We’re in a time of cutbacks. The world is in the grip of uncertainty and economic tightness, and many are feeling the reality of too little: paychecks reduced, bills paid later than usual, workplaces with less staffing, and social interactions limited to scarce, six-foot radiuses. Despite these pressing anxieties, can we learn to think in terms of abundance, even when it’s not tangible? Using tools from the abundance mindset might conjure ideas linked to fringe or pop psychology. However, its basics can have positive influences on one’s personal and business lives, leading to enriching outlook changes, especially in an era when the immediate future has no guarantees.
What is the Abundance Mindset?
Simply put, the abundance mindset challenges people to think positively, not negatively. In the workplace, it calls for leaders and executives to embrace what they have, rather than what they’re lacking. Are you more focused on the good and happiness, or the bad and frustrations?
When finances and personal relationships are strained, we have a tendency to let pessimism take the reins; negative thoughts take hold, and before long, nothing feels good enough, and we become hyper-aware of what’s lacking in our lives. The abundance mindset calls on us to focus on what’s available, and in doing so, leads to a positive outlook that leaves us open to the possibility of good fortune, however one defines this. John C. Maxwell frames this as optimism: when it feels like we do not have enough, it’s helpful to step back to focus on what we do have, and to use even the smallest resources to the best of their availability.
How can this mindset help you lead?
The abundance mindset challenges us to completely change how we think, and reset to a more appreciative and positive framework. When this happens at the top of the workplace, it has a positive influence on the organization as a whole. An executive’s mindset will trickle down the ladder. An energized leader, focused each day on getting the most out of what’s at hand, will see a workplace with positive, inspired people. Someone stressed out by the day-to-day challenges will transfer that stress to everyone in their employ. Stress and deadlines will always be there, but people will thrive on positive outlooks and enthusiasm, rather than a cold grip. This isn’t a “don’t worry, be happy” way to approach life, but rather, a skill to look for new ways of solving problems. If we’re constantly focused on what’s missing, it’s easy to assume that nothing can be fixed; think of the old saying: “if your only tool is a hammer, then every problem is a nail.”
In addition to the psychological benefits of the abundance mindset, research suggests positive thinking can have strong links to physical health. Focusing on scarcity can lead to stress, and stress wreaks havoc on the body and mind. The abundance mindset, with its emphasis on the good and the available, can reduce stress, and therefore, be an essential key to a healthy mind and body.
Practical applications of the Abundance Mindset
Take your hypothetical workplace. In a given day, you might be overwhelmed with projects, meetings, and limited resources. Instead of focusing on the scarcity of time and help, take a moment to assess what you have at your disposal, including the intangible. Instead of thinking “I don’t have enough time to finish today’s work,” shift your mentality to “how can I use what’s available to me to effectively complete what I have to do?” You likely also have a team with you, and the point of a team is to assist each other in the common goal. Consider each individual on your team and how much they have to offer towards your common efforts. This will move you out of a negative bubble, and help you to look around to see the situation for what it actually is: you, a person in your position because you’re qualified and trusted to do your job, even if the immediate circumstances are less than ideal. You, a person with a group, with defined roles, but willing and able to assist others when needed.
Abundance in and out of the workplace
Socially, especially in a world of lockdowns and distancing, it’s easy to miss connecting with friends and acquaintances who are, in essence, inaccessible, and long for the ability to meet for coffee or a meal without a second thought. With abundance at the forefront, you can use the technology at your disposal to bridge the gap—text messages, phone calls, and video conferencing, while not the same as inhabiting a physical space, are valuable resources, and can reaffirm the wealth of your personal connections until it’s possible to freely inhabit the same spaces. Instead of being frustrated over limitations, the abundance mindset reminds you that friends and loved ones are still nearby, just in different forms.
This is the same mindset and approach that will serve you well in your professional life as well. When you’re focused on abundance in your personal life, the positive energy will translate to your business too. Seeing value and abundance in your social life will translate to seeing the same in your professional life; the interactions may be different, but the connections are there. You’ll see and feel the value of your associates and staff, and continually remember the essentials they bring to their jobs, day in and day out.
Does the abundance mindset make everything better all the time?
An important idea to keep in mind when practicing abundant thinking is not to completely dismiss your problems or limitations. Bad days will happen. Social isolation will feel like a never-ending cycle. Work days will end without everything completed or satisfactory. But beyond a “one day at a time” mentality, an abundance mindset will help you see the big picture, and understand that overall? You have more than enough in your life to succeed. It takes patience, openness, and will help you realize how much you actually have; it’s just a matter of using them effectively. Employees will feel the effects of your positive energy, and fostering a sense of determined calm and positivity absolutely boosts morale more than a constantly negative approach to daily life and setbacks, big and small. Don’t let an off day derail you from implementing this mindset shift in the big picture.
Struggling to find bright spots in your work and career? Working with a coach can help!