A Coaching Power Tool Created by Jennifer Bisser
(Career Coach, USA)
Everything you need you already have. You are complete right now, you are a whole, total person, not an apprentice person on the way to someplace else. Your completeness must be understood by you and experienced in your thoughts as your own personal reality. Beverly Sills
Every day through many individual moments, whether we realize it or not, we choose a perspective of abundance versus scarcity. The difference between approaching life from the perspective of abundance versus scarcity can have a profound impact on our happiness and fulfillment. Even though we know having an abundant mindset is more beneficial, it can be challenging to take this perspective at times.
Abundance is the state or feeling of having a relative degree of plentifulness. It is a state of being and a way of appreciating what you already have. An abundance mindset is believing that you have all that you need in life to feel fulfilled, happy, and empowered. Abundance means knowing that you are enough and that you will have enough. It is feeling excitement, positivity, and hopefulness in life. It creates light instead of dark and puts air beneath the wings of an idea or feeling.
Scarcity is the state of being or feeling without or not having enough of something. A scarcity mindset is the belief that you need something more to have a happy and fulfilled life. This mindset can be driven by fear and anxiety. It can block one’s ability to feel hopeful or to envision life full of possibilities. Scarcity makes you feel like you need something else in life to feel whole. Scarcity keeps you small and “safe”. It obscures positive thinking and personal expansion.
In the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey talks about the scarcity mindset as a win-lose paradigm; where if you get something there is less for me. The abundance mindset is a win-win paradigm; where there is plenty to go around for everyone.
Mr. Covey describes the scarcity mentality as “the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. They also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.”
He then describes the abundance mentality as something that “flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.”
We make countless decisions each day that are influenced by our mentality of either abundance or scarcity, highly impacting how we experience life.
Take a moment to reflect on an experience in your life that was influenced by a shift from scarcity to abundance. What was the outcome of this shift in thinking? What did you learn from this experience?
It is important to acknowledge that one has a choice between which perspective to take. Like a fork in the road, we can’t take both paths at once if we hope to get very far. In addition, each path could lead us to a very different destination. To create real progress towards our goals and manage the bumps along the way, it is important to create habits of positive thinking and be aware when we are in a scarcity mindset. Therefore, creating awareness around one’s mindset is an important part of moving from scarcity to abundance.
Examples of how to recognize when you are in a scarcity perspective:
- Thinking in absolutes or catastrophizing, using words such as never, always, should, etc.
- Focusing on what you do not have versus what you do have.
- Feeling disillusioned and that you are in win-lose scenario.
Creating a perspective shift to an Abundance Mentality
The following questions can serve as a launching pad to help explore abundance:
- Ask yourself if this scarcity belief true. What about this might be true? What is untrue?
- Take stock of what you do have that you can leverage in the situation.
- Practice turning a negative thought into the most positive thought you can create in that moment.
- Think about how the scarcity perspective is influencing how you approach the situation. What might you be missing by focusing on scarcity?
- What is something that you have in abundance that you can give away freely?
Here’s an example of what is looks like to shift from a scarcity mentality to an abundance mentality:
Maha lives in Los Angeles, California, a city well known for its crowded freeways and streets. Every day when she drives home from work, Maha worries about finding a parking spot on the street in her very dense neighborhood. When she arrives at Ocean Avenue she thinks, “Ugh, here we go again. There is never any parking when I get home. Why can’t I ever find parking?” At this point, Maha is in a perspective of lack. It is possible that even if there was a parking spot, she might not even notice since she believes she is not going to find parking.
What happens if Maha were to approach this situation from a perspective of abundance? Instead of believing that she won’t find parking, she says to herself, “This time, I am going to find parking within five minutes of arriving on my street. It is going to be great! Because I’m being patient, someone will be pulling away just in time for me to pull into a spot.”
We can imagine that even if it takes a bit longer for Maha to find a parking spot, her state of being is in a happier, more positive place than when she was in a mindset of scarcity. In an abundance mentality, she can observe that she’s in a win-win situation instead of a win-lose situation.
Practicing Mindfulness through Meditation and Gratitude
Meditation is a great way to practice being in a state of abundance. The act of clearing your mind, breathing deeply and allowing yourself to center your energy and thoughts can create space for this shift.
Creating an abundance mentality is also closely connected to gratitude and being appreciative and aware of what you already have. Simply spending a few minutes to reflect on what you’re grateful for can be heart-opening and can help to move you into a more peaceful mental space. Creating a daily journal or even emailing yourself a note can also be an easy way to take time each day to reflect.
Everything you need to be great is already inside you. Stop waiting for someone or something to light your fire. You have the match. Darren Hardy
It can be easy for a client to be stuck in a scarcity mindset. We have all experienced this at one time or another. We know the destructiveness that scarcity can have in our lives and the influence it has on how we perceive a situation. In coaching, helping our clients move from a perspective of scarcity to abundance is crucial in enabling them to achieve their goals. One important step in making a shift is creating awareness for your client about where there is abundance in his or her life today.
Possible questions to help create awareness of where there is abundance:
- What would “having everything you could possible need” look like in this situation?
- What are you grateful for in your life?
- What are some of your best attributes or characteristics?
- What are examples where you’ve used these skills or attributes in the past to overcome a challenge?
- When have you used positive thinking in the past to overcome a challenge?
- In what ways could you share your gifts with others?
Creating a Shift in Perspective
Simply turning scarcity thinking into abundance thinking, as exhibited in the table below, is a powerful way to create a shift in perspective. It allows your client to imagine the most positive outcome of a scenario and creates space for possibility and hope.
Acting as if it has Already Happened
A playful and explorative exercise to do with clients is to ask him or her to talk about the issue as if it has already occurred with the best possible outcome. For example, if your client wants to post their first video to their website, ask them to talk about it as if the video is already posted with the best possible outcome. It could sound something like this, “Yesterday, I posted my first video to my website and the response was amazing. I received over 500 views in the first hour, more than 100 comments, with fifteen inquiries into my business resulting in 5 new clients! Plus the video was polished, fresh and fun. I am beyond thrilled at the results of my first video and can’t wait to continue with more!” Encouraging this type of play can help your client to shift easily into a place of abundance where anything is possible. Be sure to encourage your client to make the scenario the best it could possibly be!
Identifying Underlying Beliefs
It is helpful to obverse any underlying beliefs impacting your client’s ability to be in a state of abundance. What underlying beliefs, values and recurring themes are present for your client? Are there any fears that continue to surface? Are there deep-seated beliefs that impact the client’s ability to live in abundance? What observations and learning has your client experienced through the exercise and questions?
Deepening the Learning
Another important component to a perspective shift is to deepen the learning. How do we help our clients to remain in a state of abundance or shift themselves into an abundance mentality when they feel scarcity in their lives?
Ideas of how to deepen the learning:
- Invite your client to create an abundance mantra to repeat during times of being in a scarcity mindset.
- Ask your client to envision how they would approach a challenging situation from a completely empowered and abundant state of mind. What would it feel like to be in this state? What can they do to reconnect on to this feeling / vision in their day-to-day lives? Is there a name or a description to help recall the centered, abundant self?
- What has your client learned about themselves that will help them to remain in a state of abundance?
- Where do you experience abundance in your life?
- What is an area of your life where you could use practice an abundance mindset?
- What can you do practice being in a state of abundance?
- What is an example of a time you shifted from a scarcity mindset to an abundance mindset
- What was the outcome of this shift?
- What do you have in abundance that you can give away freely?