, make the commitment to increase your investment. Your rate of return will be connected to how much you invest, and YOU are worth the investment.
Tough Skin, Soft Heart Truth Tough Skin:
I am the first and best investor my dream will ever see. I won’t stop at merely believing in myself. Daily, I will invest my time, talent, and resources toward incubating and scaling the visions of my heart.
Soft Heart: No more delay! My deficiencies are not greater than my possibility. I will not wait for perfection to begin the investment process. I will begin where I am with what I have. What I possess is more than enough to start.