“I can’t afford it. I can’t invest this much money into myself. It wouldn’t be responsible to spend that much. And I don’t even have time! Plus I doubt it’ll even work!”
I told myself all the reasons why I didn’t deserve to invest in myself. I convinced myself it wouldn’t be worth it despite how stuck I felt.
You see, on the outside, things appeared to be perfect. I had the perfect job, at the perfect company, with the perfect fiancé. At least that’s what everyone told me. “You’re so lucky everything is just perfect for you!”
But things were not perfect.
The truth is, I felt unfulfilled. I felt like I was constantly chasing the next thing that I ‘should’ go for, but unsure of why. I had dreams, yet I didn’t pursue them. I craved something different, but I was afraid to change. I judged my own struggles. Even after I was notified that my frozen embryos were involved in a mishap at the storage unit, I continued to believe “I have no right to feel like something is missing or long for more. So many people have it worse.” And though my friends and family wanted the best for me, their words weighed me down.
“You should just do the normal thing and settle down, have kids.”
“You know you aren’t getting any younger. If you wait any longer to have kids, your kids will end up with major health issues. And that’s IF you can even have kids if you keep waiting.”
“Why would you leave such a great company? You’re doing so well there. Everyone else is trying to get in and you’re thinking about leaving?”
Each day that passed, the pressures for me to settle down, be a mom and just be content with what I already had felt heavier and heavier. It was like cement setting and hardening to keep me in place. I felt stuck. I was unhappy. Yet, I still couldn’t get past the guilt of investing in myself. I had always struggled with the idea of doing anything nice for myself whether it was a spa day or a nice meal. So the notion of paying a coach to guide me through my life journey felt excessive. The scarcity mindset that I inherited from my parents didn’t help the case either.
“Why would I pay someone to help me? I’m smart enough. I can figure this out on my own,” I persuaded myself.
So I decided to try other routes that were cheaper and within my comfort zone.
I read every self-help book out there.
I listened to every podcast about personal discovery and growth that I could get my hands on.
I watched every free webinar on finding yourself that I could find.
But nearly 8 months passed by and my conclusion was, “WTF? I must be doomed.
I must be a lost cause. I must be helpless.”
“You should try an Ayahuasca ceremony,” a trusted friend (let’s call her Jane) suggested. “I’ve heard it’s great for helping to open your mind, learn about yourself and find direction in life.”
In a desperate, last ditch effort, I traveled down to Peru for a five-day Ayahuasca Ceremony. I know what you’re thinking: “Wasn’t that expensive?!” Not when you purchase your flight and hotel with travel miles racked up from work trips! And thanks to exchange rates, the ceremony was quite affordable too.
Off to Peru I went. “Please somebody, something just tell me what to do with my life. Mother Ayahuasca, give me the answers please!” I repeated over and over. Five ceremony days later, I had plenty of interesting insights. Still no answers as to what I needed to do to get unstuck and move my life forward.
Flying home from Peru, I felt completely helpless and at the lowest of my low. Nothing seemed to work.
“Maybe it just means I need to settle down like everyone is telling me to do,” I reported back to Jane. “But something still feels wrong about that.”
“What will your future self say to you if nothing changes and you’re in the same place?” she asked me. “Except at that point you’ll have kids too. How will that impact not just you, but them as well?”
That hit me hard like a smack in the face. But it was the smack I needed.
In that moment I realized the lies I had been telling myself over the last year.
I had persuaded myself that I was “trying to figure it out.” In reality, it was just an excuse. Sure I was intaking information from books and podcasts, but I wasn’t doing anything differently. And I sure wasn’t doing anything scary, something outside of my comfort zone to really grow.
The whole time, I was sitting in the passenger side pretending that I was driving, when really, I wasn’t doing any of the driving. I was letting others continue to write my story for me. Believing that I wasn’t worth the investment. That I could wait. But enough was enough. I had already lost enough time giving myself all these excuses. I was ready for real change.
With a newfound determination, I made the scary decision to put my money and time on the table.
If I wanted to make a major transformation in my life then I needed to invest fully in myself. What was at stake, was my life. And I didn’t want it to suck. I didn’t want to live with any regrets.
I invested wholeheartedly in a coach. Through our partnership, I was able to unravel the layers, like an onion, to find the core of me. My values, my needs, my passions, my dreams and desires. On the flip side we also uncovered my fears and insecurities, which stood in front of me challenging my sense of self and mediocracy. Through my vulnerability I found strength to speak up for what I wanted. Through my loss I found new beginnings. It felt like a roller coaster ride. And at the end of the ride, I found the courage to pick up my pen and author the narrative I wanted to write for my life.
It took nearly four decades to shift my fundamental belief that I was worth investing in.
Had I not found that courage I might still be stuck in the passenger seat of my own life story. I know that I’m not alone with this struggle. I’ve met and coached heaps of people who feel conflicted when it comes to investing in themselves, whether it’s financially or with time.
“I can’t spend that kind of money on myself.”
“I just don’t have the time.”
“That would just be selfish to put myself first.”
We will find every excuse to avoid the uncomfortable. We convince ourselves we’re not worth it. We make ourselves believe that we need to prioritize everything and everyone else first. That we can wait. I’ve been in your shoes. I know what it feels like to have an ongoing debate in my mind about it.
Let me invite you to reframe this way of thinking.
To offer you the truth behind some of the BS excuses.
First Reframe: The money mindset that you are not worth spending the money on.
THE TRUTH: Your growth and your future self depend on and are worthy the financial investment.
Your money mindset shapes what you perceive is worthwhile investing in. And for some reason, it always feels extra indulgent to invest in yourself. This mindset makes no sense because the greatest asset you have is you. At the same time, it does make sense because humans make decisions in irrational, emotional ways that don’t always make sense. I find it helpful to just put that out there and admit it.
The irony is that the more you pay for something, the value of it goes up–there’s plenty of research that shows this. So the more you invest in yourself, the more you will value the growth and changes you pursue. The more you value the growth and changes, the more you will commit to evolving into a better you. Ultimately, a better you will make you more valuable.
Second Reframe: The notion of time and that you can wait.
THE TRUTH: Time is the most precious resource we have and you can’t wait.
We often think there’s plenty of time left. We put things off for tomorrow. We think we can just wait. The reality is that time is finite and scarce. It cannot be bought, sold, saved or traded. You only get that time once; when it’s gone, it’s gone forever.
The sooner you invest in yourself, the sooner you can reap the benefits. Imagine if I hadn’t procrastinated for nearly a year with the books, webinars, podcasts or my trip to Peru. How much energy could I have saved from feeling weighed down and stuck all that time? Had I decided to invest in myself sooner, I could have been thriving and living my best self sooner.
Third Reframe: The belief that it’s selfish to invest in yourself and everyone else should come first.
THE TRUTH: Investing in yourself is also investing in others.
When you truly invest in yourself, you become a better person. You become a better partner, a better daughter, a better son, a better sister, a better brother, a better friend, a better colleague, and even a better stranger to those that you encounter on a daily basis. You need to invest in yourself before others for the same reason you have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you help others with theirs. It isn’t selfish because it is an investment in the future of you. One that the future you will thank you for. As will everyone you are going to come across in the next year, 5 years, 10 years, decade and more.
Let me leave you with this…
What are your goals, dreams, passions and desires worth to you?
What will it cost you (and others around you) if in a year, five years, ten years or on your deathbed, nothing changes?
How do you feel about that?
I will never try to convince anyone to work with me, but I will always advocate and encourage you to invest in yourself; in your own growth, dreams and happiness. Because I believe you are worth it. And so should you.