6. Are you investing in yourself?

I’m a huge fan of science-fiction. It stretches my mind to make me think of the “what if?” questions. One question that sci-fi often poses is, what if you could go back in time and make one tiny change to your life? What effect would it have on the present? This is the premise of the Back to the Future trilogy: how an apparently small change in the past can have a dramatic impact on the present.


But wait – you can apply this principle to the real world. What if, instead of thinking about going back in time from now, you imagined a small change that you could make in your present to have a dramatic effect on your near future?



If you could go back in time and invest in ASML stock 30 years ago, wouldn’t you do it? Of course you would – your investment would pay you back multiple times.

However, without that certain knowledge of the future, investing in any company in the present has risks… but there is one risk-free investment you can make today. And that is: investing in yourself.

I’ve written before about the power of developing your skill stack. The idea is simple: every new skill you develop increases your business opportunities and hence your market value. If you want to earn more and have a more fulfilling career, develop new skills!

But which skills should you develop?

There are many skills you could develop, each with different returns on your investment. But a few have massive return on investment. Some of the best “soft skills” to invest in are:

business article writing
presentation skills

What effect would have on your career if you mastered these skills? Develop any of these and you become the “go to” person when your company needs a senior person for an exciting new challenge. Again, the return you get on your time and money investment is higher earnings, more fulfillment and loads more fun.

When I run my Powerful Presentations! training course, the fulfillment I get from seeing people develop their skills and confidence speaking in front of a group is overwhelming. And we (the whole group) has such a lot of fun on the day.

Just do it!
Expecting great career achievements without improving your skills is like trying to run a marathon without any training: it’s not possible.

So take another look at that short list of skills above. Which ones have you mastered? Which do you need to develop?

And then – here’s the difficult part – take the time to invest in yourself. Find a mentor. Read books. Watch videos. Tip: if you put something on your calendar, it will likely happen. So signing up for a course is often the best way to develop your skills.

Remember: the best investment you can make is in you.

For opportunities new, invest in YOU!

The next Powerful Presentations! course by Mark Robinson is on Friday 21 September 2018. See his website for details and to sign up.

Do you have a presentation question you would like Mark to answer? Send him an email: mark@markrobinsontraining.com. The best questions will be answered in this column.

Mark Robinson is a senior software engineer at TMC. In addition, he has his own business, Mark Robinson Training, via which he gives workshops, presentations and coaching to help people communicate more effectively to groups. With his engineering background, he is particularly suited to supporting the international, technology community of Eindhoven. He has spoken at TEDxEindhoven in 2016 and is now a TEDxEindhoven speaker coach.

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