Why Investing In Your Mental Health Will Generate The GREATEST RETURNS You Can Ever Get

Until recently, I thought an investment in something other than a stock was a waste of money. Life is hard, you deal with it the best you can. At your job, you are mainly dealing with humans, and humans act on emotions. I spend most of my day interacting with other people, not crunching numbers. During a typical interaction with a colleague someone may say something off-putting and I wonder, “why did she say that?” Mary is always re-editing documents multiple times after she said the work was good. On the surface, your initial thoughts may be superficial…” perhaps she’s just tired,” or “she’s just neurotic.” Those observations are likely accurate, but there is also probably a much deeper meaning. She could be free-associating her behavior with activities or events in her life (perhaps at work or elsewhere).

I have interactions like this on almost a daily basis.  I started seeing a psychiatrist because I felt a lot of anxiety when speaking publicly at work. A common fear, right. Learn to cope etc. However, after nearly a year of analysis, my doctor has helped me look introspectively at the underlying causes of my anxiety (many are due to personal events growing up). And often, this bleeds into other aspects of my professional and personal life. There is a stigma around seeing a psychiatrist. However, I feel the stigma around it is indeed decreasing (Afterall, I am writing a blog post about it). In fact, Harvard Business Review listed emotional intelligence as one of the most sought-after Leadership Skills.

Highly Successful Individuals Seek Therapy

According to my doctor, many of the people he has treated are already highly successful individuals. He even told me he treated a CEO of a prominent investment bank (still wondering who that might have been), successful lawyers, executives, and business people. To think going to therapy is taboo, or that “only crazy people go to therapy” is simply wrong. Therapy is for people who seek to grow, learn, and understand.

True Leaders Learn To Understand Individuals

I have nearly 10 years of professional experience, and the one thing I noticed that separates good workers from true leaders is how they deal with people. Yes, there are plenty of books on this topic, but how can you learn to understand other people before you learn to understand yourself. Going to analysis has allowed me to begin to look introspectively at myself both professionally and personally.

My Personal Experience

Over the past 10 years, I have had nearly 7 different jobs. Now, I have never been fired or considered an underperformer. In fact, I have been promoted within roles. However, I always used the justification of “I’m going to make more money” as the reason for moving. It is a valid reason and not to be overlooked. However, it’s not the only reason. I was seeking validation in another form. I feel I have made some mistakes throughout my life and never quite lived up to my potential. For some reason, my feeling of inadequacy has manifested itself through affirmation via job offers. Sounds odd, right?

Also, I noticed I was constantly seeking “positive affirmation” in my daily work. If I did something good, I would expect constant praise, which I did not get—again, relating this to personal experiences growing up. These 2 examples seem like everyday things to want: a salary increase and praise for quality work. However, as mentioned above, it often goes much deeper than that and most of us are barely cracking the surface.

Continued Success Requires Us to Constantly Grow

For continued success in your personal and professional life, you need to continue to grow. Emotionally maturing, growing, and understanding yourself is difficult to quantify. As you progress within the corporate world, what will distinguish good workers from leaders is that “X” factor. The ability to understand people, to have empathy, to manage people. At a certain point, everyone is most likely going to produce great work, but how do you create extraordinary results when you’re not performing the execution?  So, how can you lead others when you cannot look introspectively at yourself first. Seems quite difficult on a large scale.

Going To Therapy can seem like an expensive Initial Investment

Yes, going to therapy can be pricey, depending on your insurance and whether you see a psychiatrist or licensed therapist— (psychiatrists are MDs, therapists are usually not and usually are “in-network.” Most psychiatrists are “out-of-network.” I’m fortunate to have great insurance through my wife’s employer. Find out what your insurance covers and see if your insurance has an “out-of-network” option for which you can submit statements for reimbursement for your psychiatry sessions.

Going to Therapy 2X a week averages out to about 48 bucks per session or $5,000 per year. Certainly not cheap, but this is a long-term investment. From a purely financial perspective, this type of personal development can undoubtedly lead to a promotion or promotion(s) at work, which will pay for itself over the long term.

Final Thoughts

Like any long-term investment, you will see slow, but steady returns over time. I would expect at least 6 months before you start to see any tangible returns – but, they will come if you put in the effort and are truly seeking to grow either professionally, personally, or both. I hope you find this post insightful.

How have you invested in yourself? Has it changed aspects of your life? Comment below and let me know.

Happy reading

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