change your mindset

In all my years of working with leaders around “being their best”, I have found the wise words of Steven Covey (from his amazing book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”) and his work on adopting an Abundance Mindset to be the best resource.

Leaders are in unique roles, faced with challenging decisions everyday – some immediate and others long term. Having the proper schooling and pedigree helps in arriving at the right decisions, as well as a strong team around you – but in the end, embracing the right mindset can (and will) drive those decisions so it’s critical to understand:

  • What is mindset?
  • The difference between Scarcity vs. Abundance
  • How to adopt an Abundant mindset in the workplace

What is mindset?

Before I move forward, let me explain how “growth mindset” plays a role here since I am often asked about the amazing work of Carol Dweck (and her popular book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success) which states:

  • We have a belief which limits our potential or enables our success. It often marks the difference between excellence and mediocrity. It influences our self-awareness, our self-esteem, our creativity, our ability to face challenges, our resilience to setbacks, our levels of depression, and our tendency to stereotype, among other things. Much of who you are on a day-to-day basis comes from your mindset. Your mindset is the view you have of your qualities and characteristics – where they come from and whether they can change.

These following two mindsets represent the extreme ends on either side of a spectrum.

  • fixed mindset comes from the belief that your qualities are carved in stone – who you are is who you are, period. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality, and creativity are fixed traits, rather than something that can be developed.
  • growth mindset comes from the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Yes, people differ greatly – in aptitude, talents, interests, or temperaments – but everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

The difference between Scarcity vs. Abundance

Hopefully you now can see both how valuable it is to adopt a growth mindset but also instrumental in embracing one full of abundance vs. scarcity. In fact, embodying a growth mindset while coming from a place of scarcity would be the equivalent of driving a sports car at high speeds with the emergency brake on – it would defeat the purpose all together.

“Being” abundant and coming from an abundant mindset can propel a good leader into a great one based on how they approach their roles. The temptation to call it being positive, optimistic or something else is always there but whatever you choose, make sure it embraces the core reasoning that Steven Covey discussed in his book. Another brilliant author, John C. Maxwell summed it up perfectly in from this article about successful leaders:

  • 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. They also have a hard time being genuinely happy for the success of others.
  • The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth or security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, recognition, profits and decision-making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.

Here’s a great visual to further help you understand the differences between the two mindsets:

How to adopt an Abundant mindset in the workplace

I want to preface that although I am writing this for leaders in the workplace, these actions and principles apply to everyone – including you…yes you! We are all leaders remember? Life doesn’t stop in or out of the workplace. Here are 6 vital and valuable ways to start today:

  1. Raise your self-awareness about your thinking. Practicing mindfulness and mindful breathing can support your ability to pause and examine if your thoughts are coming from a place of scarcity or abundance. Here’s how to being today.
  2. Practice gratitude. I can’t state this enough – being of service and practicing gratitude is one of the most powerful and easy ways to create happiness within yourself and others while embracing an abundant mindset. I ask my clients to keep a gratitude journal to write down the things in their life they are most grateful for. Here’s how to begin today.
  3. Share your gift. When you serve others in a selfless manner, sharing your expertise in an effort to empower others – that is what I like to call paying it forward. This in return emboldens your confidence, spreads your vision and lifts up those around you…win, win and win. Here’s how to begin today.
  4. Check your blind spots. Having a myopic view on things is the equivalent of walking through life with blinders on – leaving you with only 50% of the whole picture. Expanding your viewpoint is dependent on expanding your focal point. Expand your curiosity and ask more questions as this will provide context, clarification and learning. Here’s how to begin today.
  5. Watch your inner circle. We all know we are the sum of the five people we spend the most time with so make sure those people are anchors to your ship. Find people who share similar interests, beliefs, goals and oh yes…. mindsets. Here’s how to begin today.
  6. Loose lips, sink ships. The words you use hold incredible power and wielded around without thought and care can cause harm to both people, organizations and even countries. Ask yourself, are you speaking from a place of scarcity or abundance? Here’s how to begin today.

Final thoughts: When you adopt an abundance mindset, opportunities for more learning and successes will become more readily visible, available and ultimately more enriching. Once you start to look for more, you will find more. As Wayne Dwyer said, “abundance is not something we acquire, it’s something we tune into.”

The floor is yours: How important is a leaders mindset in the workplace?

With leadership,

Joshua /

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