In an essay celebrating Forbes’ 100-year anniversary, billionaire Warren Buffett says there is one investment that “supersedes” all others: Invest in yourself. “Address whatever you feel your weaknesses are, and do it now,” Buffett writes.
Buffett goes on to reveal his weakness — he was terrified of public speaking. Early in his career Buffett recognized that the weakness would hold him back. He enrolled in a Dale Carnegie course for $100. “It changed my life.” As Buffett’s speaking skills improved, his confidence grew. It helped him sell stocks and, as a bonus, gave him the courage to propose to his girlfriend Susie. She said yes.
Buffett’s advice comes on the heels of an email I recently received from one of this column’s readers. Steve is a sales professional at a global software company with nearly 12,000 employees and $4 billion in annual revenue. Two years ago Steve attempted to transition from an engineer into a sales role. The company was assembling a team of “evangelists” who would speak about the company’s products to customers, partners, and analysts. Their job was to stir up excitement for the company’s software and technology solutions. Steve didn’t get the job because he was an engineer, not a salesperson. The hiring manager — who was new at the company — took one look at Steve’s resume and assumed he didn’t have the communication skills to shine.
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