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#9 – Invest in Yourself

madonna-material-girlAre you a “one-hit wonder” or The Rolling Stones?  Are you a fire-cracker or a shining star?  Do you have what it takes to go the distance and burn brightly for decades or do you fizzle out? The biggest difference between short- and long-term successful careers is the ability to always be increasing your value and promoting yourself.

Unfortunately, many people float through their careers.  They passively move from one position to another without a plan or a purpose, or plateau and wake up years later in the same position.  True growth and advancement happen by design, not by accident. We are all works in progress, and need to constantly improve ourselves in order to gain confidence and reach new heights.  If you are in the same place, doing the same thing day in and day out, the harsh reality is there is not much to promote.  Think of the nightly news.  If a reporter simply said, “And tonight’s headlines are the same as they were yesterday and the day before”, would we watch the news?  Of course not.

Thinking about something new to talk about or a new way to contribute to your organization is not as easy as it sounds.  It takes work and a proactive approach.  We would all like to be better by magic, but that just doesn’t happen.  You need to invest time, money, and energy in order to produce and promote a better product…yourself!

Any smart investor will tell you, it’s not just about the investment, but the return on the investment.  Here are some suggestions that can provide a big pay off…

  • hard skills (i.e., computer skills, foreign language, accounting, operations, etc…)
  • an additional certification or advanced degree
  • ongoing professional development
  • workshops, seminars, webinars, and presentations
  • an updated wardrobe
  • reading and researching your industry
  • career or executive coaching

If your sights are set on a long and successful career, then think of Madonna.  The reason why she has stood the test of time is because she stays current and relevant.  Madonna is the poster child for self-improvement and self-promotion…she hires a personal trainer, educates herself on the latest music trends, and creatively comes up with new concepts to market.  She reinvents herself. How else could the “Material Girl” be “Like a Virgin” in the 80s and play the Super Bowl half-time show today?

It seems like rock stars and pop stars are constantly reinventing themselves to stay marketable…why?  Because it works!  Take Justin Timberlake for example.  He started out as an innocent member of the Mickey Mouse Club, transitioned into a hot boy band, has acted in blockbuster movies, and is now touring with Jay-Z. He also started and hosts a charity golf tournament. With every new endeavor, it’s an opportunity for him to promote himself.  To get people excited and talking about him.  To create a buzz.  Are people excited and talking about what you’re doing?

Investing in yourself and reinventing yourself are not reserved only for the rich and famous.  We all want to grow and learn, evolve and expand, and be current and relevant.  Self-promotion is much easier, and far more effective, if we have something new and exciting to promote.  Don’t be a one-hit wonder…be the Madonna of your world.

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