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The gift of investing in yourself

“Everyone should carefully observe which way his heart draws him and then choose that way with all his strength.” – Hasidic saying

How badly did I want this? Enough to get up at 3am for a flight to Shreveport. I stepped away from the cool fog breeze of California to the saturated air of Louisiana. My eyes were wide as I absorbed the moisture and greenery so foreign to a California girl. Stumbling on my pocket of sleep I met my new classmates and also fell into the arms of good friends. Yes, I wanted this. Badly.

In life, we often put ourselves last. When I leave my family I often joke about needing a hall pass, or using the “extraction technique.” In being the caretakers of others it can be hard to not only step away from that, for a bit, but to spend money on ourselves. I prefer to think of it not as spending, but as investing. Investing in yourself is the greatest gift you can give, not only to yourself, but to others who’s lives you touch. This is what I believe.

I give you my theory in three bites:

1. Breaking away from life’s routine opens space for reflection, growth and resilience. Putting down responsibilities creates more room for fun and creativity.

Anytime I get on an airplane, I break out my journal and look back at my life from altitude or distance. Just stepping outside of my normal bubble gives me so much perspective on what’s happening at home. From this distance it’s easier to make decisions on what to keep and what to toss from the dailyness of my life.

2. Learning new skills or concepts broadens life’s palette and your offerings for yourself and others.

There is nothing like living in a rut to make me want to quit or change. I tend to go to extremes, so keeping myself learning, growing and inspired is the best way to keep my daily work fresh. My clients also love when I bring new ideas to the table that I’ve been playing with on my own.

3. Meeting new people builds friendships, creates support networks and opens doors for new opportunities.

You don’t get that by staying at home. Meeting new people, making friends with them and growing together through learning is a terrifically bonding experience. It’s necessary to find your tribe, those people who speak your language, and hang out with them and become saturated with each other’s ideas. I met someone at this workshop who had recognized this image of my son by the lake from years ago. It was like we were magnetically drawn towards each other and in meeting knew we were kindred spirits. To connect and relate to someone new, like we’d always been friends, and now have each other for resources and support is a precious gem.

Returning to a heat wave in California, I look forward to catching up on my sleep, but I am full to the brim, renewed, with friendship, inspiration, new work to share and a happy spirit.

Workshop: Taking Flight 2015 hosted and teaching by Ann George at her lovely historic estate, Joyce Wilson teaching her stunning photographic processes and Scarlett Hendricks sharing her gorgeous work and beautiful studio.

More workshops: Imagine by Joyce Wilson

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