What does prosperity mean to you? Is it only about financial success, or does prosperity encompass more than money in the bank? We all hope to be able to make a living—an abundant living—doing what we love. And most of us can point to a least a few examples, our creative business hero/ines, who are doing just that. We know that it’s possible. But have you taken the time to define what true prosperity or abundance looks like, for you?
I’ve been reading an excellent book, The Soul of Money, by Lynne Twist, and questions like this are much on my mind these days because of it. Twist contends that for most of us, “prosperity,” “success,” and “abundance,” are always just out of reach, because—paradoxically—the more we achieve and acquire, the more it seems we need. So the search and the striving are never-ending. It’s the itch that can’t be satisfactorily scratched.
On the one hand, I suppose this constant searching and striving is what makes human beings so darn creative! We are ever-curious toolmakers, tinkerers, and problem-solvers by nature and that’s a wonderful thing. On the other hand, there’s no denying that we can tend to go overboard in all our searching, striving, achieving, making and accumulating—often to the detriment of our own well-being and even the planet’s.
Still, prosperity is one of my business values.* It’s a state or quality that I want to experience for myself, through my business, and one that I want to help my clients to experience through their businesses. The standard dictionary definition of “prosperity” focuses on financial status, but I think of prosperity in much broader terms than that. For me, prosperity equates with well-being in a more general sense.
So the questions I’m always asking myself are: Is there a point when my quest for financial prosperity begins to compromise my experience of other kinds of prosperity? If I’m go-go-go on the income-generating front, is that causing me to “run a deficit” in other areas of my life where I want to prosper, to flourish, to thrive? How’s my health? My relationships? My creative spirit? My peace of mind? Without abundance in those areas, the comfort I take from having money in the bank is pretty cold. So through these questions and the watchful awareness they inspire, I can rebalance priorities as needed to honor the broader sense of prosperity that's most meaningful to me.
These are also questions I have in the back of my head in every interaction with a client. I wouldn’t feel good doing this work if the only thing I helped artists accomplish was to sign deals, sell more, and make more money. I get as much (probably more) satisfaction when my clients tell me how supported, how informed, how relieved, how energized and how capable they feel, thanks to our meetings. These feelings are the less tangible forms of prosperity that we all desire and require!
I’m guessing that you have your own versions of these questions, and your own thoughts about what constitutes prosperity. I’d love for you to share them with me! And have you read Lynne Twist’s book? I highly recommend it.
May we all prosper together!
*Speaking of business values, I invite you to a free download, just for my newsletter subscribers: Defining Your Art Brand Values, Positioning, Vision, Promise, Mission. It’s brimming with questions that will help you explore and articulate what makes your art-based business a unique reflection of you. Just sign up for my newsletter and you'll receive a confirmation email with a link to download the document. I hope you love it!