Several years ago, I read Dr. Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and learned about the concept of mindset and how my mindset affects every area of my life. Mindset affects my relationships, performance, influence with others, cultures, outcomes and results.
Not long after reading Dr. Covey's book for the first time, I attended leadership training with Discover Leadership, and I was awakened to my current mindset. It was one that Dr. Covey described as a Scarcity Mindset. I was shocked at this realization because up until that point, I would have described myself as a positive person. Nevertheless, I began to connect the dots from the frustrating thoughts that filled my mind to the frustrating results in every area of my life. Up until then, I would have never imagined how powerful my mindset was. I am a perfectionist. I walk into a room and immediately see what is wrong. I realized most of my conversations in life – at work, with family, friends and even my kids, revolved around what was wrong. This revelation was unsettling, and I was determined to make a change.
I decided I did not want to leave a wake of negativity with people in my life. Nonetheless, that was what I was doing and not even realizing. Every time I walked into the shop and immediately addressed everything wrong, I left a wake of negativity. What is wrong does need to be addressed; however, if all I ever do is point out what is wrong, how will that be received?
I set a goal to be intentional to find what was right and make that the topic of my conversations. When you focus on what is right and celebrate it, it produces more of what is right. I have been on the journey to train my mind and transition from a scarcity mindset to a mindset of abundance for almost four years. It is not a switch that is flipped on. This journey starts with first being aware of your current mindset. Are you currently receiving the results you desire in every area of your life? If not, look at your mindset, your thoughts, your paradigm in life. The cultures we create at work and home start with the thoughts in our minds. We either approach our leadership and relationships with a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset. The abundant mindset leader pours their knowledge and experience into the people around them, believing everyone will benefit and grow. They want others to succeed; they want to empower others to grow and succeed. The scarcity mindset leader is stingy with their knowledge, believing it will give them an edge over others. They withhold knowledge and experience from the people around them, usually stemming from insecurity. The abundant mindset leader believes there is enough in the universe for us all to win; but the scarcity mindset person believes for me to win, you must lose.
Now let me stop here and make it very clear; I believe in competition. I believe competition makes us better. But most of life is not a competition. I do not need you to fail for me to succeed. Even the competitors in my market; I do not need them to fail for my shops to be successful. Good competition makes our team grow and become the best we can be. The abundant leader operates from what Dr. Covey calls a win-win paradigm. It means we are constantly seeking mutual benefits in all our interactions. Most people are deeply ingrained in the paradigm of win-lose. In other words, I want to win, and I don't care how it affects you. Conversely, there are others who prefer to keep the peace; therefore, they are willing to live in a lose-win paradigm. This paradigm will eventually cause resentment, and there will be no long-term benefit or a healthy relationship in this situation. A win-win paradigm requires both courage and consideration. It takes only courage to win-lose; and only consideration to lose-win. To accomplish a win-win, you must have both. You must be willing to invest time, deep thought and effective communication, including listening to understand the other perspective. There also must be a decision if we cannot arrive at a solution that is a win-win for all parties, then we opt for no deal. That might be with a vendor, team member or customer. The abundant leader who operates from a win-win paradigm will develop a culture of synergy, trust and collaboration.
Study after study has shown culture has a direct impact on the bottom line, retention and the overall health of an organization and relationships. Take a few moments and reflect on how you are approaching your relationships, your personal and professional interactions. How might your mindset transition from scarcity to abundance? Write out your goals, then connect the dots starting with the thoughts you think, to the words you speak, to the actions you take. Are your thoughts guiding you to your desired results or are they limiting your actions and in turn your results?