Read about us in: FastCompany, CEO World, Harvard Business Review, Inc. Magazine and others.

What is Your Definition of Prosperity?


Written by: IA Business Advisors

Prosperity as defined generally today means certain wealth: financial, emotional, romantic, platonic, professional, educational. I would argue that prosperity is none of these things. I have met people with none of these things who feel prosperous and I have met people with all of these things who are not satisfied with their place in life. Prosperity is personal to each and every one of us and is part of the Individual Advantages equation that you will come to understand by the end of this book. 

Prosperity is the positive culmination of all we do. Prosperity is the state in which we feel that all is right in our world, when we are not searching or reaching for something more to make us content. Prosperity is not always a product of wealth, status, acceptance, or image; prosperity is individual to each of us and can only be defined individually.

These excerpts stem from a core message in The I in Team Series™. They have been taken from our upcoming book: Individual Advantages™: Find the “I” in Team. We explore the notion that prosperity is different for each individual. We have asked our team to give us their personal definitions of prosperity.

*Please note the underlined items in each of our team’s definitions of prosperity; they are key components to our book and were completely random. Each team member was free to write their definitions, but as we read each individual definition, we noticed a theme between their personal definitions and the book.*

Prosperity to me is a measure of one’s happiness, which is, by its very nature, subjective. Of course, to achieve happiness a basic set of fundamental objectives have to be met – I would equate it to reaching self-actualization on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Personally, I define it as having a work-life balance, strong fulfilling relationships, good health, a stable income, and a positive outlook on the future. Having the time to do the activities I want and spend time with the people I love is important, and so for me to be prosperous I need to be able to manage my time to allow for that balance.

From a managerial perspective, prosperous employees are going to be more productive and more loyal to the companies they work for, and so I think it is important for managers and business owners to understand what drives their employees beyond a weekly paycheck.

My personal definition of prosperity revolves around two central topics – my daughters and my overall personal wellbeing. These two things tend to go hand-in-hand in my life.

My daughters, Savannah and Aubrey, are the single most important part of my life. I simply cannot be prosperous if I am not doing all I can to make sure they are happy and healthy. Not only does this mean providing for them financially and emotionally, this includes making the changes I need in my life to better myself and set a good example for them.

After 12+ years of a tumultuous marriage and the after-effects of said marriage, I have realized how important self-care is. Finances and titles don’t mean much to me anymore. If I am happy in my job, able to have a work-life balance, and be self-aware enough to know where my mental and emotional state is at, at any given time, I will feel more prosperous than I ever could, based on superficial things like salary or job title.

I have discovered over the last couple years that “things” don’t matter to me as much as I once thought they did. I have started living for experiences. In the last 12 months I have traveled to over 6 states – some places I have been many times before and some places that were new to me.  I am trying to pass this mindset on to my daughters as well and provide them with as many experiences as time and finances will allow.

Realizing in each moment that I am in control and responsible for my own destiny; whatever that may bring. Prosperity can be figurative to some and literal to others; prosperity is an individual concept that will vary in definition between us all and when reached it creates advantages individual to our self.

To me prosperity is when I have finally reached all my goals financially and I am able to experience new and fun things without having to be concerned about covering bills. My top five experiences that I would love to have are: Go on a cruise, go to Disney World, visit Italy, swim with dolphins, and learn to surf.

Prosperity for me is having the means to do all the things I dream of; like traveling the world and seeing things. Ireland and New Zealand are my top two right now.

Prosperity to me is peace. The peace that results from having a good balance between work and life. It also results from being fairly compensated for my contributions at work which equates to a comfortable lifestyle.

Being prosperous can mean different things to each one of us because we all have different desires.

For myself, prosperity means being happy and full of life. Since happiness comes from within, for me to be happy and feel fulfilled in my life I would need the following things: Nourishing relationships with my family, friends, and colleagues. A healthy work and home life balance in a career that keeps me learning. I am not a money driven person, but having enough income that allows me to have a nice home and enjoy the fun things in life.

My definition of prosperity is simple: love. My source of love is multi-faceted, but my biggest source is my boyfriend, Spencer. Spencer has been in my life for almost four years and every day I feel so lucky to have him. His influence on me has been life changing and no matter where life takes me as long as he is by my side I know I will always be content.

The love I have for my family is unparalleled. I consider Spencer and his family to be a part of my family, and I know my family considers them so as well. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for my family. Family is all that matters in the end; love is all that matters in the end.

I love myself, greatly. I find value in my existence and take care of my body. Being a raw vegan has changed my outlook on the world, for better and for worse. Sometimes it has made me cynical, but other times it has made me love stronger than ever. Eating properly for my body is the strongest display of love for myself that I could give; along with that comes the deep peace I feel for choosing this lifestyle and knowing my ethics are in the right place.

I find myself immersed in love every day and nothing makes me feel more prosperous than that. I don’t want to give the impression that my life is perfect, or that I am perfect, but I choose to look at the beautiful things in my life and nothing is more beautiful than unconditional love.

My definition of prosperity is being able to knowingly exceed the necessary needs for myself and others. Those primary needs would be financial, emotional, and professional. If I was able to comfortably meet and exceed my needs, but others that I am close to cannot, then I would not consider myself prosperous until I was able to get them on their feet.

I would consider someone financially prosperous when they can generate wealth that exceeds their personal financial obligations and still help a friend or a loved in a hard time without blinking an eye.

I would define emotional prosperity as a person who is able to positively minimize personal strife, while helping others to unburden their emotional strife for support.

I would consider professional prosperity as having the ability to be 99% happy in your career with the ability to control your employment future and have a meaningful impact on the people and company you work for every day.

Some people can be happy, but not prosperous, and I would argue that to truly be prosperous there must be a measure in your life that overly exceeds the normal median threshold for happiness.

Prosperity in the workplace to me encompasses a lot of different things. In a world where everyone is so focused on competition and themselves, I’m more of a team believer. I think it’s incredibly difficult to prosper without being a team player. Respect, effective communication, and an open mind are all part of that. When you have those three qualities, you’re able to show up to work every day and know that you can give your very best.

For those of you who don’t know me on a personal level, the ending of my first marriage in divorce was a pivotal formative event in my life. I came face-to-face with the concept of prosperity, or the lack thereof. I was over-educated, under-skilled, and had not worked outside of the home in 15 years. My undergraduate degree in organizational behavior, a field in which I had never been employed, was completely undervalued during The Great Recession of 2007-2008. Businesses went into survival mode and rather than concentrating on developing or retaining a workforce, they hunkered down to weather the economic storm.

With no job prospects on the horizon, I chose to pull myself out of my current situation and made my primary focus to create my own prosperity. I enrolled in graduate school, chose a recession-proof concentration of study, and started a company – one which is growing and thriving seven years later. I focused on developing my skill base and knowledge. With grit, determination, and more hard work than I ever dreamed possible, I redefined what prosperity means to me.

Today, prosperity symbolizes the freedom to choose, not having to worry about my financial future, and career autonomy. It means I select the people I get to work with and create the environment I want to work in. I am truly excited about where Sharp Point Bookkeeping Solutions and IA Business Advisors are headed, and the incredible, talented, passionate individuals that I have the privilege of working with – both team members and clients. Thank you for being part of my journey and the fulfillment of my dream. Thank you for bringing prosperity to my life.

I feel that if I were to measure myself to others’ ideas of prosperity that I would fall short. I feel that a prosperous person makes the most out of their particular circumstance and is confident in who they are, where they came from, and are driven by their own personal goals and desires.  Like many, my life journey has been filled with crossroads that took me off the beaten path.  Even though others may view these crossroads as pitfalls, I view them as pivotal moments. These pivotal moments did not define me, rather they helped mold me into the person I am today. To me prosperity cannot be measured by wealth, education, or any physical attribute. Prosperity is defined by knowing who you are, treasuring what is important to you personally, and learning from all your experiences. I feel that prosperity is embracing life – flowing through the turbulence all to better understand who we are.

What is it that makes you prosperous? Share with us!

© Individual Advantages, LLC 2018 September 29