Every woman is an investor. Every day, we invest our time, energy and money into people, places and things. Often, our emotional and mental well-being takes a back seat the more we invest in the daily demands of work, family and life. Eventually, the toll of these decisions emerges.
After a 20-year corporate career, I reaped the impact of not investing in me. The busy life to which I grew accustomed could no longer silence my neglected mental health and emotional fragility. In fact, my investment in my financial priorities were squandering my emotional returns and mental profitability in ways I could not imagine.
Eventually, depression settled in. I found myself beaten and burnt out by the “dream” life I built. Committing to overcome, I learned several lessons about investing in my most valuable asset: myself. My experience led me to develop the Invest(Her) strategy: 7 ways every woman should invest in herself right now.
InvestHer strategy #1: Invest in the right neighborhood. As a real estate investor, I learned the exact same house in two different neighborhoods could have very different values. Community matters. And the same is true for us women. We must ask ourselves, do the people in our community increase our value or diminish it? This means we must evaluate toxic relationships and set clear boundaries. It is important to deliberately surround ourselves with encouragers, mentors, and accountability partners who strengthen our community and well-being, not weaken it.
InvestHer strategy #2: Don’t be afraid to explore theundervalued, overlooked and neglected aspects of who you are. As an investor, I also realized undervalued assets often result in the greatest appreciation. However, very few see the potential. My goal as an investor is to view a property for what it can become as opposed to its current neglected state. There are needs, passions, gifts, desires, and dreams in our life that have been neglected. They may even be areas other people don’t value. Everybody can’t see the treasure in earthen vessels, so keep looking and investing.
#3: Invest in the research and data about your life. We often reduce our value to the titles we hold. The data of our life speaks to the substance of who we are, not just the title. Here’s what I mean. You can read my titles - author, mom, wife, finance professional. However, if you look at the data of my life, you will find a much deeper story. I started my first entrepreneurial venture at 10; I was always the loud, boisterous girl; I won a County wide award for creativity in the 6th grade; and I taught pre-school and started a dance school throughout middle and high school. So, what does the data say about me. The data reveals I am a lifelong entrepreneur, who is outspoken and creative, and loves to connect with others through teaching. This is significantly more insightful information than my titles.The data gives me clues into how I was uniquely designed which leads me closer to understanding my purpose. Dig deeper into the data of who you are.
InvestHER strategy #4: Invest in What You Believe. In my twenty-year career, I only made investments in assets I believed in. As I applied this principle to myself,I discovered my outlook was speckled with negative beliefs that impacted where and how I invested. I think deep down I didn’t believe I was worthy of investing in myself. And, what I believed about myself was causing me not to take pro-active steps towards my purpose. I had tons of fear about what I “thought” would happen if I took a chance on me. To reverse these beliefs, I started consuming as many podcasts, self-help and mindset books as I could and initiated therapy. These steps helped me reframe my mindset and beliefs, so that I recognized I indeed am a worthy investment. Believe you are worthy of the investment in yourself.
InvestHER strategy #5: Invest in Your Plans by creating routines around your priorities. Every successful builder draws up plans before they start building. Then brick-by-brick they build. In our lives,our routines are the bricks. Without a routine, we simply show up where the calendar dictates. The calendar runs our life. Dissatisfied with this approach, I began wakingup an hour earlier to take back control of my calendar. That hour is a gift I give myself daily. During that hour, I work on myself, my plans and dreams. Often, we must re-evaluate our priorities, and put them on the calendar. This investment strategy puts our priorities back in control, by allowing our priorities to drive our calendar, not the other way around. You can find more details on this purposeful prioritization process on my webpage www.najahdrakes.com. Changing your routine and priorities will change your life.
So, if your calendar is driving your priorities instead of the other way around, take your power back. Invest in your most important asset: yourself. And, watch your most important investments grow.