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What is My True Wealth?

Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking these days about money. Or more accurately, wealth. Back when money was very scarce in my life, my friend Dawna taught me to think about my wealth in wider terms than financial. She helped me see that I was rich in love and friendships. And I could count on to see me through. “As long as I have a garden, you will never go hungry,” she used to say to me.

It was enormously comforting despite the fact that her garden was in Vermont and I was in California. I was reminded again of the wider definition of wealth when Dorothy Spence introduced me to Lynn Twist’s concept of different forms of capital. Here’s the list, adapted from Lynn’s work:

Social capital

  • Relationships
  • Networks
  • Public Identity
  • Reputation
  • Amount of trust you’ve created

Pragmatic capital

  • Talents and gifts
  • Skills and competencies
  • Mindsets and Capabilities

Financial capital

  • Assets
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Real estate
  • Dividends
  • Income
  • Inheritances

Each of us have a different “wealth” profile based on these three kinds of capital. We tend to only look at financial capital and focus on where we have lack. But what if you took time today and thought about where you have abundance?

To enhance your thinking about all the forms of capital in your life, I offer another model as well, one that came from Australian Activator Maria Calibo-Sales (Calmar Corps). She did a powerful Systems presentation at the recent Australian summit, using a model drawn from the works of Dr. Riane Eisler on “Partnerism”, Indigenomics by Carol Anne Hilton, and Yosso’s Cultural Wealth Framework. Take a look and see what it does to your thinking about your own situation. What capital do you have? What do you want to grow? 

Community Capital– “I take only what I need. I am accountable. I have a sacred responsibility to consider the long-term impact of my decision-making. I operate in the spirit of reciprocity. Our methods are restorative and regenerative. We focus on economic progress as a parallel process to responsible custodianship of the land.”

Aspirational Capital – “I want to do important, impactful work – the fruit of which, I may not see in my lifetime.”

Social Capital – “I am a part of a network of supportive people with shared values.”

Navigational Capital– “I know how to work within the systems to get the information and results I need.”  

Resistant Capital– “I am willing to think creatively about solutions and push back when the status quo is unacceptable.”

Familial Capital– “I come from a long line of strong women who have each other’s backs.” 

Linguistic Capital– “I have a voice that is heard in my community. I am given the opportunity to speak my truth.”

What is the profile of your true wealth given all these forms of capital?

I don’t know about you but this really expands my understanding of capital in my own life and creates a much deeper and wider sense of abundance. May it be so for you too.

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