What do you think of when you hear the word “invest?” What do you think of the word “success?” Doing the first will lead you to having the second, but how?
What I Thought Success Required
As a child and early teen, my vision of success came from my parents and society. My parents encouraged me to learn all I could at school. So I did. I focused deeply on my studies. My grades were great and I was in the top three in my high school class. It didn’t matter the subject, over time I learned to enjoy them all—except gym class, I wasn’t really into sports. But I knew that was fine. Education would rescue me.
The odds are that you were given the same story: get an education, get a good job, stay at the company for 40 years and retire with a big pension. If we’ve learned anything since the Crash of 1987 and the 2008 Recession, it’s this: jobs aren’t stable.
Success Will Cost You
I know you want success. So do I. But the idea of coasting to success based on a degree (or multiple degrees) and a single company just doesn’t happen anymore. You know success is possible, but how? You have to pay the price. You have to make the investments. Not the investments in mutual funds, real estate, or the stock market (although those have their places). No, you have to make investments that will have a positive return—no matter what happens to the market, or your job, or anything else over which you don’t have complete control. Here are the five areas you should really invest in if you want to be successful.
1. Invest in Books
According to Pew research, half of all American adults read less than 5 books in 2013. That number is essentially unchanged from previous years. Five books in a year is a relatively low number. However, if they were books to help you succeed and you applied all of the principles, then you might benefit very much!
What are people actually reading? According to author Tom Corly,
People who make $35,000 or less per year read for entertainment 79% of the time.
People who make $160,000 or more per year read for entertainment only 11% of the time.
People who make $160,000 or more per year read two or more books per month in areas specifically targeted to help them grow personally and/or in their careers.
Among the $35,000 and below income group? 15% read the same number of books in those areas.
It’s pretty clear that investing in reading the right kinds of books can make a great difference in your level of financial success!
2. Invest in Events
In one of my businesses, I went from a $500 investment to over $70,000 in monthly revenue—in seven months. My wife and I were working out of our home helping people to lose weight and get in shape. It was so much fun! But do you know what we did before we made much money at all? We went to an event to learn from people who had already done so.
No matter your industry, there are likely events that you could attend. In the automotive industry, there are the Detroit and Chicago auto shows. In electronics, there is the Consumer Electronics Show. Real estate investors have multiple conferences per year. When you invest in attending an event, you not only learn, but your vision grows. You see not just where you are, but where you can be. In talking about mission trips for people (a very specific type of event investment) best-selling author and pastor Mark Batterson puts it this way, “A change in place plus a change in pace equals a change in perspective.”
3. Invest in a Coach or Mentor
Do you know why you are reading this article right now? Let me share two of the reasons: I attended an event and I hired a coach. You may know exactly what you want to do for success. You may have a vision board, a series of daily affirmations, and wonderfully specific goals. But do you know how to make it all happen?
Do you know all of the small details, or the possible pitfalls? Do you know where making a tiny change could result in a huge return? Do you know where you are just beating your head against the wall and need to stop? No? But guess who does: someone who has already been there. When you hire a great coach, you will save yourself years of frustration and thousands of lost dollars. They will lead you, correct you, encourage you, and (like events) show you a vision bigger than your own. Take your money and invest in a coach, or suffer the consequences of trying to figure it out on your own.
4. Invest in Relationships
Success isn’t all about money. How happy will you be if you are making $10 million per year but have no friends or loved ones with whom to share your time? I’d rather be flat broke (and I have been) and happily married than insanely wealthy but all alone.
When you are climbing the ladder of success, don’t leave behind those you love most! Lift them into their own success and enjoy the climb together. Invest in relationships because they are worth more than the most precious of diamonds.
5. Invest in Health
When I was in my mid-thirties, I decided to take charge of my weight. In less than a year, I was down over 50 lbs. Overall, I lost around 72 lbs from my heaviest and am now in my target weight range. When I was 42, I took up running. I’ve now been a runner for more than four years (feel free to do the math). Do you know why I made these changes and why you should too?
Investing in your health has three main benefits:
- You’ll feel much better: greater energy, a zest for life, and finally enjoying how your body performs.
- You’ll inspire others: my wife, son, his wife, and a bunch of people I mentor are runners now.
- You’ll live longer: success does you no good if you are dead. When you invest in your health, you’ll be around for more years to enjoy and share your success with those you love.
The idea that a degree and a life-long job will bring success no longer rings true. If you want success, you have to make it happen yourself. Success IS attainable—if you make the right investments. Investing in books (print, electronic, or audio), events, a coach, relationships, and your health will get you the success you so greatly desire… and will help you to bring others with you along the way.