Sharma: The 8 Forms of Wealth

April 8, 2010

Editor’s note: This is the fifth in the series of Robin Sharma blog posts for his six-week leadership challenge, “Become the Leader You Were Meant to Be.” Join the discussion on Facebook about Robin’s challenge posts.

A while back, I gave a full-day leadership seminar attended by managers and executives from companies like American Express, Infosys, Gap and Dell. One of the ideas that many of the people in the room told me was most helpful was my “8 Forms of Wealth” model that I’ve been sharing with our corporate clients during the past year.

In my mind, wealth and leadership aren’t just about making money. There are actually eight elements that you want to make sure are at world-class levels before you call yourself rich (and truly successful).

I’ll identify them:

1.    Inner Wealth. This includes a positive mindset, high self-respect, internal peace and a strong spiritual connection. It also includes clarity around your values and a fierce sense of your one-, three-, five- and 10-year goals.
2.    Physical Wealth. Your health is your wealth. What’s the point of getting to a great place in your career if you get sick doing it? Don’t be the best businessperson in the hospital ward. Why be the richest person in the graveyard? Great leaders are in great health.
3.    Family and Social Wealth. When your family life is happy, you will perform better at work. No one gets to the end of their life and regrets making their family a primary priority. Related to this is the imperative of forging deep connections with friends and members of your personal community, including members, role models and trusted advisors.
4.    Career Wealth. Actualizing your highest potential by reaching for your best in your career is incredibly important. Getting to greatness in your profession brings a feeling of satisfaction on a job well done. It helps you make your mark. Being world-class in your work is good for your self-respect. Be so good at what you do that you leave your teammates and clients spellbound.
5.    Economic Wealth. Yes, money is important. It’s not the most important thing in life, but it is very important, and it absolutely makes life easier and better. Money allows you to live in a nice home, take beautiful vacations and provide well for those you love. And so Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia, said: “The more I make, the more I can give away.”
6.    Circle of Genius. You become who you spend time with, and your associations affect your mindset and performance. “Lead Without a Title” and surround yourself with exceptional people—their stardust will rub off on you.

7.    Adventure Success. To be fulfilled, each of us needs mystery in our lives. Challenge is necessary for happiness. The human brain craves novelty. And we are creative beings, so we need to be creating constantly if we hope to feel joy. Lots of adventure (ranging from meeting new people to visiting new places) is an essential element of authentic wealth.
8.    Impact Wealth.
Perhaps the deepest longing of the human heart is to live for something greater than itself. Each of us craves to be significant. To make a difference. To know that the world has somehow been better because we have walked the planet. Think of what Richard Bach once wrote: “Here is the test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” Leaders leave a legacy.

I invite you to focus on each of these eight elements if you want to experience real wealth. Money alone does not define being wealthy. There are many rich people who are unhappy and unsuccessful as human beings. By focusing on elevating all eight of these areas to world-class levels, you will not only shine ever so brightly for all those around you, but you will also find a contentment that lasts.

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