Abundance Mentality

September 10th, 2009 by Sharon Larsen

Attaining and maintaining an abundance mentality is absolutely crucial to your success as an entrepreneur.  Although this truth ties in nicely with the idea that life gives you what you expect it to, it deserves its own consideration. What is an abundance mentality?

An entrepreneur with an abundance mentality has the ability to recognize opportunities. Look out your window. Do you see $100 bills lying in the streets, just waiting for you to pick them up? They are out there; you simply need to learn to see them.

Benjamin Franklin often quoted the old saying “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.” To a certain extent, this is true. It’s better to have something than to have nothing at all. But here’s the thing: the world is absolutely brimming with bushes, and those bushes are bursting with birds! How did you get that bird in your hand in the first place? Can you do it again?

Remember that old Ben also said, “He that would fish must venture his bait.” Surely there’s a balance that needs to be found. I recall a young man who asked me to lunch to discuss an idea of his. He was sure it would change the world. The only problem was that he clutched onto the idea so tightly, so afraid of losing it or having it stolen by someone else, that he shared it with no one. As a result, this young man will likely take “the idea of the century” to the grave with him. He suffers from the opposite of abundance mentality: scarcity mentality.

Scarcity mentality causes people to cling tightly to their “bird in the hand” because they fear being left with nothing at all. This mentality results in individuals distrusting any or all who would be their partners and collaborators. They fear jeopardizing the “great idea.”

On the other hand, an abundance mentality allows you to plan and dream, work with others, and have faith that there are more opportunities out there than you know. Not only does this mindset allow you to relax and see things for what they are, it’s a lot more enjoyable!

When Ron and I began partnering on our business Ron was living the scarcity model. He had just been through a layoff and was focused on the risk rather than the opportunity. For me, it was different: everywhere I turned there was an abundance of prospects, just waiting to be plucked from the bushes. As the year went on, we did a flip-flop! Ron had learned to trust my abundance mentality, and in doing so, began to see and trust the opportunities himself. I had been through a tough year. After a soured partnership, I went into survival mode.

As you maneuver your way through business ventures, you may fluctuate between abundance and scarcity mentalities. Learn the warning signs, and be able to take applicable action to ensure your happiness, sanity, and success.

The Warning Signs

  • You are paranoid that partners, outsourced workers, or the UPS guy might steal your great idea.
  • Instead of surveying the situation and reacting accordingly, you find yourself sticking to an original plan, regardless of how things have changed.
  • You are reluctant to expand, add new people, or make choices that will require you to branch out of your comfort zone.
  • You buy antacids in bulk.
  • In the back of your mind, you feel like any success you’re experiencing could end at any moment, so you’re constantly on guard.

Does that sound like you? If so, you need a course correction!

Porter’s Points—Abundance Mentality

  • Spring for the office lunch or buy some Girl Scout cookies when your partner’s daughter comes around collecting orders. It’s good for the soul, and reminds you that things are not as tight as they may appear.
  • You are the driving force behind your idea. Without your passion, it wouldn’t be the same. Take the right steps to protect your intellectual property and get going!
  • Bend in response to new opportunities or setbacks. A small business’s agility is its trump card: large corporations don’t have that luxury.
  • Give! Philanthropy is the surest way to release you from unnecessary panic. Giving is a surefire cure for scarcity mentality.

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