Scarcity thinking sucks. Scarcity eats joy, exhausts us, and puts us in a constant state of lack. A scarcity mindset a bugger of an emotion that can easily pop up if you aren’t working your mind. The need to win or the fear of losing are both forms of lack or scarcity.
Have you ever achieved a career goal only to immediately wonder what’s next? You’ve barely absorbed the win, but you’re obsessed with your future achievement? No smiles. No celebrations. Just the need for more. This is an example of a lack-based or scarcity mindset.
What is Scarcity Mindset?
Simply stated, scarcity is the belief that there isn’t enough to go around, and you are not going to get a fair share of the limited amount. I think of it as Supply and Pie thoughts. There’s a limited supply. And, I won’t get my piece of the pie.
Scarcity makes us fearful and graspy. Lack puts us into an unnecessary competition. It can show up in lots of ways. A scarcity mindset can creep in around money, work, time, and opportunities. You think there is a ceiling on what you can earn. That you can’t possibly switch careers because that other career doesn’t pay enough. Or that people like you don’t get opportunities like that… It can look like jealousy for a colleague’s recent promotion, gossiping about a friend’s success, or comparing your account list a co-worker’s perceived ‘easy’ workload.
Scarcity thoughts, like all thoughts, create our results. If we believe there isn’t enough, there most certainly won’t be.
But what if resources were not scarce? What if that is just a thought in your head? What those “beat the odds” stories were not because someone figured out how to “beat the system,” but instead learned how to ‘beat’ their own brain and learn how to manage their minds?
Whenever we think about a thought and look for evidence that there isn’t enough, our brain will show us a ton of evidence to prove the thought. Sometimes you are so committed to your thoughts that you may not even recognize a different scenario if it was right in front of you. Fun, right?
How our brain works
Here’s what happens behind the scenes. Our mind likes to keep things easy. Our brain goes to previous experiences and uses that ‘data’ for the current lesson. It’s how the brain saves energy and keeps us alive. Great for understanding how to cut our food, not so great when we want to break belief patterns. Think of it this way, our brain is like a rocking chair on a rug. If we keep rocking in the same spot, it gets easier because we’ve created a groove in the carpet. Like our brains, if you keep thinking the same things over and over, you will deepen the thought imprints on the rug.
To change this thought pattern, you have to get some distance from the current thought and the one you want to think.
Scarcity is a brutal thought because it’s not just there are limited amounts out there; it’s also that I probably won’t get my share from the limited quantities available. It can make us controlling and, at the same time, victimy. With a side order of passive-aggressive energy. Ooof.
One of the tools I use that has helped catch the feeling of scarcity, and the corresponding thoughts is a Morning Mindset practice. For those fans of Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way, this may look similar. This practice takes the extra step to examine our thoughts, feelings, actions, and the results we create.
When I get my thoughts on paper, I can quickly become the examiner of my thoughts and see where the sneaky, lack-based ideas pop up. The Morning Mindset is a writing exercise that delivers significant benefits for a tiny amount of effort. I promise that journaling for five minutes a day can change your scarcity thinking and your life.
The Morning Mindset is a 3-step process:
Get a pen and paper. I like a notebook. And a good pen. I want a good gel tip so that I don’t get slowed down by the drag. Hey, it’s a real thing 🙂
- Begin to write
- Pull out a sentence or a thought.
- Examine the thought. Are those thoughts working for you?
How it works
When you start writing, you may be distracted and begin to write things like the shopping list, or something you need to accomplish today. This is entirely normal. Just get out what’s floating around in your head so you can examine what’s in there and choose what you want to think. Keep writing until you fill up a page. The thoughts or sentences will begin to show you what’s on your mind. Review what you’ve written and then start to pull out the thoughts that well, don’t feel that great. Are you coming from lack? A pinch of compare and despair? Take a step back and go deeper, and think where am I going? Who do I want to be through this situation? Am I showing up in a way that inspires or incites? Am I coming from abundance or lack?
Those are the juicy bits. That’s where the work is to eradicate scarcity thinking.
Coming from…wait for it…abundance, is the way to work with scarcity thinking. I actually like to go a bit further and add in a side of appreciation. Abundance means there is so much more than just enough. And when I start to appreciate all that I DO have, all that is around me, I begin to focus on that abundance, not lack. What you focus on increases. It makes a huge difference.
This is a process that takes time. You have to practice. Choose new thoughts that conjure up different feelings, enabling you to take further action and ultimately create different results.
If you come from what you want, and not the lack of it, you will start to see small shifts in your life. The brain will begin to look for ways to prove it’s right. When you genuinely believe that you will have the thing, all the wisdom on the planet, all your resources, all your intelligence of how you can have the thing will kick in, and start to figure it out. This isn’t woo-woo (although I do love me some woo-woo). If you really believe it’s true, the answer will come to you.
Here’s what I will leave you with. Start a daily practice where you allow yourself time to examine your thoughts. Writing is preferred but, at the very least, give some thought in the shower or while prepping dinner. Why are you choosing to think about what you think? Get curious. You can download my Belief Builder worksheet here to help you get started.
Coach yourself or work with a certified coach who will provide structure, accountability, and consistency to your mindset practice.
Would you like to have a conversation to see what’s possible? If you are seeking career advancement and feel stuck, I can help. Schedule a free consultation here.