Is Your Leadership a Map of Scarcity? - Blog Post

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Is Your Leadership a Map of Scarcity?

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As I work with leaders in organizations, one thing is abundantly clear: we are all human. And as humans, we carry certain beliefs – ways of seeing the world, our own mental “maps.” Some of these maps are helpful and some of them aren’t. None of them are actual reality.

A map that is particularly troublesome is that of scarcity, the mindset of “not enough.” From this vantage point, you often worry about how there is not enough time, money, control, or security.

Consider how you react when you function from this mental map. When it comes to competing in business, the competition becomes win/lose – a fight to the death.

We get trapped in thinking that all resources are finite and business becomes a game of musical chairs. There are only so many and when the music stops, I had better be ready to push anyone out of the way to get mine. In other words, this mental map often leads to decisions that create drama and toxicity rather than peace and cooperation.

This mindset shows up around so many aspects of our lives. Let’s use time as an example. How many times have you said to yourself, “If I only had more hours in the day.” We rush from one thing to the next and wonder why we a) we feel like we’re on a treadmill getting nowhere and b) we feel so exhausted at the end of every day.

When we believe that we don’t have enough time, life is compressed, and we constantly feel the squeeze of attempting to get everything in. We also run solely on the energy of adrenaline.

Let’s consider an alternative map –a mentality that is based in having all the time that we need to get the things done. What if you began your day with that belief instead?

If you are willing to practice this approach, you will notice that time actually feels like it is moving slower, even though the clock ticks along as it always has.

Functioning from a map of scarcity or “not enough” has disastrous effects on our decision-making. When we believe that there isn’t enough, we are simply functioning from fear. Fear of a future that hasn’t happened yet and one that we imagine will find us broke and alone.

We then make our decisions based on how we can avoid becoming broke and alone. These are not decisions made based on how we can create a win for everyone, or how we can create the best life for ourselves, or how our employees can get the best work done.

Essentially, our decisions are based on the limited possibilities of surviving rather than the abundance of thriving.

What are the ways in which you see scarcity showing up in your leadership and your life? What is your relationship to time, money, and love? Are you following a map of “not enough”?

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