Want to struggle with your business? Here’s how!

   photo by Net Efekt 

Imagine that all of the money, influence and power in your world is a pie (apple in this case).  Now imagine hundreds…no thousands…of people in your industry, your geographic space, your niche of business all vying for their piece of that pie!  There is no way there’s enough pie to go around – if you’re going to get the pie you need it’s clear that you need to step on people, be ruthless and constantly be looking out for yourself.  You must win at all costs!

Sound overblown?  Unfortunately it’s not – it’s called a scarcity mentality and most people default to this mentality unless they actively guard against it.  Here’s Stephen Covey’s take (from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Habit #4 Think Win-Win):

Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality….

The Scarcity Mentality is 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. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.

It’s an insidious problem because it gets worse with fear, so if you start to struggle in your business, you will shift to more of a scarcity mindset, which brings on more fear, less collaboration and ultimately makes all the problems worse! 

You start looking at all transactions as a Win-Lose proposition – you have to win and the other person has to lose (‘cause there’s only so much to go around).  However Win-Lose relationships aren’t sustainable and you’ll soon find yourself alone against the world wondering why everyone has turned on you!

Overall it’s a pretty bleak picture (especially since we started with apple pie!).

Or…you could think abundance and Win-Win!

Here’s what Covey has to say about the abundance mentality:

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow 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.

Ultimately that sounds like a whole lot more fun and it positions you for long term success, great relationships with other people and the ability to follow your passions and believe that good things can happen!

An abundance mentality is a choice – not that it’s easy to just start looking at things a new way, but if you work at it and really focus on developing only Win-Win scenarios, you can change your outlook.

What to look for?

How you can you recognize if you’re stuck in a scarcity mentality?  Here are a few things to look for:

1.  You spend more time worrying about your competition than about your customers.

2.  You’re in a networking group and extremely concerned that a new member of the group is going to overlap with what you do and take your referrals.

3.  You refuse to share ideas, resources or your connections with anyone else – regardless of whether they are sharing with you.

4.  You worry constantly about whether you’re good enough or whether you’ll have enough.

5.  You constantly look at how hard things are and why you can’t do things.

6.  You fear change, other people, pretty much anything that’s not the status quo.

Do you notice this with anyone around you?  It may be difficult at first to notice it in yourself, but I would challenge you to periodically see if you’re slipping into ‘scarcity’ mode.

What can you do about it?

As mentioned above, the first step is to be aware that you have choices and you can consciously work on having a Win-Win approach and an abundance mentality.  A couple of months ago I wrote about a great book called Mindset by Carol S. Dweck, she talks about Fixed and Growth mindsets (and how to migrate to a Growth mindset).  It’s not exactly the same thing, but it’s related and can move you forward.

Secondly, start hanging around with can-do people that have the right mentality.  If you start noticing people that are around you have the wrong approach – do the hard thing and stop hanging out with them (even if they’re friends and family)!  Relationships can be poisonous or they can be uplifting…you get to choose.

Start challenging yourself to consistently to ask “how can we make this work for both of us?” , “What can I do to help you?” and to look for the successes and positives rather than the failures..

Fear and scarcity ultimately leads to regrets, struggles and failures.  It doesn’t sound like a great way to go…so why does it seem like so many people are stuck there?  I’d love to hear your thoughts – share them below.

Shawn Kinkade   Kansas City Business Coach