If you’d have told me 10 years ago that in 2015 I would be leading my company (let alone any organization or group) to have a year-long focus on PROSPERITY, I would have told you that aliens must have abducted me and replaced me with a robot clone.
For most of my life I haven’t liked the word prosperity. In fact, I’ve been actively repelled by it. The word conjured up selfish and self-centered images and examples of greed and indulgent excess.
Maybe it was my own poor self-esteem and guilt (thinking I don’t deserve it) or my upbringing (being raised by a single mom, who worked full-time and put herself through college, while raising two boys), but I’ve had my own share of hangups about money and greed and I’ve had to realign my mindset and beliefs in order to get where I want to go.
I’m confessing all of this because I don’t want anything in the way of allowing you to fully commit to prospering in 2015 (and beyond) with us.
The main thrust is this: It’s ok to want to prosper, to want to make money, to want to better your life.
So with that in mind I want to share my recent thoughts on the subject as we push WProsper this year.
1. Redeeming Prosperity: What It Means to Me Now
In the last couple of years, I’ve changed my tune about prosperity and what it means for me, my family, my team and now, you, our customers.
I’ve come to realize that there are positive and negative sides to prosperity. And admittedly, in the past, I’ve mostly seen the negative sides of it — greed, materialism — the King Midas kind, where you put property over people.
And because of this, I’ve let the negative overshadow the positive.
But as our company has grown, and we’ve done well, financially, I’ve also seen the positive side of prosperity, the one I fully embrace and seek to strive for today.
In fact, we’ve spent the last 7 years proving there is a positive side of prosperity … and it happens because we have consistently put people first.
I believe we’ve done well, financially, BECAUSE we sought to help others.
I believe we’ve prospered BY seeking to make people’s lives awesome.
What we’ve sown is good, honest work for the benefits of others (our customers) and as a result reaped the fruit of that labor.
So my experience is this: When you put people first, you prosper. Naturally and very positively.
You do well and you do better BY helping others do well and better.
In fact, I wrote The New Rules of Entrepreneurship to establish a new playbook for how business SHOULD be done, by putting people first.
So when I started thinking about this year’s customer focus, I put the word ‘prosper’ into my dictionary app.
Although the word ‘prosper’ means to “succeed in material terms; be financially successful,” its origins comes from the word “doing well.”
When I clicked over to the thesaurus, I see the words “flourish,” “thrive,” “bloom,” “blossom” — exciting words I’ve ALWAYS embraced.
Let me be clear: I want to prosper. I want to do well, and to do better. I want to thrive, to flourish, to bloom and blossom.
And I don’t feel guilty about that.
In fact, I feel pride.
BECAUSE … I/we put people first.
And our prosperity comes as a result of that value and belief.
2. The People-Center Positive Prosperity Test
So I asked myself: Why do we all want to prosper?
Why do we all want to ….
- Make more money
- Grow our businesses
- Get more, better clients and customers
- Learn marketing and sales tactics
- [Insert all the ways we want to prosper this year]
The key to understanding WHY lies in adding the words “SO THAT …” to the end of those goals.
Here are some examples:
We want to make more money and grow our businesses SO THAT ….
- We can stop renting and buy a home for our family
- We can quit our day job and focus on living our dream of owning our own business and be free
- We can have more work-life balance,so that we have more time for our family and will be less stressed during that time.
We want to get more and better clients SO THAT …
- We work with people who truly appreciate us and our work more, and then, pay better and faster, making our lives happier and better.
- We can finally get to do the work we really want to do
We want to learn how to market and sell better SO THAT …
- All of the above … if our ideal clients find us, we get paid better, to do the work we enjoy most, and then … achieve our dreams.
Any of this sound familiar?
By the way, the results of adding “SO THAT …” to the end of your goals reveal a lot about your motivations for prosperity.
For most of us it’s this simple: We want to prosper in order to enhance the quality of our lives.
Although, prosperity can also mean a whole host of others things too that aren’t just financial in nature, or have a price tag attached to it, money is often a direct correlation to enabling our access to our greatest dreams.
To me, prosperity is about making PROGRESS on our dreams and having the FREEDOM to pursue those dreams.
I want freedom and prosperity, SO THAT …
- I can do the work I like and enjoy, am passionate about, and best at. (I job hopped almost every two years since I was 16 to find progress, to prosper in this category until I started iThemes and landed in my ideal job.)
- I can work with (and for) good people, who I like and enjoy and care about, some of whom I’ll refer to as my extended family. (I’ve worked with poisonous, and bitter people, and sought to never be like them. In this way, I wanted to do better with the people I worked with (and for) and thus, ultimately be able to pick who my coworkers AND customers were.)
- I can have more quality time with the people I love and cherish most (my family), and I can give them the life we dream of together. (I want all kinds of things for my family. But most of all I want a life that allows us to make the most of our time on earth.)
AND, perhaps, the most important key to this all …
- When our cups overflow, we can give it away. (Our business continues to give back financially, and in many other ways. We invest in our local community, we invest in our people, we invest in you and we invest in WP. Professionally, I give back by helping others who are building businesses by offering my experiences and time. Personally, our family gives to a number of charities that align with our values and beliefs and make people’s lives better for it.)
3. It’s Time To Embrace Your Own Prosperity
So, I’m redeeming the word prosperity.
My new definition and credo on prosperity, the one I want you to embrace and commit to this year with me, is this:
If what I do to create prosperity for myself (and my family and my team and my customers) is morally and ethically right and fair, and seeks to use and maximize my time and talents to help others, for their ultimate gain, then I firmly, unequivocally and whole-heartedly believe I have and deserve the right to prosper, to do well, to do better, in great abundance, in my pursuit of it.
If these conditions are met, I’ll never apologize for making money, for prospering, in great abundance.
And neither should you.
Seeking prosperity in this light is amazing and beautiful to me because it’s PEOPLE-CENTERED, not material-centered, and also not exclusively me-centered.
It says boldly, I am a PARTNER in helping others thrive in their lives.
Here at iThemes, we call it Making People’s Lives Awesome.
So this year, I want you to prosper, to do well, to do better. I’m excited to be doing this!
If you haven’t signed up to do so, now is your time. (We’re lining up new resources and opportunities as I type that you’ll want to be the first to hear about.)
Here’s to a great 2015 … of mutual prosperity!
But Wait … Here’s Your Homework
So with the above in mind …. here’s a question for you …
Who are YOU helping Prosper in 2015?
I hope the answer is: your clients and customers.
Now, your homework:
Start making plans now to show them how they can prosper this year.
Zig Ziglar said: “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
You can get started like we’ve done in our WProsper survey … ask them where they want to go (what are they trying to achieve) … and what’s holding them back, or in their way of getting it.
“Dear [awesome client], I want to help my clients reach their goals this year, specifically helping them do better and do well online.
If I may ask … what are you seeking to do in 2015?
And what’s holding you back?”
Share the Zig Ziglar quote as a preface or tagline in your email.
I’ve found when you get honest answers, the results are humbling and exciting. I’ve seen this happen every time we’ve asked our customers direct questions like this. It gets to the core, to the real issues.
Then from those responses, see what aligns with your experience and expertise and seek to help them do better. Something might instantly come to you. There will be patterns that emerge.
Think about content, training, resources and products and services that will help them do better, do well in 2015.
(Yes, that might mean charging for additional services, which is fine. See the Prosperity credo above.)
List ideas for how you can prosper their business, and thus their happiness and quality of life.
Then with the most impactful ones (lowest hanging fruit) in your wheelhouse … and start sharing it with them bit by bit. Just like we’re doing here.