by CurlyRed president and principal designer M/ Kendall Ludwig
Do you have a scarcity mindset?
Since moving to Garrett County almost 7 years ago, there's a pattern I've witnessed (especially among business professionals). Don't get me wrong—I saw it in Baltimore too. It's just much more obvious here. What I've witnessed is folks trapped in a scarcity mindset. It is the feeling that there's simply not enough to go around (customers, resources, time, connections, opportunities, etc.).
Think of it this way: there's a set number of potential customers that could be visually represented as an entire pie. If business #1 has 70% of those customers coming to its shop, than business #2 is only left with 30%. And in business #1's mind, even if it achieves 100% of the pie (to the detriment of business #2), that is the maximum number of customers it can secure. The only way that business #2 can thrive is to take some of the 70% "slice" that business #1 currently has. And if business #3 shows up one day in the same space: watch out! Less pie for both business #1 and #2.
Try this idea on for size: there is no pie.
An abundance mindset argues that there is an infinite amount of customers, resources, time, connections, opportunities and more than enough to go around to any business worth its salt. In free market capitalism, businesses do fail all the time. But it's usually not due to limited resources or even competition. In fact, healthy competition in the same industry can make two similar businesses thrive.
After 16 years in business, I've found a few things to be true:
1. There's enough. If you're good enough at what you do, there is more than enough business to go around.
2. Stay in your own lane. If you're constantly worried about what customers, resources, time, connections, opportunities other people are getting, than you're not focused on doing your best work. It's an unnecessary and fruitless distraction.
3. Celebrate collaboration. Good things happen when talented businesses or business professionals team up for the greater good. Seek out people you trust, find common goals, and look for ways to work together.
4. Be genuinely happy for your peers. This is a tough one. Your peer lands a dream client or has a record-breaking year of sales. It's natural to dive into the comparison game or to feel jealous (more energy drains). Instead, wish them well, maybe even send them a note of congratulations, and remember that you would want them to be happy for you if the roles were reserved. In my experience, Putting that positive energy into the world often leads to good things. Besides, that person may be able to refer work or customers to you in the future, and will remember how gracious you were.
5. Practice gratitude. I've mentioned this many times before, but giving thanks regularly to what you do have right now is one of the most important practices you will cultivate in your life. If you are reading this article on your computer or smartphone in America, you are most likely richer than 85% of the global population. If you have a roof over your head, 3 meals to eat in a day, hot water in your shower, clean drinking water(!)—you are blessed indeed. And that's just financially. Take 5 minutes each day to focus on what you already have, and it will be that much more difficult to live in a scarcity mindset.
6. Choose to focus on abundance. This might be the hardest one yet—a lesson I'm still learning. It's also where my faith kicks in. I choose to trust that there's a certain amount I can do, and a certain amount that's completely out of my hands. I try to do the work I'm called to, and do it to the best of my ability, and then trust that there will be an ever-abundant source of customers, resources, time, connections, opportunities that will come my way. It's an ongoing lesson of faith, but it's a way better way to live than to be operating out of a mindset of scarcity and fear.
Monthly words to remember:
“When you realize there is nothing lacking, the whole world belongs to you.” —Lao Tzu