Being self-employed has been a real eye-opener. It has allowed me to see things from both sides of a sales transaction. Similar to everyone else, being a consumer, I’m concerned about the cost of things. On the other hand, having to offer my services and figuring out what to charge has been challenging. As such, when people inquire into my services, most people will typically first ask, “What’s this going to cost me?” I completely understand this question as a consumer because we all need to know if we can afford a purchase. However, this question actually reveals your career mindset.
This question could also reveal a negativity bias. When it comes to coaching and counselling services, I suggest that this is not the first question that you should be asking. The main question you should be asking when considering counselling services is, “Will this make my life better than what it already is?”
Scarcity versus Abundance
Along with your career mindset, I firmly believe that people have many types of mindsets, and these mindsets impact you. One type of mindset is that of ‘abundance’ and the other is one of ‘scarcity’. I would argue that the majority of people have a scarcity mindset, which sees limitations instead of opportunities. Individuals with this way of thinking see shortages everywhere. Everything is something to hoard or fight over because there will never be enough.
I believe that it was this mindset that was the main reason for the empty shelves of canned produce during the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. There was also a shortage toilet paper and paper towels on the shelves as well. Interestingly, I could understand why people were concerned about food, but what was up with the toilet paper?! Luckily, everything did come back into balance when the media reassured people that there were no actual shortages.
Scarcity and Your Career Mindset
Coincidentally, the scarcity mindset is a strong reason for why people stay in jobs that they do not enjoy or have little satisfaction, along with possessing a strong negativity bias. This type of mindset is related to your overall career mindset. Individuals will not leave their current jobs if they do not believe that they can achieve something more meaningful and fulfilling. Many people believe that there is a finite level of ‘good’ jobs in the market, and do not want to lose the job they already have. It is this perspective of ‘loss’ that is prevalent in the minds of people with a scarcity mindset. This can also lead to hoarding what they have. Instead of making investments, they are afraid of losing what they already possess.
However, the most corrosive aspect of this mindset is being envious or jealous of other people’s successes. Instead of viewing other people as a great source of information and chances to gain benefit, they see other people’s achievements as ‘stealing’ their opportunities. In the end, it is a winner versus loser view of life. Unfortunately, these feelings and perspectives of scarcity dominate critical life and career choices. It is the main reason why potential clients first ask the question concerning cost. They are not convinced of the ‘benefits’ of my services and the knowledge I can share. For those who do not join me, they view it as a loss.
Career Mindset and Abundance
On the other hand, an abundance mindset is about believing there can always be more. People with this view believe that there are more experiences to try, more life to explore, more things to fall in love with, and more ways to turn bad situations into successes. In many ways it shares similar aspects to a growth mindset, where you and your capabilities are not carved in stone, they can be changed and developed.
With regards to career, these individuals believe that there are other jobs that are as good or even better than what they already have. Even when they experience a career setback, they treat that failed opportunity or event as a stepping stone towards greater knowledge, new skills and exciting experiences. When they see the successes of other people, they understand that their accomplishments do not take away, diminish or degrade their own. They are able to celebrate competition and the achievements of others, because it is a source of inspiration and motivation, pushing them to become better.
No one falls exclusively and totally into either a mindset of abundance or scarcity. For many people, there can be a substantial overlap. However, being in high level state of scarcity when making important decisions can be detrimental and give you an extremely biased and slanted perspective. So, to generate and grow an abundant mindset, try the following:
1. Impact Career Mindset Through Gratitude
To create an abundant life, you can’t feel jealous about what other people have, and be extremely negative and unappreciative about what you have. Change your focus to feelings of gratitude for what your have achieved and what you have acquired. Focus on the idea of expansion and growth. This will positively change your career mindset. You have strengths, passions, gifts and talents. Treat these with great appreciation, especially for the relationships and blessings in your life.
2. Celebrate Competition
Many people can see competition as negative, perceiving it as winning or losing, success or failure, and better or worse. This is the main reason that losing can leave people with feelings of jealousy, bitterness and sadness. However, there are many people who can use competition to become better. Many people can be aware of how others are performing and use that as motivation and incentive to work harder and develop skills. If you can leave your ego at the door, competition can be a great strategy to develop an abundant mindset.
3. Don’t Be a Lone Wolf, Learn from Others
Many people believe that their career journey is a solo activity, trying to achieve progress on their own. Once again, they see achievements in the light of competition, as winning and losing. However, no one achieves anything alone. Leaders have exceptional teams and remarkable people accomplish extraordinary milestones on the works of other great people. Get help and use the wisdom, experience, skills and knowledge of those around you. This is the true mindset of abundance, surrounding yourself with people who also have an abundance mentality. As they say, “No person is an island.”
4. Do More of What You Love
Spending time on activities that you love doing, prepares you to grow and challenge yourself at bigger opportunities. You can only confront and tackle new experiences when you view opportunities as exciting, energising and motivating. This is the abundant mindset. The most effective way to have a long-term boring, monotonous and stagnant career is to keep doing activities that you detest and loath. This leads you to a perspective of scarcity, because you will never desire or reach for anything better.
5. Ask, “How is this going to grow me?”
Change your key decision-making question from “What is this going to cost me?” to “How will this grow me and make me better?” When you ask a ‘cost’ question, you are actually asking if the ‘price is too high’. Unfortunately, most people give up on a better future and bigger dreams when they think that cannot ‘afford’ it. They see limits: the cost for greater education is too high, the drive to work too long, or the numbers of hours of work too tedious and hard. However, great dreams and abundance are not achieved by factors that limit you, they are accomplished through greater risk taking, employing your greatest talents and stretching your potential. The only thing standing between you and greater abundancy is your limiting beliefs, your career mindset and asking the wrong questions.
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