There’s NOT ENOUGH.
If I had a magic wand (which I might) and there was one mindset shift gift I could bestow upon all business owners and entrepreneurs of the world, especially those just starting out, it would be the worldview transition from scarcity to abundance.
You see, it is a world view shift.
Do you see is as a place of plenty?
A garden of resources, opportunities and possibilities waiting to support you as you share your gifts and make your contribution to the greater good or do you see the world as a place of pain and struggle? A chamber of challenge in which hard work and long hours return little progress and everything is an uphill grind. A fight, a battle for survival, a competition, a win or lose.
Be honest – how do you see the world?
We all experience scarcity mindset somewhere in our lives, sometimes – even the most conscious of it. It is not restricted to whether or not you have pots of cash – you will find it wherever there is a “not enough” narrative.
Not enough time.
Not enough energy.
Not enough money.
Not enough clients.
Not enough knowledge.
Not enough talent.
Not enough recognition.
Not enough love.
Not enough fun.
Not enough, not enough, not enough …..
Or my favourite – NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
The problem is that we create our reality through our beliefs, our thoughts, and our emotions. When we focus on these they amplify. When scarcity becomes the default setting, the mind automatically orientates towards unfulfilled needs, focusing on what we don’t have. When we feel there is not enough, then that is what is experienced.
Scarcity shapes our choices and the actions that follow will stem from a place of lack.
It is think-feel-do driven by fear – the clue is in the word “scare-city”!
When we feel at a conscious or subconscious level that there is not enough to go round, we cling to everything for fear of ending up short; we focus on keeping what we have and we close down to possibilities and opportunities.
Fear takes hold. The fear that we will never be-do-have enough. The fear that we will be judged by a jury of our peers, that we will be weighed, measured and found wanting (Knight’s Tale Fans?). Say the word – SCARCITY – feel its energy (yes, words have energy, try it). It has a “take away” or “take from” energy, closed, grabby, desperate, self serving, almost conspiratorial.
Say the word – LACK – it’s the same, small, anxious, contracted energy.
So what do you think the energy behind the actions motivated from this space will be?
In some (usually empaths) there is also the subconscious scarcity belief that by having then someone else is going without – think about it – that makes sense if you believe there is not enough to go round. I often see this in heart-centred, empathic business owners – they would rather “go without” than be successful at the expense of others.
This is reflected in their business activities – they give away their time, they give away their energy, they undercharge for their services in the name of “accessibility” and as a result they keep themselves stuck in scarcity because they never make enough profit!
Then there are others who have the same subconscious belief but are motivated by a strong survival instinct to take anyway, be it at the expense of someone else or not.
By doing so they artificially escalate themselves into a “plus than” state, putting their needs ahead of other people’s; this may also be experienced as an elevated status – the misconception that “I am better because I have more”.
In either case, when we believe we have to “take” from others, albeit subconsciously, we inevitably are waiting for others to behave in the same way. Think about how quickly a game of pass-the-parcel can get nasty at a children’s party – you will see this play out beautifully. There is always one grabby child who will employ every tactic under the sun: snatch it and then hold on too long, drop the parcel by mistake, accidentally tear the paper ….. you catch my drift.
So this scarcity mindset will affect:
- Our relationships – when we expect people to take from us because there is not enough to go round then it is hard to trust. We can’t see collaborators, we can only see competition – we are compelled to constantly compare ourselves with others.
- Our decision making – if we don’t feel like we have enough then we can make poor decisions around money, getting into debt, not saving or investing, buying cheap quick fixes, not paying our invoices or bills.
- Our creativity – if we always feel threatened then we will be reactive and act hastily without time to think clearly or creatively.
- Our perception of self – it becomes easy to overidentify with scarcity. If we always feel like we are “just getting by”, avoiding something worse, or keeping what we have, then we don’t seek the opportunities that can deliver wealth and success. Eventually “there is not enough” becomes “I am not enough” (and vice versa) – bringing our own worthiness and value into the equation.
- Our ability to serve – our customers and clients are framed in terms of what they bring us as opposed to what value or contribution we can make to them.
- Our ability to receive – when we are focused on protecting our own interests we can’t possibly be open to opportunities and others.
- Our wellbeing – driven by fear and a self-induced stress environment typified by unrealistic deadlines, stuckness, frustration and feelings of inferiority will in the long term have a negative impact on our physical wellbeing and health.
Scarcity makes us myopic and skews our view of the future, focusing us only on the here and now; only attending to the immediate, constantly seeking instant gratification and the alleviation of current perceived “pain”.
A scarcity mindset affects our success and happiness – living in the land of limitation is never a fun place to be – it results in a very short term approach to life.
But Scarcity can motivate – right?
I mean it is one of the persuasion tactics used to get sales so it must drive action.
Yes, it can motivate action. We have all experienced this when booking any budget airline or hotel booking site. The threat of scarcity – last seat, last room – it can trigger impulsive buying; but when we make purchases in this way more often than not we suffer from buyers remorse and have regrets.
Scarcity can motivate us to act, so can the threat of being beaten with a stick, but I don’t believe that anything sustainable is ever created from a place of fear or lack.
Scarcity can help us prioritise our choices although this can only come from a place of restriction and limitation so those choices will be more a product of trade-off thinking (one or the other) rather than an expansive drop down menu of creative, well considered options.
Scarcity can make us more productive, absolutely when we have procrastinated until the 11th hour and now have a delivery deadline looming, instead of meeting a standard of excellence we rush through it and deliver “good enough”, having injected large amounts of cortisol, coffee and chocolate digestives into our system in a response to stress – hardly the most enjoyable way to motivate activity.
However, the biggest problem I see with motivating from a need for more is in what psychologists term hedonic adaption – we adapt really quickly and even when we get more time, more money, or more freedom we return to our previous levels of happiness. Yes, you guessed it, if we were unhappy before, we quickly return to our state of unhappiness even if we now have more which ultimately means that when motivating from this mentality there will never, ever, ever be enough.
Any gain is temporary and short lived. A perpetual state of existence is triggered where the only goal is the external seeking of more – do you recognise this in society?
So what’s the alternative?
An abundance mindset – obviously!
A complete worldview shift that involves seeing the world as a place of plenty – a supportive resource that provides all we need in order for us to play our part and make our contribution back to it through the authentic expression of our individual gifts and talents. A place of opportunity and continuous cycles which are naturally restorative and reparative so that there is always enough of everything for everyone.
Ironically, when you adopt this paradigm (and the reason why it is possible) you become part of this abundance ecosystem and end up giving as much as you receive – but the giving comes from a different place. It comes from a place where we have more than enough time, energy, money etc., and as such we choose to share, without condition.
What other people have in no way affects us and therefore we can connect in a more trustworthy and genuine way resulting in greater joy and gratitude.
It’s a liberating viewpoint that really allows us to see the world in a way where the acknowledgement of value, yours, others and the earth, is a priority. It starts from within, from a recognition of personal worth, when you believe you are good enough and that there is plenty for all then that is exactly what you will find around you.
How do you shift it?
Well, there’s a question.
It doesn’t happen overnight that is for sure as you are essentially deconstructing and reconstructing a long standing belief system whilst still living in an environment where you are surrounded by messages to the contrary!
A really good place to start is by becoming aware of your language. Instead of defaulting to the language of lack, consciously choose words of prosperity.
It’s not that you can’t afford it, it is that it is not a priority to you right now; it’s not that you don’t have time, it is just not as important as the other things on your list of “to do’s”.
You also need to ditch the “if only” wonderings and use your imagination to dream big and explore what is possible and “what it will be like when”.
Beware the “can’t”, the “don’t”, the “should”, the “not enough”!
It is really important that you know what matters to you and have an idea of the life you want to live, then you can let go of the unnecessary and the excess.
There is an irony in the fact that letting go and getting rid always results in feelings of greater satisfaction, fulfilment, abundance and wealth. When you can see clearly what you have and how simply special that is, it becomes easier to appreciate what is already present in your world.
You can be grateful for what is already there. You see the time you have and are grateful; you see the love that is already there and are grateful; you see the money that is already there and are both respectful and grateful!
Focus on what you DO have and what is extraordinary about your life.
One of the things that keeps us firmly stuck is looking sideways. Avoid comparisons in life and business – this is one of the biggest causes of debt, both mental and physical! We often spend to keep up with other people instead of living our own lives, in our own way, in alignment with our values, needs, priorities and gifts. Comparison only ever ends up in feelings of inadequacy, feeling “less than”, when the solution is to feel “equal to”.
Equal to ourselves.
Equal to each other.
Equal to our challenges.
Equal to our situation.
This is where true strength exists and the power of co-creation. This is where we can see possibility and can productively lead a more resilient and creative life.
This is an “opt in”.
Personal experience has shown me that this is something you have to choose, and when you do the world looks like a completely different place and the quality of your life starts to change. There is more light, happiness, generosity, and inspiration. There are fewer problems and more solutions.
There is a natural flow.
By choosing to see and experience abundance, life becomes fuller and richer in all senses – isn’t that the MORE we have been searching for all along?