This is one half of a two part series.  Part two comes up tomorrow.

I’m writing this 2-part series about investing in yourself because of an event that transpired this weekend at Chris Guillebeau’s 2nd-annual World Domination Summit.  This event is about entrepreneurship, and at the end of the final day, an anonymous donor gave Chris $100,000 — that’s one hundred dollars per attendee — to go out and invest in themselves, in the world.  He/she thought the bet was worth making.  I’m still speechless about the whole thing and not sure what I’ll do with my $100  (such responsibility!), I definitely wanted to talk about investing in yourself.


While I am a big proponent of investing in yourself, I have to be honest and say I’m often more talk than action.  I wouldn’t go as far to say as I try to be a martyr – I love my job but not like that – but it’s more that I feel some sort of BS obligation to the world to do something nice for someone else before doing the same for myself.

You have to make sure you are taken care of before you take care of others.

I hear this line of thought in many contexts…

  • In relationships:  you have to love yourself before you love someone else.
  • In business finances: in order to give back to the world and to reinvest in your business, you have to have more than enough.
  • In our lives in general:  you need a running start, an outstreched hand to get yourself to that next level

But many of us, myself included, seem to think that investing in ourselves is a noble pursuit we are not worthy of, although we don’t mind spending $100 on impulse purchases and things that distract us from the important-but-difficult stuff.

“Treating” Yourself is not the same as Investing In Yourself

Beer and pizza on Friday is a great way to treat yourself.  It’s nourishing (perhaps more mentally than physically in this case).  It makes the pursuit and the game worthwhile.   But that isn’t the same as the investment – something that keeps giving back to you over and over again.

One area I’m very guilty about is technology.  Yes, despite running what is, for most intents a technology business.  My laptop is almost 8 years old.  It’s very cumbersome, keys are taped on, it takes about 5 minutes to boot up/down, battery dead… you get the idea.  And this is a problem, considering I spend hours and hours per day on my laptop.  Literally, my livelihood depends on it.

A couple of months ago, I finally decided to do something about it.  It took awhile to decide what and how – since I’m a PC person, the choice is not obvious.  I settled on the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook, and I’m really excited to share that I’m writing this post live from my new XPS.

XPS Laptop

Yay! My new XPS Laptop - which got a lot of positive (jealous?) comments from WDS attendees.

In the interest of transparency, during my search, Dell approached me about outreach work for the new Ultrabook and I happily agreed to help – especially since I often get asked about laptops and gear to use while traveling.  But to be clear, I had already decided this was the laptop for me, which makes working together a lot easier.

Now, I didn’t just get a new laptop.  It’s a totally new set of opportunities that I can take advantage of.

  • I now have a full-functioning laptop I can take to sales appointments and make more sales.
  • I can more easily work from cafes and restaurants in town, instead of stuck in my house.
  • My wrists won’t hurt from using an un-ergonomic piece of plastic that runs too hot (not kidding).
  • I can open up my laptop when I have a spare few minutes here and there to get work done.  I’m not having to wait for reboots, boot-ups, etc.

I’ll write more about the XPS later, when I’ve had a chance to get settled.  My message isn’t that you should go out and buy a Dell laptop. Sure, it is a gorgeous piece of engineering.  But maybe you don’t need a laptop.  Maybe you do.

The point is that you should be looking for ways to invest in yourself that will continue to return value to you over and over again.  Technology is a great way to do that.

Photo Credit: Jodi Womack.