If you own just a few business books, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People should be on your shelf. Though nearly 30 years old, Stephen Covey’s guide continues to be an essential primer on transforming your personal life and your business.
In its pages, Covey defines the scarcity mindset or mentality: “Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as only having 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.”
As a Business Owner, the scarcity mindset transforms the marketplace into the cutthroat arena of you vs. the world. The only way to win is for someone else to lose. After all, there’s only so much business success to go around.
That kind of paranoia can be downright catastrophic to a business. When you believe that good fortune is in short supply, you make business decisions based on fear, mistrust industry peers and put your growing company in a stranglehold.
But freeing yourself of the scarcity mindset can revolutionize your business in three critical areas.
Area #1: Make Sound Business Decisions
No one makes the very best decisions when flooded with adrenaline. And living with a scarcity mindset puts constant, enormous pressure on you as a Business Owner.
If you worry that you’ll lose your entire client base to a competitor, you may panic and shove a shoddy product out to market before it’s ready. Or, if you assume your vendors are always looking to rip you off, your business relationships and opportunities will decay.
But when you lose the scarcity mentality, you’re free to back off your aggressively defensive position and take a big step back to gain perspective. You stop obsessing about everyone else’s activities and begin to focus on your own company.
When you do, you’re able to steer your business down the path that’s best suited to your vision and your clients. And you position yourself to create true, win-win relationships.
Area #2: Take The Right Kinds Of Chances
Building a business takes guts. You’re taking a massive risk by investing your time, money and energy into something you’re creating from scratch. After all, great success requires taking some chances that other people might be afraid to try.
But a scarcity mindset can prompt you to freeze up—or worse—take the wrong kinds of risks. Maybe you take on extreme company debt. Or you blow off quality assurance as you rush to market. Or you attempt to manage a burgeoning company single-handedly.
When you embrace an abundance mindset, you recognize not every risk is a healthy one. Sometimes the best course of action is sticking with your well-designed plan or proven process.
And you recognize when the right opportunity comes along. A fresh marketing approach, a store expansion or the right hires are risks that can pay unfathomable rewards.
Area #3: Find Your Tribe
In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey warns against the extraordinary loneliness of the scarcity mentality: “The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit—even with those who help in the production. They also have a hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.”
When you loosen your grip on the idea of success scarcity, you’re see allies instead of enemies. Employees become trusted advisors and teammates on your journey. Your clients morph into loyal fans. And you may even look at some competitors as knowledgeable, insightful peers.
When you learn to embrace abundance in your business, you experience a truly transformative mindshift. And, by ridding yourself of the scarcity mindset, your business will flourish in the world.
image credit: Bigstock/VH-studio
Dr. Tony is the co-founder of MindShift.money and the best-selling author of three books on personal and business finances. Having achieved Financial Freedom at 27, Dr. Tony believes that through Financially Fit Bootcamp and Cash Flow Cure everyone can get there. He has made it his life’s mission to help others live a life where their money works for them—not the other way around.