Achieving more prosperity in 2012

Given this economy, who wouldn’t like to achieve more prosperity in 2012?

Prosperity -- the condition of being successful or thriving, according to the dictionary -- is a fundamental desire that many pursue, but too few attain, say Ethan Willis and Randy Garn, founders of Prosper Inc., a Utah-based online education company for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

“We have more than 400 employees and provide about 1,000 hours of one-on-one coaching and mentoring sessions a week in 80 countries,” said Garn, chief relations officer. “We believe that everyone can attain prosperity, as defined by wealth + happiness + sustainability, with focus and work, but it is a very individual thing. It depends on your lifestyle and values.”

In 2011, they wrote the book “Prosper: Create the Life You Really Want” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers) to share six practices that have helped others achieve prosperity.

“We appreciate the principles that our Prosper coach taught us,” said Anna Marshall Powers, a certified nutritional consultant and owner of Innovative Wellness Resources in Atlanta. When she and her husband, Chris, became engaged, they worked with a Prosper coach, Adam Mortimer, to put their marriage on a solid financial foundation.

“We knew that a leading cause of divorce was couples not agreeing about money, so we wanted to find a way to talk about this emotionally charged subject and manage our finances together,” she said. “It’s one thing to read a book about money principles, but another to know how to put them into practice.”

A year of weekly coaching helped them break the process into bite-size pieces. “It helped us to create a vision for what we wanted and a strategy to get there,” Powers said. “It brought us closer together and gave us the freedom to share our attitudes, concerns and goals.”

Married in April 2010, they are still using the prosperity practices and proud of the personal and financial goals they are accomplishing.

So, what are the six practices?

Practice 1: Find your personal Polaris point. “This is your true North Star, the end goal of what you want to become, achieve, contribute or create in your life,” said Willis, CEO of Prosper Inc. “Take time away from everyone to interview yourself. Ask questions: What are you good at it? What gets your energy flowing? What makes you happy? What do you want to be remembered for? You’ll be surprised at what bubbles up when you’re alone.” Reflect over time and refine your Polaris point down to a few sentences.

Practice 2: Live in Your Prosperity Zone. How much money will it take to make you prosperous? That depends on what you want to do and what lifestyle brings you satisfaction. “We’ve helped a lot of people turn hobbies into businesses so that they can do what they love. You’ll know you’re in your prosperity zone if you’re heading toward your Polaris point, making a profit, enjoying your work and can see yourself doing it for a long time,” Garn said.

Does work pay well but leave you no time for family or fun? You’re not in the zone. “It may be time to align your job with your Polaris point,” Willis said. “You have to decide by what yardstick you will measure your life.”

Practice 3: Earn from your core. “Inventory your unique talents, skill sets and values and leverage those to earn a living. Passion and profits do mix,” Garn said. Earning from your core creates greater energy and success.

Practice 4: Focus on what you already have. “Want to start a business or add value to your company? Look at your assets. What passions, talents, contacts and resources do you already have?” Willis said. Focus on what you want, not what you lack. It will increase happiness and motivation.

Practice 5: Create and commit to a plan. “Write it down; there’s something powerful in the physical act. Create benchmarks, targets and goals -- then start down that path,” Garn said.

Practice 6: Take profound action. “The path to prosperity begins when you take steps that are aligned with your Polaris point. Nothing happens until you start. If you become discouraged, reach out to your network for encouragement -- and persevere,” Willis said.

Garn added, “Your journey to prosperity may seem like driving a car at night. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole journey that way.”

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