You know that feeling when you're in a store and you see something on sale? You normally might not buy it but given it's in your price range, why not? So you scoop it up. Then you get home. You wear it once or twice but then when it's never that piece that makes you feel fabulous. In fact, after a while you catch a glimpse of it in your closet and realize you wish you never bought it. But you don't get rid of it because mayyyybe one day you'll put it to good use.
This is what happens when the glimmer of a good deal turns into unwanted accumulation.
Now don't get me wrong. I like a good deal just as much as the next girl. But I'm really not here to talk clothes, am I?
Our infatuation with free
I began tracking down freebies when I started my business. I signed up for every newsletter, downloaded dozens of worksheets, and listened in to a hoard of podcasts about running a business like a boss. It seemed too good to be true - I could literally pay for nothing and still get valuable advice on the how to's I needed to know.
Unfortunately this information consumption led me to an anxiety-ridden place. I had so many of them but honestly most ended up stored away in a folder on my computer unopened. I became addicted to the download, feeling like I could never get enough. I was accessing information but not implementing it. I felt bad about myself for not taking advantage of all that was at my fingertips, forgetting about all the time and energy it was taking away from moving my business forward.
The first question I kept coming back to was, "How do I put this all together in a way that makes sense specifically for me?" That was followed up with:
"How much faster could I be accomplishing my goals if I worked with someone who could guide me along the way?"
Why pay someone to coach you?
There are a lot of free resources available to you on planning your career. Just google "how to write a cover letter" or "what's the best way to network" and you'll turn up thousands upon thousands of webpages. You can retrieve rich content - ebooks, workbooks, webinars - online just by sharing your email address.
You might be even thinking, "Why would I need a career coach when I can do it myself"?
While you can find a lot of good career advice out there for no to low-cost, this information tends to manufactured for the masses. And I know that 99% of the time you're not going to be able to make that information actionable unless you're working with someone through it.
You see, so much of career development is understanding what you are communicating to others and how they are perceiving you. This is the crux of a personal brand and critical to improving your application and interview skills.
What I find with many young professionals is that while they're really clear about what they don't want to be doing, it's much harder to narrow in on what they want to be doing. This is why many professionals don't find their career footing until at least their mid-30s.
Pinpointing the Value
Ultimately I invested a heavy chunk of change into a business coach. I was tired of looking for solutions on my own. I didn't want to spend any more time learning; I wanted to focus on creating. I found someone who could guide me step-by-step toward MY specific goals. All I had to agree to was show up and do the work.
For me the value wasn't about the money anymore. It was about getting to my dreams faster.
What about you? Are you willing to spend your twenties figuring out what makes you happy? Or do you want to uncover a better way to prepare yourself for your ideal job and land it now?
It's not cheap to work with a coach. But it's so worth it. And when comparing the values of free vs. successful, I'm going with the latter.
Tell me, what's an investment you've made that seemed ridiculous at the time but turned out to be the absolute right thing to do?