Listening to the news about the economy’s future can feel daunting, and I know personally, it leaves me feeling uncertain and not so optimistic. With daily headlines about a looming recession, it’s overwhelming to think about what will happen when the next one hits. From a global perspective, there’s nothing that you or I can really do to change the trajectory. Let’s face it, recessions are unavoidable. However, from a personal standpoint, there ARE things you can do to help prepare and position yourself for success when the next recession hits. You can invest.
Investing with a recession on the horizon can be risky, as all investments require some level of risk. However, there are some recession-proof industries and assets. A quick internet search will reveal lists of advice such as gold or treasury bonds. But what if I told you there’s an asset you can start investing in today, without any brokers or trading fees, plus it has a guaranteed return on investment?
You can invest in yourself. You are your own best asset.
So what does investing in yourself look like? Well, it depends on your goals. Perhaps you want to invest in your health and wellness which could mean getting more sleep, eating healthier, or practicing mindfulness. Or maybe you want to invest in your personal relationships, so you become more intentional about reaching out to friends and start practicing setting healthy boundaries. Self-investing allows you to write your own terms and conditions. Whatever you think will improve yourself, even just 1%. Recognize that you define your worth and always have the ability to add to your skill set.
However, when it comes to self-investment during or in preparation for a recession, the best thing you can do is invest in your hard skills. Hard skills are specific abilities or talents that you can learn. Often they take the form of degrees or certifications, but can also be improving your typing speed, or learning a new language or software program. These are the things that will allow you to perform better at your job.
Often companies are faced with layoffs and hiring freezes during recessions. This is scary because those decisions are probably out of your control. The anticipation of change can start the spiral of anxious thinking with hypothetical situations getting the best of you. Even if you aren’t currently working, a recession will impact you one way or another. However when these unfortunate circumstances arise you have the choice to remain stagnant OR take action and choose to level up. By investing in yourself not only does your confidence increase, but you have the opportunity to add desirable hard skills to your resume that will make you desirable for your current or future employers.
So here are five quick tips I came across to help you get started on your self-investment journey.
Think Ahead- To truly start to see returns on your self-investment, you need to be intentional. That starts with having a plan. Set professional goals and craft a plan to get there. Don’t even know where to start? Well, what’s your dream job? Do you want to be a director of operations one day? Start by looking at job descriptions now. Compare the required skills listed with competencies you already have. Where are the gaps? What are the discrepancies? That’s your starting list. What’s stopping you from working on developing those skills right now?
Make the Time- I’ve heard it a thousand times, and I know I’m guilty of saying it too— “There just aren’t enough hours in the day”. However, with any investment, you have to put something in, to get something out. To truly invest in yourself and develop your skills, you’ll need to find or make time. Not sure how? Well, with the average person spending 147 minutes per day on social media. There’s almost 2.5 hours back daily. Now maybe you don’t spend that much time on your phone, or you don’t think you do (p.s most apps actually allow you to check your daily usage!). So how can you make time? Perhaps waking up an hour earlier, dedicating your lunch breaks, or making social sacrifices are a few options. Investing in yourself might not feel easy, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.
Find Your Style- There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to learning new skills. It can already be an intimidating task for some, so set yourself up for success by choosing a learning style that you enjoy. If you HATE reading, then don’t choose a book to learn. Try a podcast if you’re an auditory learner, or YouTube if you’re a visual learner. More of a tactile/hands-on learner? Why not try courses on Magnifi U where you can actually interact in each lesson? Figure out how you learn best, sometimes it’s combinations of methods, and then get to investing in yourself!
Know Your Value- There’s the common saying that you are your own worst critic, however, I’d like to put a spin on that and say that you are also your own best promoter. It’s up to you to not only know your worth but to be able to share it with others. At every networking event and interview, you have to be able to self-promote. Depending on your personality I know this can be awkward and uncomfortable, but it’s a vital skill that can help get you to where you want to be. Others can help you with this step too. Your social network is a powerful thing, so tap into it and seek out a mentor to help. Learn from those already doing what you want to do. A mentor can help you build value and also help you recognize your own. What is the point in investing in yourself if you’re never then going to cash in on it?
A.B.L- In the startup world there is an acronym, ABL. Always Be Launching. However, I like to tweak that to “Always Be Learning”. Industries, technology, and best practices are constantly evolving, so if you don’t invest in yourself and evolve with the times, you’re going to be left behind. But luckily, with the age of the internet comes instant access to knowledge and training at our fingertips. Is there new software that would put you ahead of other candidates? Or maybe a new hard skill you’re looking to master? There are a ton of free resources out there to help you start your journey. And that’s usually the hardest part, just starting. Pick somewhere to start and it’ll get easier from there. Maybe you choose to start with a general YouTube video, podcast, or online curriculum, from there those resources might provide additional sources to explore.
So, now it’s up to you. It’s never too late (or too early) to start investing in YOURSELF. When the next recession comes, are you going to stay stagnant where you are or take the necessary time to invest in yourself? You’ll get out what you put in, so why not give yourself a competitive advantage and sharpen your skillset?
To recap, in order to maximize your own return on investment be sure to: think ahead, make the time, find your style, know your value, and always be learning. Remember, you are your greatest asset and you’re in full control of future gains and losses. Start investing in yourself now and you’ll thank yourself later.