Podcast Episode 30: How To Stop A Scarcity Mindset

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Simply stated, scarcity is the belief that there isn’t enough to go around and you most certainly are not going to get a fair share. In this episode: 

  • Understand how scarcity thinking impacts money, work, time, and career opportunities
  • Learn 3 mindset tools to bust scarcity thinking
  • Get my best morning mindset practice to catch scarcity mindset before it starts

Scarcity eats joy, exhausts us, and puts us in a constant state of lack. It’s a bugger of an emotion that can easily pop up if you aren’t working your mind.

Read The Transcript
Hey y’all I’m Jill Griffin. Welcome back to this week’s podcast. 

I’ve been thinking about this topic for a while and I’m bumping it up in my podcast queue because I am seeing and hearing more and more people struggling with the topic. 

It’s scarcity. 

A scarcity mindset is when you are so obsessed with a lack of something — usually time or money — that you can’t seem to focus on anything else, no matter how hard you try.

Scarcity thinking sucks. Scarcity eats joy, exhausts us, and puts us in a constant state of lack. It’s 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. 

We see scarcity a lot in corporate environments. Promotions and raises are scarce. There are not enough resources. We hoard information because what if our colleagues used the info to get ahead? 

Stephen Covey initially coined the terms scarcity mentality versus an abundance mindset.in his best-selling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

A scarcity mentality is what keeps many of us from achieving our goals. An abundance mindset refers to the paradigm that there is plenty out there for everybody. 

When you have thoughts of scarcity, from thoughts, of what you don’t have, it’s easy to see everything from this mindset. It’s easy to believe that you don’t have enough education, or you need one more certification before you can apply for the job or get the promotion or find your purpose (which btw you don’t find, you choose, but that’s an upcoming episode.)

You think thoughts like I need my skills won’t transfer, I’m older than everyone else…like my client who had a passion project he wanted to pursue but kept saying things he’s the oldest guy in the room, he can’t move the way all the younger people can…i told him shush and to get a pair of knee pads. I used much more colorful language. We still laugh about it today. 

But this mindset is focusing on everything you don’t have. 

It’s easy to believe that you won’t get the salary you deserve or that you don’t deserve to pursue your dream. 

Have you ever had a thought like, I want a new job because I hate my current job? 

That thought wont deliver results. The idea that you can stop the pain of the current job environment by trading it for a new environment never works. 

Wherever you go there you are, as author Jon Kabat Zinn writes in his book of that title. You may be able to hustle your way there, but you can’t go from lack and scarcity thinking to abundance and success. You can’t get there from here.  

It’s like starving your way thin. You may get there but good luck sustaining it. The energy of a hustle that is fueled by fear or scarcity never works. 

Scarcity also shows up in other ways….Ever achieve a career goal only to immediately wonder what’s next? You’ve barely absorbed the win, you don’t reflect on why you went after this goal, you’re obsessed with your future achievement? No smiles. No celebrations. Just the need for more. This is a scarcity mindset. On the brain health side of things, I’ve talked about this before how when you are in scarcity you are always chasing the next win and you don’t complete the reward cycle so you always need more. 

Check out episode #18 on why celebration is the key to your success for a deeper dive.  

What is Scarcity?

Simply stated, scarcity is the belief that there isn’t enough to go around and you most certainly are not going to get a fair share. I think of it as Supply and Pie thoughts. There’s a limited supply. And, I won’t get my piece of the pie. 

Simply stated, scarcity is the belief that there isn’t enough to go around and you most certainly are not going to get a fair share This 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. I can’t wait to lose all the weight because then things will be perfect, or that people like me 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 with a co-worker’s perceived ‘easy’ workload. It’s sneaky. And it feels heavy and gross. 

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 is or isn’t enough, our brain will show us a ton of evidence to prove the thought.

 What if you could feel how you believe you will feel when you have the thing, now? Feeling the feeling of success now, the mind drama chills out and the brain, your brain, starts to see solutions. It looks at what’s possible. 

The reality is when you feel the feeling of having the thing FIRST, you begin to take actions from that place. Focus on having it. Not the lack of it. 

Yes, it’s a mind trick but it’s how we change our thoughts and get into creation. Scarcity and lack dissipate. 

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. 

How do you do this? 

Here are some of my favorite tools and mindset hacks. 

First, you need to confront the shitty committee. I’m talking about the committee in your head. Every time you have a thought like, I don’t think I am going to get this opportunity, or there’s a lot of competition for this role, I am not sure they are going to pick me, or even we are so short on staff and I don’t have enough time to do all this work, I am going to ask you to find the evidence.

Prove to me ahead of time that you are not going to get the opportunity. 
Can you PROVE it? I didn’t think so. 

So look at the thoughts you are telling yourself and maybe you can start to be a little nicer to yourself and remind yourself of what you do have in a situation. You may not get it all done but approaching from resourcefulness and an abundance mindset will get you a greater return on the investment than a scarcity mindset. 

Next I want you to build a celebratory committee. This one is IRL, and not in your head. Who are you hanging out with? The quality of your life, your career, your dreams is often a direct reflection of the expectations of your peer group. 
I want to be around people who inspire me. Who stretch and support me. It’s why I hired a coach and am part of a mastermind of other entrepreneurs who are also challenging and managing their minds. 

If you are an employee you can find people for your celebratory committee at your workplace, but also at industry and trade events. You’re not sending out invitations it’s more that you are clear with who’s on your short list to call. 

You are allowed to outgrown people. 

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. 

I’ll stick the link to my belief builder worksheet in the show notes if you want to take the work a step further. 

Ok my friends, have a fabulous week and I will see you next time.