As a financial planner, I spend a lot of time helping people think about and design their future. One major assumption that we use in financial plans is that your assets - whether they are stock or real estate, bonds or business - appreciate over time.

To appreciate means to ‘recognize the full worth of’. While this concept is used a great deal in finance, it isn’t limited to that playing field. We want (and need) to recognize the full worth of our ideas, our relationships, and our businesses. We desire appreciation in all aspects of our lives.

As a business owner, the aspects of my business that I invest in are the ones that grow. This is an obvious correlation - and in this case, causation does equal correlation - yet, many of us stand back from making an investment. Why?

If we take this money and invest it in that business or real estate venture or account, then the decision is made. We cannot deploy it anywhere else.  We’ve made our bets, and we must stick to them.  That is often the kicker - we often do not believe that there is more. We may lose and we are afraid we will never regain what was lost. We often live in a place of scarcity. This particular dollar or moment in time will not return to us.  Then... the sky will fall. We become frozen by fear.

Scarcity mindsets are incredibly common, and they absolutely hold us back.  If you don’t think you can create more, you will become miserly.  You will hold it close. You will be fearful. You will not take action.  Because of this, the various aspects of your life will not appreciate. You will lose, just as you feared.

It takes a great deal of courage to take a risk.  To know that yes, sometimes you will lose.  To place hope and trust in the idea that you will win more often than you lose. To put that money or that time or that emotion on the line. To be vulnerable.

I often repeat this thought process to those who are considering an investment risk:

When you are considering taking an action that may create a loss, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is the absolute worst that can happen? Imagine it vividly.
  • Then ask yourself: Can I handle it?
  • Finally, ask yourself: Will I regret not doing it?

If you can imagine the worst, know you can handle it, you’ve already been through the worst. Move forward. Move out of scarcity into abundance. Start to appreciate.

Where can you invest further in your life? Where do you wish to see growth and improvement?

This month, we’d love you to ask yourself:

  • How do I appreciate my customers? What about my staff?
  • Am I investing in my business, or hoping that it will just grow on its own?
  • How do I appreciate my family, and my friends?
  • Am I investing in my own personal growth? Am I taking time to appreciate my body, and give it what it needs to thrive?

Now: what else can you do?

We’re not asking you to put more on your plate than you can handle. Instead, focus on what is really important to you, and put energy into growing there. Invest in you. Invest in your life, your business, your customers, your team, and your relationships.

What you appreciate, appreciates.