The Elusive Variable in the Wealth Equation

Recalling the wealth equation from this post:

Wealth = Value Provided by Y * Number of Entities that Directly Value Y

I think the most difficult aspect of this equation is determining what your Y is going to be.  If you’re like me, in your own life/business you want the Y to be something you feel passionate about.  In turn, I always notice when I am interacting with someone who is clearly passionate about their Y.  So how do you find your Y?

On the surface it seems there are some people who have always known what their contribution to the world will be – what product they will make or what service they will provide.  You could look at this person and think that it was easy for them to get there, but most likely it wasn’t.  It takes significant energy to find and deliver your Y to the world.  I think there are two important ingredients to finding your contribution:

  1. Self-awareness
  2. Iterations (or for those Seth Godin fans in the audience – shipping)

Self-awareness – As you travel down the path of life pay attention to that voice in your head or to your feeling/intuition about your experiences.  Notice when you feel the push or pull to a certain type of work, work location, size of company and so on.  We aren’t taught to value this aspect of ourselves (in the US at least) but it’s real and it’s helpful.  If you pay attention and honor it, you’ll eventually guide yourself into your Y.

Iterations – Rather than getting bogged down in the big picture all the time, focus on the small chunks that will get you to the end point.  First envision the future: You want to be a rock star playing in arenas for 60 days a year.  Then focus on the iterations.   Break the vision into actionable chunks and then take action.  When each iteration is complete: assess it, think about how you would improve it and then use that info to put a plan together for the next iteration.  (I first heard this philosophy from the Agile Software Development concept developed in 2001.  I’ve also heard Seth Godin talk about shipping which is a very similar concept.  Both of these are intended for a specific audience but the idea is powerful and useful in any aspect of professional life.)


We are all changing every moment of every day; having new experiences, learning new things and making new decisions.  Be fully in those moments and use the feedback to guide your next iteration.  Soon you’ll be shipping your Ys to the world.  (Thanks Seth!)

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