Years ago I worked as a mechanic. It was a place called Tires Plus.
The shop was in a town called Flourtown outside of Philadelphia. It was a cool job. I liked the guys I worked with. I would do standard tech work, like change oil and change tires. (we called it slinging hoops)
I worked with a man named Bernard. He always used to call me Young Bull. He was a good man. Bernard always had the best demeanor and was always smiling. I liked listening to him.
One day we were eating lunch and he was telling me about all the jobs he had and how he is in school to be a truck driver and how he has worked so much to take care of his family. During that lunch break, he said something to me that hit me and I will never forget. He said…
Listen here young bull. You will never make anything of yourself unless you are willing to invest your time.
I’ve always been willing to work, even as a young man. But it was the word “invest” that really stuck out to me. I always used to think of it as “spending” my time at work or spending my money or whatever. But after that, I learned the difference.
To me, an investment has a potential return.
I don’t know why I thought of Bernard this weekend, but it really got me thinking.
Are You Spending Your Money or are You Investing It?
I don’t care much about stuff.
I spent some money on a nice car but aside from that, I’ve never been interested in material possessions. I don’t spend a lot of money, but I do invest a lot of money.
Investing includes the stock market, but it also includes business, relationships, health.
I spend money on good food because I am investing in my body and my mental fortitude in the future. I invest money in my businesses. Anytime there is a surplus, we are always investing in new marketing, new resources and new ways to grow.
I invest my money in travel because the greatest memories of my life always include friends and family and new adventures.
You can not be afraid of money. I had to learn the hard way that stashing money under the mattress is not a good way to become wealthy. You need to use your money to make more money. Yes, have a savings account. Obviously, that is important. But what I am saying is that you need to be proactive is investing your money in ways that will make your life easier in the future.
If you fail to do this, you will always be sacrificing time for money and time is way more valuable than money. The goal is to make money while you are sleeping.
Invest in Yourself
Never ever stop growing. Period.
No matter what, there is always something else to learn or some way to improve. This always reminds me of a quote I heard by Tupac Shakur.
If you’re not growing, you’re dying.
It’s so simple but so obvious. Everything grows until it dies. If we stop growing our minds, our bodies, our spirits, and our relationships then essentially we start moving backward.
You always need to be finding new ways to challenge yourself. It makes me very worried when people get comfortable in what it is that they are doing. We find what works for us and then we stick to it, but the truth is that nothing ever stays the same.
A few years ago, I had a meeting with a potential client. This person had a pretty successful business and she was looking for new ways to grow. She didn’t want to spend money and she didn’t want to change. I warned her that the internet was going to change things in her industry. Her exact words were “things are going well, I’m not worried about it.”
Over the last two years, an e-commerce store cut into her customer base and other competitors have been actively using social media to bring in customers.
I’ve watched it happen and now this person is ready to make some changes.
If you see this happening for yourself, don’t be afraid to reach out to me. If I can help you with my coaching program then I will, if not I will point you to someone who can.
Your first priority should always be yourself.
Investing in Other People
I have a pretty small group of friends. We are very close. I am especially lucky to have these people in my life.
One of the reasons why we are so close is because we invest in each other. We know that these friendships are lifelong. We do more than spend time together, we actively invest in each other’s lives.
This could mean simple things, like remembering each others birthdays. It could also mean taking trips with each other or being there for each other when one of us in having a hard time.
But this doesn’t have to apply only to friendships. There are people all around me that I invest in. Everyone that works for me knows that at any time they can buy an online course or some kind of educational program and I will pay for it.
Sure, doing this helps me because it makes them better at their jobs, but to me, it’s bigger than that.
I want everyone to come into my operation and learn as much as they possibly can. I want to help arm people with the tools and the skills and the confidence necessary to make it in this cut-throat world that we will live. I feel very good about how far everyone has come.
The funny thing is, that investing in other people always has a return. I didn’t plan for this, but my company has the best culture with laughter and success and a winning mentality.
It’s the best.
You must be honest with yourself.
You have to be willing to look at yourself and give an honest assessment. Also, it may not be a bad idea to ask other people to evaluate you as well.
Go through different areas in your life and ask yourself if you are spending or investing.
Playing the long game is always better. People with short term thinking are spenders. People who intend to live long, prosperous lives are always the ones who invest in themselves and in others. My hope is that you can be patient enough to make the right choices that will yield you with long term results.
So, take out a piece of paper and get started. Don’t forget to leave a comment with what you found.