The Courage to Invest in Yourself

Create Your Life

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(Click here for part 1)

Today, I want to focus on moving forward and I want to do something that is very very very edgy (read courageous) for me. I want to tell you a short story about something I did a few of weeks ago.

During my quiet time at the end of last year, I realized that I wanted more and more to be on stage. I have always loved seeing shows and each time, from when I was a child to today, I have wanted to be up there, in the limelight. The problem is that I can’t dance, or sing, or act…  So what the heck was I going to be on stage for? 

As I have given myself the time to explore over the last couple of years, something has started to reveal itself: public speaking (please make revelation sound effect as you re-read this).

It makes SO. MUCH. SENSE! I thrive when I’m in front of people – I’m in my zone of genius when I lead a workshop, and that’s why I was always an excellent teacher! Of course… except: being a public speaker is a whole different ball game. You have no notes, you have to connect with the audience in a certain way and you have to choose your words, ever so carefully. It’s a craft, and I am not well versed in it. 

Then… BOOM: The sign. On March 1st, while at lunch with my friend Susan, she told me about a class she was starting and that I could take that would allow me to develop a talk and by the end of it, have a professional speaking reel as well as intros to speaker bureaus and TEDx organizers. I was all in! It was exactly what I needed.

However, it came with a massive “BUT”. $$$$ Money, cash, dough. Ya know, the dirty word… That class costs quite a bunch of cash and frankly, right now, I don’t have that sum of money in my bank account. So I said no. I’m not going to do it, I can’t afford it. 

I needed to take control of my fear of debt. I can’t get rid of it or suppress it, but I can choose how I deal with it.

You see, I’m someone who has never had debt. Not once in my whole life. I’ve paid for my education through work (was lucky to go to university in France for my Bachelors Degree, and it’s free). I’ve never bought anything on credit or owed friends money. I started having jobs when I was 8, working for my dad and then for a bakery every summer and since I turned 18, I’ve been financially independent and never relied on anyone but myself. And I am extremely proud of this.

How annoying though that ever since I heard about that class, I could not stop thinking about how much I wanted to take it! And then, it dawned on me: how can I ask my clients to invest in me for their growth if I don’t invest in myself for my own? How can I ask my clients to change the way they have operated their whole life if I am not prepared to do so? 

It took an incredibly inspiring self/personal development experience in San Diego, to summon the courage to face the facts. If I was to become an excellent public speaker, if I wanted to grow, if I wanted to reach more people with my message and inspire more people to dream big and follow their vision, I had to lead by example. I knew that, in the words of Marshall Goldsmith: “What got you here won’t get you there”. 

I needed to take control of my fear of debt. I can’t get rid of it or suppress it, but I can choose how I deal with it.

So, I did it. I peed a little, put on my big girl (wet) pants and despite the fear, I paid for the class, on credit, with wet pants. And my stomach starting turning, I wanted to be sick and click “undo” but there wasn’t an undo button. “What did I just do?” I asked myself. 


Deep breath in… deep breath out. 

Deep breath in… deep breath out. 

I was starting to regain my composure. I called my friend Susan and told her I was in. And although deep down, at the core of me, there was inner peace and I felt certain that I had done the right thing – my brain was asking a million questions, feeding into the fear. 


Deep breath in… deep breath out. 

Deep breath in… deep breath out.

Now, please, I’m not telling you to invest in yourself and spend a ton of money you don’t have! I’m not telling you anything to be honest. Brené Brown says that “courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”. I guarantee you that it took me a whole bunch of courage to write this post, let alone publish it. I’ve been sitting on it for a few days.

I’m scared that people will judge me for sharing my fear of being in debt in a country where it’s most people’s reality. 

I’m scared that people will think that I’m just arrogant calling myself courageous. 

I’m scared that those who think I’m so strong will see me for who I am, a human who has fears, doubts, hopes and dreams.

I’m scared that people will think “I wish I had your problems”,

I’m scared that my clients will read this and think… I don’t even know what! But I’m scared. 

So here is where the title of this post is important: to create your life, you need to build confidence and to build confidence you need courage. This might look different for everyone. Remember in part 1, when I said that you must set clear boundaries for yourself around who’s got your back. That’s why. Because even though I’m scared, I know that those who judge me don’t matter. And those who matter will not judge me.

I chose to make the investment in myself and take the class because it would give me confidence but I showed courage first. I made a conscious decision to go against one of my oldest fears and ways to operate: I went into debt.

As I reflect on how I managed to make the decision, a few points have come up that might help you make the decision to invest in yourself:

  • The key for me was to ensure that I’m not attached to the outcome. One of the things I asked myself was “What if you do this, and realize that you don’t want to do public speaking?” Well… you know what? So be it. It’s better than being in doubt.
  • I choose the perspective that any money invested in my education is money well spent. I know that I will learn incredibly valuable skills that I can transfer to other areas of my work and life. 
  • I linked this decision to my bigger picture and vision of creating community through coaching, workshops and speaking and I trust that through it, I will be getting closer to the answers I seek: “How do I want to feel and who do I want to be?” 
  • This investment is much more than just money. It is my time and energy and the courage to say, ok, I will block one full day of work each week for 6 weeks to develop myself. I had to check in deeply and make sure I was ok with that. What are the compromises you will have to make when you choose to invest your time or energy or money in yourself?
  • The first commitment was a commitment to change and that’s the scariest! You have no idea what the change will bring! Ugh. Can you reframe that as an adventure? It’s exciting to go on a quest and see what happens! 

Here is the thing: when you decide to choose your life, you cannot escape being uncomfortable, facing hard truths, harsh realities and making compromises that will take you to the next level. If you want to grow, there’s no other way than courage. It is the way to both self-realization and self-actualization. So there you have it. 

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