The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make

Richard Shrapnel's 'The Best Investment You’ll Ever Make'.

As a business leader, your energies are continually focused on your business and seeking to direct, align, motivate and inspire all the people participating within it. Your constant attention is on everyone else and there is typically little ‘me’ time permitted. But this could be the greatest weakness in your leadership and detrimental to your individual growth and success.


Active Knowledge Question:

As a business leader, how you are investing in your individual growth so you can continue to lead your business forward successfully?


Success Is Not About Self-Interest

Let me start by making this very clear – great leaders are not made through self-interest. Self-interest is, in fact, the antithesis of personal success.

Possibly the greatest investment you can make for your business, and personally, is investing in yourself. Essentially, if you are not growing at a rate equal to or greater than your business, you will quickly become the ceiling to its success.

You must grow yourself so you can, in turn, grow other leaders within it and the business itself. Now, let me clarify, seeking to grow as an individual is not about promotions, more authority, more money or anything like that. Growing yourself is about extending your capacity, capability and, possibly most importantly, your character.

You actually want to lift the worthiness of your leadership. Thereby, investing in and leveraging the physics of leadership to take the success of your business to levels your competitors could only dream of.


Readers And Learners Are Achievers

Great leaders are readers and learners. They are people who are always seeking to lead their businesses to greater heights. They are continually feeding their own and their business’s creativity and passion. ‘Better every day’ is their personal and business mantra as they continually search for and absorb new ideas and knowledge that will lift their personal and their business’s competitive fitness.

To a great business leader, change is not a challenge. It is constant and central to who they and their businesses are. In their industry and for their customers, they are the catalysts of change always, day after day, lifting customer value to a new level. Personally, it is always a question of where to now? What is the next step in my growth?

Great leaders are achievers. They constantly look inward and ask whether they are worthy and how they can improve themselves first. They assess and focus on their own performance, and, only then, do they turn their attention to their business to direct, align, motivate and inspire those within it.


Investing Personally

What does investing in yourself look like? As noted above, it is not about self-interest but about your capacity, capability and character, so you may invest in others.

There are three parts to this question’s answer. They are:

  • Establishing a view of success that empowers you.
  • Understanding who you need to be to achieve your greatest potential.
  • Recognising that personal growth is holistic and in no other way limited to any one aspect of your life.

The True Meaning Of Success

Many people are trapped in the stereotyped view of what success means. That typically revolves around wealth, position and power and what these aspects allow you to ‘buy’. This is a game you can never win, as it will never allow your full and true potential as an individual to rise to the surface. The starting point to investing in yourself is to examine your view of success and the subconscious image of success that you carry. This world view can place a ceiling on the level of success you can achieve in your life.

Success should be the fuel of your life. It should energise and enliven you. It is an enabler. It’s renewable and comes from within. It does not come from external affirmation. Establish an empowering view of success and that cornerstone will endure and support you throughout your life – a life of enduring success.

Understanding The Who

In life and in business, we often start with understanding how to do something and then may progress to why it is important to do it that way and then stop. That’s where most people get to, at best. But that is one stop short of actually knowing the most important lesson and that is who you need to be.

If you truly want to be successful, to achieve your greatest potential, in any aspect of your life then you must quickly transition from the how, to the why, to the who.

The who is the most important. While it may take you years to master the how and appreciate the why, if you don’t address the who then you will never reach your full potential – no matter how long or hard you try. It all starts with the who.

I honestly believe that there is a universal consensus on what makes for a successful person and I do not think it has changed for thousands of years. It is about your character and, therefore, your attitude towards life. Understand the three stages of mastery and success – how, why and who – and your path to unleashing your full potential will be rapid.

Embracing A Holistic Approach

Success and reaching your fullest potential does not lie in focusing on only one aspect of your life, for example, wealth accumulation. Again, there are frequent messages that misdirect much of our efforts to be successful, for example, the more hours you work, the more successful you will be.

I believe what is required is a holistic approach that brings the ‘whole package’ of your capability to the forefront. They are all interdependent where one without the other weakens your capability. Here is an example of what I believe can make up an individual’s whole:

  • Health and strength – the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
  • Relationships – with yourself, family, friends, partners, colleagues, and teammates.
  • Financial – your short-term and longer-term capacity to meet your needs.
  • Needs – feeling fulfilled and content.
  • Play – keeping your imagination and creativity active and alive.

The satisfaction levels of these factors will always vary based on the ups and downs you are facing in life. But you cannot allow any one of them to become too out of balance otherwise the others will also begin to collapse as well.

There is a whole range of activities that you can incorporate into your life to nurture and build each and every one of these areas.

However, as business leaders, we tend to be so overwhelmed with the needs of our business that we prioritise our time in the office or factory before all the other aspects of our life. Often considering them to be secondary. This is a critical mistake.


In Your Business

Get the above balance right and you can then become a leader that activates other leaders and your business as a whole.

Such leaders create and sustain a purpose, vision and culture in their business that nourishes and feeds an infectious energy throughout it. In turn, motivating everyone who works with and for the business.

They know the core of this strength lies in worthy leadership and the connection they build with all who work within the business. They are ruthless in ensuring that only worthy leaders are empowered in their business.

Their business motive is not profit or capital value. These are merely some of the rewards that are delivered by a focus on and understanding that their business exists for a purpose. That purpose is to meet a need. A customer need, a need within a community, a community they are part of, and a community to whom they deliver greater customer value than anyone else can.


A leader who invests in themselves, as a person, is one who is investing in the future of their business. It is one of the most important investments they can make for themselves and their business.


An entirely new level of performance.

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All the best in the success of your business,

Richard Shrapnel