As I think it is natural for us to do near the end of a year, I have been doing some reflection. While ups and downs are often the norm, it seems to have been quite the year for many of us. All I have to do is check out the IAATJ Discord winning channel to be reminded. One thing that I find in common with successful people both inside and outside their careers is that they invest in themselves and those around them. What does it mean to invest in yourself? Well, that’s the beautiful part, it can take on many different meanings.
First, I think you need to understand something. You need to understand that you ARE worth the investment. Imposter syndrome is alive and well in our lives, often on a daily basis. Imposter syndrome is that nagging feeling that we inflict on ourselves that tells us that we are not good enough to be where we are, doing what we are doing, and that we do not belong. In small doses, imposter syndrome probably is not a terrible thing. It can cause us to want to continue to better ourselves, because let’s face it, we’re never going to know everything. We cannot, however, let imposter syndrome consume our lives. We need to understand that there is a reason we are in the positions we are currently. For instance, let’s say you are in a new role and feel like you are not skilled enough to be in that role. Well, there is a reason you made it into that role. Someone or a group of people saw something in you to give you that chance. Or let’s say you are making a change in your life and trying something new. Well done for taking that step! You are good enough to be you and share your contributions. Take a chance, bet on yourself. I think you will be surprised what you can accomplish and where your journey can take you.
To me, investing in yourself is a making a conscious effort to continue to better something about your life. I am not just talking about your career either. This is by no means a plea for you to go out and get as many certifications as you can. That is a completely different conversation, I’ll just say that certifications are great and all, but there are other ways to gain experience and confidence in your skills. I am taking a holistic approach here. There are many different facets to our lives and I find that trying to maintain some sort of balance is key. Investing in yourself can take many different forms, and this is by no means an exhaustive list.
- Mental Health
- Many of us have probably heard a phrase similar to “you cannot fill up the cup of others if your cup is empty”. My translation is that it is very difficult to take care of others and responsibilities without first making sure that you are taking care of yourself. I am by no means even a novice when it comes to mental health, but I will say that you should keep yourself honest. Understand when something does not feel right or when you need a break. And when that happens, seek the assistance of others. You do not need to fight battles on your own or suffer in silence. Remember, you are good enough. You are worth it.
- Physical Health
- This is an opinion article, so I have no peer reviewed facts, but I feel that physical health can tie directly into mental health. Exercise has been an important part of my life, especially recently. Let me caveat exercise really quick. Anyone who has seen me can probably tell very quickly that I do not do a lot of strength training. However, I make a conscious effort to get my heart rate up and move around most days for a sustained period of time (usually around 25 minutes). Second caveat, much like my lack of mental health expertise, I do not claim to know what I am talking about when it comes to physical health either. But, I do know what seems to work for me, and physical exercise is definitely a piece of that puzzle.
- Support System
- I mentioned seeking assistance in the mental health section above. Some of us are lucky enough to have people (and I count furry friends here as well) that care deeply about us. It is easy to take things for granted, especially our support system of awesome people. I feel we should invest in our support systems as well. I am not saying you need to continuously buy people lots of cool gifts either. Investing in your support system can be as simple as reaching out. I am a big fan of the check-in. I like to reach out to people over time just to say “hi” and see how they are doing. I know how awesome it feels when people do the same for me, and this is how I invest in my support system.
- I think I may have left this one last in the list on purpose (again, not an exhaustive list). I wanted to convey how important I think the other items in the list above are to me. That being stated, I am also very passionate about my career and continual growth within it. Investing in yourself from a career standpoint in IT can mean many different things and a combination of many different things. First, I think it is important to understand what you want out of your career, and it is definitely fine if that changes over time. In fact, I would expect it to change over time. Once you have at least a high level idea of what you want your career to look like, it is time to invest. I mentioned certifications earlier and that is definitely a good method, but not the only one. Other options to invest in your career can be to lab things up to improve knowledge, volunteer to jump into something new and even lead new initiatives, and ask questions. Asking questions and showing that you are curious is a great way to invest in yourself.
This post has all been a bit of a lengthy way for me to state and reiterate that you are good enough. You are good enough to be invested in, starting with yourself. Understand that you are worthy enough to take a chance on yourself, your development, and your happiness. The examples of success are plentiful. Take the AONE team for example. There has been a lot of growth in the co-hosts since the show has started, largely in part to self-investment. Do I even need to mention the rockets? Seriously though, you are good enough, and I cannot wait to see you grow in life. Happy holidays, happy new year, and happy reflecting, from the AONE team.