This week, my husband, Dan, has spoken at two conferences about Investing In Yourself. At both events he has been very warmly received. It seems many entrepreneurs need a reminder that spending the money to attend a conference is an investment in their growth that can pay huge dividends.
I have recently read for the zillionth time, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea. I wore out my copy years ago and had it spiral bound back together because I didn’t want to throw away my notes and highlighting. It seems every year I read this book I gain new understanding about how important it is to invest in myself. I love the line, “What a circus act we women perform every day of our lives.” How true. And how we undervalue our need to take time out to rest and recuperate. Men do this too.
There are many ways one invests in oneself. The entrepreneur attends another conference, the student takes another course, the teacher learns a new technique, the artist experiments with a new medium. But no matter who you are or what you do, we all need time to rest. Even a piece of metal and wires like a computer needs to reboot on occasion. It gets bogged down with overload. Just like we do. Sometimes Dan tells me he has “used up all his words” and he simply needs a period of quiet and solitude.
Moms need that too. I remember those days of interrupted sleep, whether because of an infant’s cry, a child’s illness, or a teenager’s coming home late. I know how hard it was for me to take time to rest my weary body. But I also recall that when I got a chance I grabbed a nap now and then. Now that I am older, and perhaps a bit wiser, I don’t feel guilty taking those naps, nor do I stress over all the things I didn’t get done. I have learned those things can wait till I am in a better frame of mind. Till I reboot. And those things will get done faster and more effectively because I have listened to my body.
In this era of increasing narcissism it bears explaining that taking care of oneself, investing in oneself, is not done at the expense of others. Narcissism is a sense of entitlement that doesn’t include empathy for others or concern for another’s well-being. A narcissist is controlling and manipulative and deceptive. It’s not a good place to be.
Don’t confuse your need to take care of yourself with being selfish or narcissistic. Instead, recognize that investing in yourself leads to creating a better you that can benefit your family, your business, the world. I have witnessed too many individuals who have worn themselves to a frazzle taking care of others and saving the world that they are no longer able to function, rife with exhaustion and stress-related illnesses.
Investing in yourself can take on many applications. But taking time out, creating some white space in your life can be the most valuable preventive health regimen you can practice. I heard someone say many years ago that sometimes we simply have to give ourselves permission. It’s as simple as that.
Are you allowing permission to become healthier and more balanced by investing in yourself, creating habits of rest and relaxation? Have you been under the illusion that taking a nap or taking a no-tech day or a vacation is a waste of time? Is it time for you to say “no” to more appointments, meetings, housework and projects because you have scheduled time for yourself? That appointment could be the most important one of your day!