I often work with leaders with a win-lose mindset. They feel they must win, or they lose and someone else wins. This win-lose scenario is a scarcity mindset. With a scarcity mindset it’s difficult to see opportunities. A scarcity mindset can make you feel depressed, overwhelmed, and generally negative. Scarcity makes day-to-day living a competition with others because you cannot see that there are many opportunities.
Conversely, an abundance mindset is one of unlimited possibilities, options and a win-win mentality. You are not in competition with others because you believe that the opportunities are infinite and there is enough for everyone. You feel excited about the possibilities.
Scarcity mindset limits possibilities
Recently, I saw the abundance versus scarcity mindset play out in front of me. I was at a resort swimming pool. Many children in the pool had toys and flotation devices (inflated tubes, Styrofoam noodles, and beach balls). There was one child who didn’t have any of that and when he asked, his parents told him they didn’t want to purchase any pool toys for their short stay. The child was unhappy with the situation and just sat at the edge of the pool with his head down.
The grandmother walked over to the boy and said, “Let’s go see what we can figure out.” They found out the resort had a “pool toy recycle bin” where items that people didn’t want to take with them when they checked out were cleaned up and made available to other guests. The grandmother had an abundance mindset which made her believe there was a solution to the problem. The young boy was very happy with his “recycled” pool toy and the solution didn’t cost the family anything.
Leaders who have a scarcity mindset often find themselves in competition with everyone, frustrated and disgruntled because they can’t win all the time. Leaders with an abundance mindset know that they are not in competition with everyone else because everyone can succeed in their own way. They see opportunities and can choose the best solution to any situation that arises.
How to create an abundance mindset
The mindset we have dictates our reality. If we believe that something is true, then it is. A scarcity mindset limits what we see as possible and therefore limits what we can actually achieve. However, when we view any situation through the lens of an abundance mindset, it helps us to see possibilities that wouldn’t be visible with a scarcity mindset. When we choose abundance over scarcity, it helps to raise our overall energy level and lifts our mood. This concept of our inner mindset affecting our reality is used widely in the medical field, helping patients shift their mindset to abundance to aid their healing process. How then, can we shift our thinking from scarcity to abundance in our everyday lives?
Create awareness. Being aware of when you are in a scarcity mindset is the first step towards shifting to an abundance mindset. If scarcity is a normal mindset for you, notice when you find yourself feeling victimized, helpless, or in a win-lose scenario. Then, pause, notice your thoughts and feelings, and become aware that you are experiencing a scarcity mindset.
Once you are aware that you are in a scarcity mindset there are several things you can do to help you shift to abundance. Here are a few:
· Reframe: replace negative, win-lose, limiting, scarcity-based thoughts with abundant thoughts and feelings; positive, win-win, and full of opportunity.
· Compliment someone. When we affirm someone else by complimenting them, it benefits us too because it releases serotonin in our brains and lifts our mood, making us feel better and more able to see opportunities.
· Celebrate your wins (small and large).
· Create a “love me” drawer and use it regularly for positive affirmation.
· Practice meditation or mindfulness, especially when under stress.
· Ask a friend or co-worker to help you notice when you are falling into the scarcity mindset.
· Develop a gratitude practice by writing in a gratitude journal nightly about all you are grateful for that day or try sending a gratitude letter to someone special you want to thank. You will make their day as well as yours.
Exercise your right to choose a mindset
The bottom line is that we can choose which mind-set we want, scarcity or abundance. When we exercise our right to choose it makes us more powerful and when we choose abundance, it opens us up to clarity and infinite possibility, and makes us better leaders. That is the best win of all!
For more actionable leadership advice, read these other posts on our blog The Almanac:
Stuck on Stress Mode? Reframe and Cultivate Resilience
Self-Affirmation & the Magic of a “Love Me Drawer”
Leadership Success Tactic: Tracking Accomplishments