One year ago Kathy Caprino, a Career Coach for women, wrote an article titled The Top Five Reasons Women Resist Investing in Themselves and How it Hurts Them . From her seat, Caprino sees women pass up on opportunities for professional growth in ways that men do not. She stated that women are less confident than men about investing in their own growth for the following reasons (among others):
I've struggled with all of these myself! When I've evaluated past personal or professional growth opportunities, I have often found myself looking first at the price tag attached to the experience. I ponder questions like:
Unfortunately, by evaluating the price of the experience or program before the expected value or outcome, I've let what were probably wonderful opportunities for growth slip through my fingers because they were "too expensive." Other times, I've opted to spend a "more reasonable" amount of money on an experience that was not worth the little bit of money I paid.
I get it. Sometimes you read a description for an event or a service and you have no idea what you are going to walk away with. I've been there, many times. I have struggled with not having a specific event description, not having a detailed agenda, and not having a checklist of what I can expect to accomplish or experience with a particular event or service.
This came up for me recently when I was trying to decide whether or not to attend a Self-Compassion program. The overall cost of the program (including travel costs) were much more than I thought I "should" be spending, AND the event was for a full week, which flared up my mommy guilt. There was no detailed program description, no expected outcomes, no agenda. I even reached out to the coordinator requesting more information but did not receive it. This created a lot of anxiousness for me and initially led to indecision about whether or not I should attend.
Ultimately, I felt pulled to be there and I signed up, but only after much consternation and deliberation! Other than the price, I reflected on how this program might help me with my personal and professional growth and how it could contribute to the development of new skills. Although I did feel nervous about the possibility of attending this event (because even though I didn't know exactly what was going to happen while I was there, I knew enough about the topic - and myself - to know that it would stretch my comfort zone. In big ways.).
Even in the space of this nervousness, I was feeling excited about the possibility of attending, about how wonderful it could be. I knew in my heart and in my gut that I would regret it if I let the opportunity pass me by.
Ladies, we need to invest in ourselves. Without guilt. We are all worth it. We deserve to grow and stretch and try new things. We deserve to take a day off. For ourselves. We deserve (and I would argue, we NEED) to nourish our own soul. When evaluating personal or professional growth opportunities, this requires us to tune into our own heart and to listen to our intuition. Although I don't agree with everything Caprino wrote in her article, I do agree that we are the best judge of what's best for us. We know, at a deeper soul level, what we need and what will help us move one more step forward on our journey.
We can never know for sure if an experience will be worth it before we participate in the experience. However, unless we take the risk and make the investment, we'll never know.
How might your beliefs or fears be holding you back from getting what you need for personal or professional growth?
What opportunity might you regret if you don't do it?