According to Wikipedia, singer Josh Groban has sold nearly 20 million albums in his short career. One evening he told his Twitter followers that he’d just finished a two hour voice lesson and “think it’s time to turn pro.”

So why would a rich and famous performer keep taking lessons? More to the point, why would a would-be entrepreneur or freelancer or traveler not be investing in their dreams?

It’s that second question that keeps me awake nights.

Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk had a particularly interesting piece about that called Frugality is a Career Tool.

She wrote “I have earned a lot of money in my life. But I have never had an extravagant life. I don’t own a house. I’ve never bought a new car. I’ve never bought a new piece of living room furniture, and I do not own a single piece of real jewelry. What I have spent money on was always intended to help me with my career. That was so I know that I can always earn money doing something I love.”

If you want good things to happen, you’ve got to take the first step, ask for the date, risk being turned down. Otherwise you’re just practicing wishful thinking, which is neither active nor useful. How do you notify your dreams that you mean business? Here are a few of my favorite ways.

Get equipped. In Making a Living Without a Job, I tell the story about how things changed for me when I splurged (or so it seemed at the time) on a passport. After years of failing to find a way to bring my travel dreams to life, I got serious and started getting ready for a trip. I bought guidebooks, I thought about my itinerary and wardrobe.

In less than a year, I was headed for the UK. Ever since, my passport has been called into service at least twice a year.

Get dressed. When my granddaughter showed up at breakfast wearing a fancy dress and rainboots before heading out to kindergarten, her father took one look and said “Lose the boots.”

Zoe was having none of it. “Dad,” she explained, “I’m an artist. I can wear what I want.”

Costumes are essential to theater and they’re equally essential to building a dream. At the very least, dressing for your dream helps you maintain focus.

Make space. In Eric Maisel’s The Creativity Book, he advises, “By designating a room as your writing study or rearranging your garage so your band can practice in it, you are setting up a sacred space and honoring your commitment to realize your creative potential.”

A successful writer observed, “I don’t know where inspiration comes from, but I know that it shows up at my desk every morning when I sit down to write.”

Get connected. Transplant yourself into a dreambuilding environment as often as possible. Gather with others who are motivated and proactive. Make idea gathering your favorite hobby. Listen to inspiring speakers and read eloquent authors who have taken a higher path.

The upcoming Mastermind Magic: Overcoming Obstacles and Maintaining Momentum is a perfect place to connect and get some sharper tools. This time, Terri Belford and I are holding this powerful event in gorgeous Sedona, AZ.

Refuse to believe that you aren’t a good investment because, quite simply, if you want your dreams to show up, you’ve got to show up first. And when you arrive, show ’em you mean business.

I’ve learned that following what you love magnifies your talent. You just have to have the faith to invest in it. ~ Leslie Rector

Every day we are inundated with advertising that urges us to buy things that may or may not improve the quality of our lives. Seldom are we encouraged to invest in experiences that will enlarge our inner selves.

One day I got a call from a stockbroker who said, “How would you like to get a higher yield on your investments?” When I told him that my primary investments were my businesses, he said, “Oh, isn’t that scary?”

“Not at all,” I said. “Giving my money to a stranger over the phone is scary.” I wasn’t just being flippant.

My dictionary defines “invest” this way: to spend money or time or effort on something that will bring a profit. To invest implies that you must first put something in in order to get something greater out.

When most people think about investing, it generally involves putting money into something rather cold or impersonal, then waiting in the hope that the investment will grow.

There’s a far lower risk  when we invest our money, time and effort in ourselves and our dreams. Although it can be a far better investment to do so, many people have a hard time understanding its importance.

Writer Sondra Ray confronts this attitude. She writes, “Let’s take a look at the priorities on which people spend their money. What comes first? The rent; and this is the worst investment on the list.

“Compare rent with self-improvement. The fact is that self-improvement is the most valuable item on the list and most people don’t even have a category for it. Fear of running out causes you to spend only on things people told you to spend money on.

“When it comes to buying things that are really good for you and that make you happy, guilt comes. When you say, ‘I don’t have enough money to go to that self-improvement seminar or buy that self-improvement book,’ it is almost like saying, ‘I am not a good investment.’

“The best way to make money is to invest in yourself and that is what self-improvement is all about.”

When you invest in yourself and your dreams you are making the most important financial decision of your life. You have also invested in the one thing that lasts a lifetime and cannot be taken away from you.

The ups and downs of the economy have little effect on your investment in yourself. In fact, if you do it whole-heartedly, you’ll acquire skills and tools for circumventing difficult economies.

Author Jim Rohn has some other suggestions about sound investing. “Each month,” he suggests, “set aside a portion of your income and invest it in your search for knowledge. Spend the money to cultivate the sleeping giant inside you. The money—that’s a small price.

“There can be a great deal of difference between cost and value. I used to ask, ‘How much does it cost?’ I’ve learned to ask, ‘What is it worth?’ When I started to base my life on value instead of price, all kinds of things began to happen.

“Missing skills, missing knowledge, missing insight, missing values, missing lifestyle are all a result of not reading books or spending time in seminars or with those who have something to teach you.

“The promise is unlimited potential. More important than money is your next expenditure: time. Alas, there are no shortcuts.

“Fortunately, life has a unique way of rewarding high investment with high return. The investment of time you make now may be the catalyst for major accomplishment.

“Finally, you’ll be making an investment of effort.  In everything you do, be it self-observation, reading or observing others, the intensity of your efforts will have a profound effect on the amount of knowledge you gain.

“It is precisely this effort that will open the floodgates to the place where great ideas can work their magic.”

Looking for a great investment? I highly recommend the upcoming Obstacle-Busters Mastermind with Terri Belford and me.