by Jake Thompson

Four Reasons to Bet On Yourself

The best investment you'll ever make is in yourself. Taking steps t...
Four Reasons to Bet On Yourself

The best investment you'll ever make is in yourself.

In both sports and business, a common thread that ties the most successful together is that they bet on themselves

Just like a skilled athlete pushing their limits to reach the next level, in the corporate arena, daring to invest in your abilities and ideas can lead to unmatched success. 

Taking steps to bet on and invest in yourself will always deliver the highest ROI for you. It'll force you to grow, overcome fears, and develop into what your true potential is. It'll improve your friend groups, your finances, and your future.

Just because you may not have a burning desire to create a startup that rockets to the moon or changes an industry doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the steps to bet on yourself.

Here are four reasons why betting on yourself this year in your career can position you best long-term.


1. You Reframe Risk Instead of Run From It:

In sports, risk-taking is inherent. You risk losing each time you step onto the playing field. It requires courage and extending beyond your comfort zone to put yourself out there in a position to potentially lose. The way you reduce the fear and anxiety is with relentless preparation. You don’t fear the potential of losing, you work hard to position yourself to overcome it. 

Similarly in your career, preparing your skillset and taking calculated risks can propel you forward. It may be taking a role as team-lead on a big project for the first time, seeking a promotion, or even starting your own side-hustle. You have high expectations of succeeding, but like in sports, it’s not 100% guaranteed.

Oklahoma State professor and organizational psychology researcher Robert Baron has led numerous studies showing how calculated risk-taking can advance one’s career and increase the likelihood of solving problems.

Putting yourself in a position to take a risk is scary, but this choice of betting on yourself to deliver the goal requires embracing uncertainty in order to win - and helps you develop by doing so.


You Become More Capable of Reaching Your Full Potential: 

The act of ‘competing’ is to “strive to gain or win something.” As mentioned before, you aren’t guaranteed to win every time you compete, thus, it is why we compete. What we do control however is the choice to strive toward something better.

Great athletes invest time year-round in order to maximize their potential by pushing themselves in training, working with mental performance coaches on their mindset, and studying film work. 

Their intent is to elevate their own performance to new levels, not yet reached. They are betting (on themselves) that with the right physical and mental training, they can improve their performance to a championship level.

Most of us aren’t taught impactful career skills within our organizations. Take leadership for instance. It’s estimated that less than ⅓ of organizations have a clear learning & development program for their employees.

That means if you want to develop leadership or career skills, it’s on you to identify the skills and invest the work to learn them - because you won’t be simply taught them. 

Many individuals take one of two approaches when it comes to career development:

  1. They won’t develop the skills unless someone is there to spoonfeed (or force feed) them those skills in a learning environment. If it’s on them to identify and develop the skillset needed for work in potentially hours outside of work, it won’t happen.
  2. They embrace a fixed mindset (as Carol Dweck’s research would identify) belief system that how they are now is “how they will always be.” So what’s the use of trying to change a tiger of its stripes?

Both of these approaches fall short of understanding that a shift in our belief system toward a growth mindset emphasizes the importance of our ability to learn and develop skills, just like a student would after picking up the guitar for the first time. They may not become the next Jimi Hendrix, but they can get a level of playing recognizable songs.

It’s on you to identify and develop the skills you need to reach the career level you desire - which means you have to bet on yourself that you have the ability (with enough knowledge, time, and repetition) to learn them.


You Strengthen Your Resilience ‘Muscle’ When Dealing with Adversity:

Just like athletes must learn to bounce back from injuries, losses, and a mutlitude of setbacks over the course of their playing career, your own career is guaranteed to be anything but smooth.

Challenges are inevitable.

How we respond to those challenges is entirely up to us. When we bet on ourselves, we are almost forced to learn the importance of reframing setbacks and leveraging challenges as simply opportunities to improve. 

We are forced to play the big picture - such as when you are passed over for a career opportunity, instead of complaining or blaming others, you have the choice to reframe it as a learning opportunity, discover what skills are lacking for that new role, and then put in the work to improve your skillset so that when it comes time for the next promotion, there is no choice but you as the best candidate.

If you’re betting on yourself in the big picture, then you’re forcing yourself to be resilient with each new adversity, thus strengthening your ability to be resilient outside of work as well.


You Are Empowered to Take Ownership of Your Future:

One of the most important reasons to bet on yourself is to take full ownership of your future. We can go through life as victims to fates beyond our control, or we can be empowered by understanding what we do control and how it as the ability to influence our future. 

You don’t wait for opportunities to fall in your lap, and instead choose to seek them out and position yourself to capitalize on them.

I remember when I first started keynoting events. I initially waited on people to find me. A lot of business owners fall into this same trap. They set up a website or a LinkedIn page and think, “now they’ll find me!”

But it doesn’t work that way.

I had to learn and then voraciously attack the sales process of prospecting. I had to hunt for clients, believing in my ability to create opportunities with my work ethic and consistency. It’s one of the reasons my career has risen to where it is today - I didn’t want my success to be in someone else’s hands. I bet on myself to put my future into my own hands.

If it’s meant to be, it’s up to me.

If your company doesn’t have the role you desire, make the case to create it OR develop your skillset for the company that does have that role. If you don’t feel as if your manager has trained you how to one day manage, make it your responsibility to learn before you’re promoted.

Many people waste a majority of their careers waiting for opportunities to come their way instead of actively pursuing them to shape the professional path they want.

And let’s not forget that by taking each of these steps, you can increase your impact as a leader by inspiring others through the example you set.

We don’t inspire others by doing just like them. We inspire by betting on ourselves and doing better.

You have the ability to become a beacon of inspiration for others around you when you choose to be courageous and bet on yourself throughout your career. Those moves, when stacked over time, create inspiring results that encourage others of what’s possible - creating an almost ripple effect of inspiration.

Betting on yourself is not just a gamble. It’s a strategic investment into the most productive ROI you can make: yourself.

Besides, the greatest rewards often go to those willing to go all-in on themselves.



Want extra motivation to Bet On Yourself this year? Grab our newest shirt as an empowering reminder here.

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