Three Great Ways to Invest in Yourself

You’re a thoughtful person, and you like to take care of your family, friends and colleagues. But maybe it’s time you gave a series of special gifts to the most important person in your life—you.

This is not a selfish move. By investing in the following three gifts, you’ll bolster your image, strengthen how you come across to people, and more accurately be rewarded for the value you can offer the world.

The combination of these three investments will help you become even more effective at serving the people you care about and the causes you support.

Hire a vocal coach. No, this type of expert will not make you sound like an overly zany game show host. A vocal coach will instead help bring out your own natural sound, which is likely more dynamic than you realize.

“Our voices are the projection of our personhood, and an open and free flowing voice sounds engaging and trustworthy,” says Jon Gilbertson, a vocal coach based in Washington, D.C. His clients have included radio station DJs, spokespersons for federal agencies, and U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry Black.

Gilbertson says most people don’t realize that they only use a small percentage of the vocal talent they’ve been given, or they think they’re stuck with the voice they typically use.

“People will relate to you differently when you have a commanding, beautiful sound,” Gilbertson says. “It attracts attention without being overbearing or aggressive.”

His approach is to teach clients to free up tensions that inhibit the fullness of their voice. The result is a delivery with less tension and strain on their vocal chords. “It’s naturally going to be their sound and their personality, but in a more free capacity, which is actually more engaging for people to listen to,” Gilbertson says.

Vocal coaches typically offer a client a lesson each week with a request to practice techniques for 15 to 30 minutes every day in between.

Even with just four to six lessons, a vocal coach can help you sound like the most confident, best-sounding version of yourself more often. You’ll then have those skills the rest of your life, and you’ll make a stronger impression during presentations, over the phone, or while chatting with colleagues.

Hire an interview coach. With multiple people applying for the same job, are you confident you’re ahead of other candidates by knowing the industry’s best practices for interviewing?

If you want the job, have an interview coach thoroughly prepare you so you’ll leave nothing out. You need to be an expert at communicating why the hiring manager should offer you the position.

“Most people can do a good job at work, but there’s a difference between doing a good job and knowing how to communicate the value you can and have created,” says Andrew Pearl, an Orlando-based interview coach and owner of Precision Resumes, Inc. His clients in numerous countries have included C-level executives at Fortune 100 companies, personalities behind iconic marketing campaigns, and an NFL coach.

“A good interview coach helps someone better define and communicate their unique value proposition,” Pearl says. “Plus, an effective interview coach helps people interview with less anxiety and more confidence.”

Too often, people think they know how to interview until an expert starts asking them questions. Also, it can be a challenge to market yourself as a product or commodity.

A coach might offer you three one-hour sessions with a request to practice every day in between.

Pearl says he’s encountered executives who are squeamish about mock interviews or practicing. But those same people, he notes, would willingly submit themselves to a golf pro who would insist on videoing their swing or require them to practice.

When you go through the work with an interview coach as your guide, you might discover you’re ready to apply for your next dream job sooner than you thought. And the added bonus of investing in professional coaching is that you’ll find yourself using your increased savvy in all types of business and social situations. When you better represent brand you, more opportunities might be sent your way.

Hire an image consultant. This type of professional assists with a wardrobe and style that’s in line with your best self, and it goes beyond just the clothes in your closet.

“Your image tells the world how you see yourself, how to receive you, and ultimately how to reward you,” says Lauren Solomon, a Los Angeles area-based image consultant. Solomon previously served as president of the Association of Image Consultants International and in 1995 became Chase Manhattan Bank’s first vice president of image development.

An image consultant starts by getting to know you well. Then he or she will examine your wardrobe to both edit and add pieces that best fit you in every possible situation. You might meet for several consultations and have a few shopping trips or fitting sessions.

Some people think the investment isn’t worth it and claim they’ll do just fine getting free advice from a personal shopper at a store, a friend of a friend, or from a book.

“To all of those things, I say you get what you pay for,” Solomon says. “If you think you can’t afford an image consultant, I can assure you that you can’t afford not to.”

The benefits can be huge. Solomon has countless stories from over the years of people’s lives changed after working with an image professional. One woman was passed up for a work promotion many times. She later hired Solomon as her image consultant, and within two months everything changed for her. Today she’s the organization’s CEO.

“She was aligned for bigger things, but on the exterior no one could see it,” Solomon recalls. “Suddenly she showed up in alignment with who she really was.”

Solomon says it’s the responsibility of each person to create and support a successful brand, both for the organization and for themselves.

Her appeal to hire an image consultant could also support similar pleas to hire an interview expert, vocal coach or any other self-development professional: “Ultimately, investing in yourself will change how you attract opportunities,” Solomon says. “It will attract more of what you desire and deserve.”

May the best of rewards be yours for investing in the great person you are.

—Ansel Oliver is a manager for client special projects at SnappConner PR.