We all know about the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs and it has become the standard for understanding the various levels of our existence.
With this in mind how about projecting forward with a similar model that helps us balance and understand the appropriate building blocks required to aspire, plan and attain our goals and dreams?
This is where the Fortune Pyramid might help you to structure your thoughts and ideas.
The 12 Fs in the Fortune Pyramid can act as guides for each of the key elements that together form a life and work balance.
Begin, as with Maslow, from the base of the Pyramid and consider the first three elements:
Feelings – Where is your mind heading? What desires and ambitions do you have? Can you project forward and perceive how you will feel when you reach your destination? If you don’t have a clear destination or dream, perhaps think of what you would like to be doing or where you’d like to be and with whom, by the end of this year? Being specific with your feelings, no matter how ambitious or hopeful they might seem, is important to maintain clarity through this process and in the coming days and weeks.
Fitness – To move forward in life we must balance our desires and goals with an appropriate level of physical and mental fitness. This doesn’t mean we need to become world class triathletes but it does mean we need to assess where we are now and where we’d like to be so that we can match our desires with the tools we have at our disposal, realistically. Fitness is not about the size of our muscles but about balance, suppleness, breathing and calm state of mind, in both a spiritual and physical sense.
Freedom – At the base level in the Fortune Pyramid is freedom. You are free to make choices about every what, why, who, where and when in your life. Everything you choose will have an impact on your world. If you choose not to decide, you’ve still made a choice. Freedom is about acceptance that you can make both tough and easy decisions. If you feel constrained by circumstance then you are choosing that constraint. Freedom does not mean throwing everything away and running to the sun, although it might! Freedom is about complete acceptance of the accountability for every decision you make.
With the baseline of your existence in place you are ready to think about the next level up.
Family, Friends, Fellows – Humans are social entities and it is unlikely that even the most introvert person will be able to create their Fortune in isolation. This level of elements in the Fortune Pyramid are crucial for supporting you with love, guidance, nurturing, companionship, mentoring and resources. They say we can’t choose our family, but we can certainly choose those we keep close around us from friends to colleagues, peers to coaches. Are your people aligned with your desires and goals and supporting you in your journey? Or are some inhibiting your progress? Again, you choose who you value most, and often it is not just those who say yes and don’t challenge you. Balance is crucial.
Feats – Work, labour or projects. Whatever we call the feats we perform for the world around us, are for most people the way we support and generate the money we need to sustain us. Feats are so much more. If you begin each week with anything less than an energised, ‘cannot wait to get started’ feeling, then the job, activity or career you have is not the one for you. There are numerous ways of creating the money you need and if you are not getting a great return, emotionally and intellectually, from the feats you perform, then it is time to change.
Finance – One of the outputs of your Feats will be the Finance that your work activities create. Some people consider their Finance as their Fortune but this is just one of the elements and in fact, whilst important, is not really at the heart of your true desires. It’s an enabler and one to set as your base level to pay for what you need, rather than what you want. There is a big difference between need and want. Figure out what works for you.
Funds – As you accumulate Finance many of the wealthiest people in the world consistently say you should put away a percentage into Funds that are an investment for your Future. This might be a pension scheme, a savings account, property investment or separate bank accounts where you build up funds for future travel or your children’s education. Without Funds, even small ones, you cannot really move to the next level in the Pyramid. So aligning Feats with Finance and saving some Funds is vital to support the flexibility and choices you are aiming for. Rather than saving for a rainy day, let’s save for a sunny day!
Fun and Future – The forward facing, positive intention filled life in front of us will manifest from aligning and fuelling each of the elements below it in the Fortune Pyramid. You can make choices at this level but if you have been clear with authentic intentions at the base level Feelings, you may be surprised when these things materialise with little conscious input on your part.
Fortune – Maslow defined a term called self-actualisation and in the Fortune Pyramid we will call this Fortune. If we feel fortunate with our world and everything in it, truly feeling the gratitude to everything that has fallen into place, then we are experiencing our Fortune. If those desires and dreams have materialised, almost surprisingly to us, then it is not fate or luck, it is because we have aligned our world to point towards our true definition of Fortune. For some it will simply be a pot of gold, but if you have other desires, places, people, ambitions and a burning desire to make a positive societal change, then this is YOUR definition of Fortune. Embrace it, own it and enjoy it. It is yours and the Fortune you choose can only be defined by you.