Shane and I had a very rough time financially for the first few years in our marriage. We were raising 3 small children (9mo, 3yo and 6yo), we were young (23 & 28), not established in our careers and had no savings. Add to that a couple medical situations that added BIG bills and things got rough – think food banks, utilities shut off, etc.
I will never forget the time I was in Wal-Mart with two other ladies and all our kids. Having been cooped up and needing to get out of the house, I tagged along with a friend and her friend (whom I didn’t know). Jacob was about 2 and grabbed one of those big bouncy balls as we passed the toy department. He carried that thing throughout the store. When it came time to check out, I took it from him to put it back- queue screaming and crying. He was heart broken and not a child that trows fits. But I didn’t have the $2.99 to buy him the ball. In that moment, seeing the heartbreak on my babies face over something so small that I couldn’t give him, I broke inside. It was what cracked the mask of strength I had been wearing.
Now the two ladies I was with didn’t really have disposable cash either, they were in their own situations of living paycheck to paycheck. Regardless, Janine (who was a few years older than I) took one look at Jacob, looked in my eyes and said, “I’ve got this.” She bought the ball.
If she had been suffering from Scarcity Mentality that moment never would have taken place. She would only have worried about how it affected her wallet and not cared about the tearful mom and 2 year old that she had just met.
While I don’t know where Janine is now or how she’s doing she taught me a lesson I’ll never forget.
Evaluate Your Thoughts
Let’s step back and take stock for a moment. Be really honest in your answers to these questions:
- When you’re decluttering your home do you struggle letting things go because you never know when you’ll need them?
- With your blog, do you feel like your niche is overcrowded and there’s no way for you to stand out? Then you don’t pin, share or comment on other blogs in your same space because that might send traffic their way.
- If you’re in a direct sales business, do you make yourself an island among the other distributors? Why share ideas with them – they’re the competition.
- When you introduce one friend to another and they get along really well, do you worry then they won’t have time or an interest in you anymore?
- At work, if someone else is getting praised for a job well done or a promotion do you get jealous and worry that your options are now limited? Do you have a hard time giving kudos to colleagues?
- When you see someone else’s child make the select soccer team – do you have a hard time being excited for them and their son/daughter because you’re worried and thinking that’s one less spot for yours?
- We’ve all felt these, I can raise my hand to all of them. But that’s scarcity thinking and it’s holding us back from achieving our goals and limiting us from being happy.
What is Scarcity Mentality
Scarcity Mentality is the belief that everything is limited, and thus it is better to be selfish then generous.
“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.” – Stephen Covey
How It’s Holding You Back and What you Can Do About It
Looking at a few of the examples above:
Your blog. You’ve decided to launch a blog, or you’ve already launched one and it’s not growing as fast as you hoped. You start to doubt yourself because there are lots of other sites with the same focus. So you don’t start or you don’t share the content of these other blogs on social media. <-Scarcity Mentality
Think about this – are they coming at it with the same lens you have? No, they haven’t had the same experiences. Therefore they will attract different readers than you. By not starting your site, sharing their content and building relationships with other bloggers you’re alienating yourself from people who could be great allies. What if you all formed a group to share each others content with your audiences? You know that’s an audience who has similar interests meaning you could gain additional readers and they could too. Win-Win.
With friends. This is one that really has been tough for me. I have a jealous streak and a fear of being left out (issues, right?). Introducing friends to other friends was scary for me. I just knew that if I invited two girlfriends to lunch and introduced them they were going to start hanging out, having a great time together and then never have time for me. <-Scarcity Mentality
Who is that serving? Me and it’s extremely selfish. I’ve matured, worked on myself and realized that when the people I care about get along and enrich each other’s lives we all win. Now you could say I’m a friend matchmaker and our parties/bbq’s are big, loud and fun.
After listening to the scarcity voice for most of my life and seeing where it held me back, I’ve instead adopted an Abundance Mentality.
“The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flow out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.” – Stephen Covey
Taking it back to Stephen Covey’s pie – if the pie runs out we’ll just bake another one.
Have you let scarcity mentality hold you back?