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Invest in Yourself

May 11, 2012

Fuchsia I captured in Kuwait

{This post may seem a little random, but I wanted to share this with you guys anyhow….it’s from a few days ago}

My mojo is super high today! My heart feels like it’s pumping extra-oxygenated blood, I’m sitting up a little taller and I even think my hair looks a little shinier.

I’ll tell you why: I just made a pretty big investment in myself and in the business.

For a while now, since about 2009, I’ve been trying really hard to work on myself. I spent the better part of my 20s not realizing my full potential, by doing what I thought I had to do: University, even though I no longer felt like the academic wiz I once was, and desperately trying to find “good jobs” in a city and a market that never had much to offer (sorry, Anglo-Montreal). I felt like I went from being this kid and teenager who my teachers and parents thought would be published, wealthy, successful, an academic and married to some eccentric filmmaker by 25. Instead, I flipflopped with jobs, careers, paths, and relationships for 9 of the 10 years of my 20s.

Partially, it was societal and peer pressure. Mostly, it was my fault for being indecisive. My parents urging me to find a “good job” so I could retire at the ripe age of 60 and happily live out my last couple of decades sans debt, or friends telling me I should go back to school because of my past achievements (so I was top of my class for a few years in college? 5 years later, that meant nothing to me). Neither sounded like much fun, but seemed like that’s all I had, and that’s what was expected. 2 choices: Learn or earn.

So, I desperately tried to do both, wavering between jobs that killed my soul and school that bored me to death. Nearing 30, I couldn’t do it anymore.

The last corporate job I had, I hated from 8:30 to 6:30, then I’d come home and keep working. Not for extra money, but because I felt bullied into doing so for a company I didn’t care about. I was stressed, and I was giving my everything, for nothing. Maybe a raise? I didn’t even want it to move my way up. My vision was clouded, I had lost all focus. I didn’t know where I wanted to go, or where I wanted to be.

Blech. Thinking about it now makes my skin crawl.

I knew there was another option out there for me. I knew I could take my passions and skills, for natural health, in design and branding, in working with my hands and my words and somehow, make it work for me. I didn’t know what it was, although I always had this idea in the back of my mind that I’d one day own a skincare company (like, when I was retired, had bought a farm and made fresh products from the garden, and wove rugs from my alpacas).

I still want that farm, but what I always wanted, and didn’t quite know was truly in me to do, was to be an entrepreneur. Looking back, it’s always been me. As a kid, I loved working on my own, but being able to draw others towards me. I loved creating. I loved writing, building things, creating something from nothing. I took so much pride in my work, I relished good grades and praise from teachers.  It was this calm, collected, focused, driven little person in me that came out when the conditions were right. And throughout most of my 20s, those conditions were all wrong. I was stifled. Worst of all, I’d never throw myself a bone. IN fact, bone-throwing is still something I’m trying to overcome (in the sense that I’m still really hard and critical on myself).

There was just one thing missing: I had never invested in myself. I was only ever pushed into something, or drifted into another. I didn’t know what this meant, I had no idea how to do it. I certainly didn’t know how to actually spend real money on myself, and I didn’t even know how to make “free” investments, such as starting a good habit. All I knew were excuses not to invest in myself. And so, my little “stocks” could not grow. I was stuck in a plateau that was risking a huge dip. 

Luckily for me, my partner/husband/super-guy gave me a firm talking to and showed me the way. He made me follow my heart. He made me invest, and he continues to encourage me to do so. Sometimes, we need to be told we’re worth it.

Investing in yourself isn’t just about money, and this took me a long time to realize. I’m a firm believer that if you are reading this, you are able to live well within your means. (I will write about how Adri and I have lived crazy frugal the past 2 years, and yet lived abundantly in another post.) We have lived happily and well, essentially because we made the firm decision to do so. With strategic budgeting and sacrifice, I feel these past 2 years have been the richest of my life…I’m also technically the poorest I’ve ever been! But that’s cool. It will pass.

Anyhow, all this to say that YOU can do it too. That lifestyle or thing you want is most likely within your means if you really want it. There’s always a way if you’re clever and can think outside the box. You can ALWAYS find a way to invest in yourself and to better your life. Start by telling others, people you trust. They will shed a lot of light onto how you can get there, and moreover, why you should.

Live your life with abundance, even if your wallet is empty. Give to yourself. Invest in yourself, because you’re really worth it. Yeah, sacrifice if you have to, and that’s worth it too. Remember that perspective counts for so much of your reality. In fact, you can say that it accounts for ALL of your reality. Giving to yourself can rapidly change your perspective, and your reality.

But here’s the thing: Do so by your own terms. It could be a big online program like the one I’m doing, launching a business, getting a major haircut, booking that flight, treating yourself to a spa day or some fresh new skincare products (!!), whatever it is, giving to yourself comes back tenfold. 

As for me, I love running Stark. I love this business. I love every single person I’ve been able to chat with, email with, send products out to, have crazy banter with on Twitter and Facebook. All of it. I love working online! I love working from home, in my smushy-soft robe, a cat on my lap, lunch on the stove, and my best friend, business partner, and life love by my side (that’s Adri!!!). I love knowing that every time I commit to improving things, my business grows. And when Stark grows, I grow. And as we grow, so do all the amazing things that I get to offer you!

And you, no matter how you made your way to my blog, whether you’re a customer of Stark’s or not, makes all this a possibility for me. Thank you. Now, go do something nice for yourself.