Talk with any company owner of any size and they will say that their business can’t grow unless they invest at some point. Successful businesses know when to invest, seize opportunities and take risks to grow. It’s the same with your career. Effective career navigators know when to invest in their personal and professional development to grow if they want to achieve their dreams. The alternative is inertia and stagnation. What will you choose?

Although Einstein said, “If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got”, that’s not always true. If you do what you have always done, you can lose what you have always had (job, income, relevance, confidence, and self-esteem) as the world changes around you.

You can take a warm, intrinsically-motivated approach (achievement, satisfaction, what you can offer the world); a cold, extrinsically-motivated approach (financial rewards, paying the mortgage, what you can get); or a mix of both. Getting the balance right for you in finding mission and mortgage (or rent) means being a realistic optimist (‘I’ll find a way that makes sense in my circumstances’) rather than a realistic pessimist (‘I’ll find reasons not to’).

Making the choice to invest in yourself is scary if you have not done so for a long time. Yet, the joy of developing yourself is exciting, stimulating, and sometimes a matter of life and death. Choose life, as Renton memorably urged in the film Trainspotting.

Frank Song is the highly successful founder of Modern Career Advice who takes a data-driven, scientific, and analytical approach to helping job seekers get hired. He equates a career with a financial asset:

“It is no different than if you were to buy a house and rent it out to someone and receive cash for it every single year. That’s no different than your career where you rent out your skills, knowledge, capabilities, time, and receive cash for it every single year.”

At first glance, Frank is from the cold, extrinsically-motivated school. However, his warmth shines through too. Why? Because he knows that you have an underlying value that needs leveraging so that employers will see your true worth and hire you accordingly. Until you show your true intrinsic value, you won’t get what you deserve. In fact, Frank has calculated it can cost you $903,400 in lost lifetime earnings! And don’t forget the personal cost of inertia is often fear, frustration, and demotivation.

“A life lived in fear is a life half lived.” Strictly Ballroom

Check out Frank’s excellent free online Modern Career Advice Job Search Guide. He takes you through a seven-part journey from understanding the fundamentals to applying them in your job search to give you an advantage. Complexity broken down into a step-by-step guide and aimed at everyone from the graduate starting out to career changers in later life. 

The return on investing in yourself will always be greater than the return on inertia! 

What will you choose?

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