My mentor and friend Alan Weiss often says, “Put your own oxygen mask on first.” Just like the flight attendant’s safety announcement, we need to help ourselves before we can help others.

Once you’ve got your mask on then you can help others, but only those who want to be helped. When we’re trying to help those who are close-minded or not interested in trying something different, we’re just spinning our wheels and wasting valuable time.

As entrepreneurs we fall into this trap all the time. Because of our success we’re asked for help and when the help is offered we’re immediately told, “oh that wouldn’t work for me,” or “my customers are different, there’s no way that would work in my industry.” The advice is shrugged off. What’s really happening here is they don’t want the advice or they don’t want to invest in skill development; they want you to do it for them…sometimes for free.

I get this all the time. I’m asked for help with business or marketing issues, but when I start presenting the solution or advising on skills they should look to improve, they’re not willing to take the initiative to do it.

The greatest investment you can make is in yourself and your own development. I’m not talking about walking over coals. I’m talking about genuine help, assistance, and development. You won’t find an investment that offers a better return.