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BACK TO SCHOOL: How Are You Investing In Yourself?

by Gwynne Wiatrowski Guzzeau

In this season of back to school, I'm wondering about you. When was the last time you went back to school? In the broadest sense of the word "school," I'm curious about what you'd like to be learning and where you'd like to learn.

Last night, I went back to school at the beach. Under the full moon, with friends and fire.

I recited two poems I'd written; one I remembered pretty well, the other, not so much. Didn't matter. Our friend David and his son Magnus, played ukulele and sang "You Are My Sunshine." They'd been practicing the night before with the two ukes we hadn't played much since Hawaiian vacation last winter.

For me, it was a chance to be with teens, old friends, the beach and the moon. The combination was new and the fact that I was actually doing it, rather than just talking about it, was different.

So what about you? How will you go back to school this year? And where?

Maybe it's the painting class at the local adult education program or the workshop sponsored by CapeWomenOnline. Or perhaps it's the weekly bird watching time you've been trying to carve out for the past few years and never seem to get to on a regular basis.

My point is, we are already at school, especially in this beautiful place where we live. So how can we be more aware of the learning parts of ourselves and why does it matter? Especially in a column about women and work?

The question really is: What is it that you already know about the things you like to learn? Make a quick list.

Then consider: What else am I interested in or curious about? Note it.

Finally, ask yourself, if I could grow in any of these areas what one would it be? If you can't choose one, then circle your top three. Pick the ones that are most interesting to you in this moment.

Now, invest.

Calendar the bird watching time or the ukulele lessons. Sign up for the painting class or the workshop that you're not sure you have the time for in your current schedule.

Estate lawyer Gwynne Waitrowski Guzzeau brings some legal ease to the ever-changing laws that are now going into effect.

Or simply commit to regular time at the beach with friends, with or without the fire and full moon.

I know from past experience that when I invest in my own growth and development, I'm growing my business and stretching out my career path.

Maybe the money's not available for the workshop or training off-Cape, but maybe you can afford the painting class or the one-time workshop event offered by one of the following organizations:

Each of us has a limited amount of time, energy and money. We're all aware of our checkbooks, when they feel full, and especially, when they are empty.

At the Gestalt International Study Center in Wellfleet (www.gisc.org), I learned to think about a checkbook for my time and a checkbook for my energy, not just a checkbook for my money.

This simple framing of my resources helps me retain resiliency in the months when my cash flow hits its low. I know the money isn't there, but I also know that I have time and energy to invest.

At the end of the summer, whatever the resource that feels most abundant, invest it in yourself. This is our season of back-to-school. We grew up with it and it's in our bones. So honor that and find some way to take yourself back to school.

It'll be good for business.

Gwynne Wiatrowski Guzzeau is a lawyer and entrepreneur. She lives with her family in Orleans.

If you have questions for Gwynne please email the Editor at CapeWomenOnline.

You can also visit Gwynne's website at www.gwglaw.com

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