Becoming a strong independent person requires more than having a roof over your head, a job to pay the bills and friends to keep you busy. Strength develops over time with purpose and intention. It requires an ongoing evaluation of what you’ve learned so far, what you want to do with that know-how and what changes are needed to accomplish your dreams.
In My Financial Wellness Guide – Part I, I shared specific personal records that need to be organized and stored, as you build your financial journey. Think of it as compiling a documented history of your life. This is vitally important because your story impacts future interactions with a wide range of business professionals (bankers, realtors, tax filers, potential employers, etc) and personal relationships (roommates, partners, relatives, friends, etc). As the curator of your life, you need to know your story better than anyone else.
One of the files I recommend you compile and continue to add to over time are your education records. In the beginning this may seem unnecessary, but with time it can be a useful tool for tracking personal development. Learning happens through many venues, so it is important to capture these experiences in one place. Life happens and with so many distractions it’s easy to forget the things we’ve done along the way.
Start with a chronological listing of Preschool, Elementary and High School. Be sure to include names, addresses and years attended. Include any experiences that come to mind, such as trips, presentations, artwork or anything else that was significant in discovering what you like. Not just awards you received or certificates, but those things that really resonated with you. Add college, online courses, programs or graduate school records, as well.
Keep adding records of other learning experiences you have done. This could include research, workshops, writing, hands-on activities or on the job training. You might even keep outlines, notes from a presentation or handouts from a lecture. Over the years these may come in handy for future reference or research. Not unlike photographs, these are snapshots of your learning process, an accumulation of pieces of information and knowledge. Sometimes it can be the unique skill that is needed, along with your training, for a competitive role.
Learning and challenging the mind is part of a lifelong journey. It improves resilience in navigating new environments, adapting to constant change and being able to seize opportunities as they arise. Keep taking classes, researching and reading new subjects. Take a few woodworking classes, knitting or culinary workshop. Stretch, test small and reflect on each new experience. Curate a full and healthy life that contributes to your financial wellness.
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