When we engage as wellness leaders in The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease Initiative, it may seem strange to talk about the topic PROSPER. Why? Because people today often equate prosperity with wealth and fail to realize its connection with wellness.
THIS FAULTY THINKING CAN LEAD US ASTRAY
Collectively, we are in a vicious cycle of paying exorbitant amounts of money after-the-fact for poor health rather than investing upfront in wellness behaviors that help us prosper in important ways, such as eating healthy, being physically active, stopping smoking, getting enough rest, and managing our stress.
According to the Centers for Disease Controls, 69% of all deaths globally each year are a result of preventable diseases. And the global economic cost of largely preventable chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes and mental health) could reach US$47 trillion by 2030.
Instead of spending huge sums to treat disease, what if we embraced the view that no amount of preventable illness or death is acceptable? And what if we repurposed the money we spend on avoidable treatments toward the prosperity found in a lifetime of wellness? This is a big shift, yes. Yet, we believe it’s time to integrate wealth with wellbeing in our organizations and our lives. And this requires updating our definition of what it means to prosper.
WHEN WE PROSPER, WEALTH AND WELLNESS ARE PARTNERS
The good news is this: Holistic ideas about what it means to prosper are laced throughout our spiritual lives and cultures. The Hindu goddess Lakshmi equally embodies wealth and fortune as she does beauty and joy. In China, the red jujube (date) signifies both wealth and fertility. Sarbat da bhala, meaning “may everyone prosper,” is repeated in Sikh scriptures to reinforce how essential it is for all of humankind to flourish.
Specific views in Judaism claim man should not only create wealth but also use it for improving individual and public welfare. Buddhist wealth deities are part of rituals to reduce our attachment to material concerns and multiply our generosity and inner peace. The Arabic word Salām, often used as a salutation, expresses harmony and prosperity together. And, the Latin cornu copiae—the “horn of plenty”—symbolizes sufficiency, nourishment and abundance.
Clearly, the marriage of wealth and wellbeing already lies within our collective consciousness. As wellness leaders, we can draw on this deep wisdom to respond to a question we must address today: As people and organizations, how can we embrace true prosperity rather than view wealth and wellness as separate aims?
BRING A HOLISTIC DEFINITION OF PROSPERITY TO LIFE
For too long, we’ve viewed wealth and wellbeing as divided, even competing, goals. This division has impacted how we’ve designed our organizations and societies, as well as our own lives and work. We believe, however, that uniting our aspirations for wealth and wellbeing can produce new models of prosperity for all.
Bring a holistic definition of PROSPER to life with these strategies connecting wealth and wellbeing for your team, your organization and yourself:
Make money talk part of the wellness walk. Research shows that financial wellbeing is integral to mental health and resilience. Yet, in some countries, money conversations, such as income, retirement savings, medical expenditures, debt and investments, are taboo. It’s time to make financial health part of the wellness conversation. The pandemic has exacted enormous economic and employment consequences to countries, organizations and people alike—and your colleagues may feel squeezed by undue financial burdens that they cannot share. Create safe opportunities where your co-workers and friends can talk about their financial stresses and goals without repercussion. You may not be able to fix their financial woes, but the act of authentic listening can offer stress relief.
Improve employee wellbeing through financial literacy. Encourage your organization to provide financial wellness programs and digital tools to build financial literacy. Help current, past, and (if you’re up to the challenge) future employees work through their financial pressures, develop financial strategies for achieving their life-work goals, plan for the unexpected, and most importantly, build a healthy relationship with money. Empower people, including yourself, to see wealth not as the end goal but as a facilitator for growing wellbeing personally and for families and communities.
Embrace prosperity within your business model. How can your organization’s financial practices foster wellbeing? There are numerous ways, regardless of your organization’s size. Shift to ethical banking institutions and strategies for financial inclusion, a key strategy for enhancing health and wellbeing. Engage in fair trade, responsible sourcing, and practices to advance wellbeing in your supply chain. Get certified as a B-Corporation to contribute to more equitable economies. Give a percentage of your gross revenue to a charity that aligns with your mission and values. When it comes to amplifying prosperity, the goal isn’t to accumulate wealth you don’t need but rather to use it for good.
Broaden your circle of prosperity. If contractors, suppliers, distributors, and partners were asked how much your organization cares about their wealth and wellbeing, what would they say? Take the initiative to find out. When your stakeholders believe you have their financial and wellness interests at heart, that goes in a long way in fostering healthy relationships.
LEADING YOUR SELF
Surface your limiting beliefs. Each of us has deep, usually unconscious, narratives about money that enable or limit our decisions and life satisfaction overall. We may avoid money challenges, worship money, use money as a status symbol, or hold money close to the chest. Dive into the research to find out what money script might be driving your thinking and actions, plus preventing your fullest wellbeing.
Improve your financial wellbeing for greater vitality. Financial wellbeing has three times the impact of income alone on your wellbeing overall. It emerges when you are satisfied with your standard of living, spend money wisely, and invest in experiences that provide lasting memories, such as giving and service to others. Make financial wellbeing part of your personal wellness moonshot, an inspiring vision of wellness that matters to you. Then, do a holistic review of your finances to identify an action (or two!) that can support your vitality overall.
Share your prosperity! What financial seeds will you plant now to benefit others long after you’re gone? Answer this question after you listen to the song Planting Seeds by Empty Hands Music. It offers a beautiful reminder from pioneer Nelson Henderson that “the true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”
SPREAD YOUR IDEAS ABOUT PROSPERITY TO THIS COMMUNITY!
The Wellness Moonshot: A World Free of Preventable Disease Initiative is a huge undertaking. Strengthen this community by sharing your ideas and practices about PROSPER on social media using #wellnessmoonshot, and we’ll spread your inspiration to wellness leaders worldwide. And remember to join the GWI’s Wellness Moonshot celebration on March 26 to inspire and learn from others!
Next month, we’ll touch on what the topic of HOPE means to leading wellness. Until then, check out each of these Wellness Moonshot articles from past years with science insights and strategies to support you on your wellness leadership journey.