Through the years I’ve volunteered for or worked alongside some noteworthy leaders. I work hard to emulate their best practices whenever I lead. Lately I’ve been noting some of those best practices, creating a quick-refresh list so I can keep key operatives at the forefront of my thinking. As I’ve written, however, they’ve expanded and become a series. This, the first, is:
Foster Abundance Mentality
In a phrase, your candle doesn’t have to go out for another’s to burn brightly.
Coined by Stephen Covey in describing habit #4 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, this one permanently changed my thinking years ago:
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.
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. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.
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.
Protective territorialism stifles generosity. It keeps you from telling someone else what you know, even for noble reasons. Someone must win, and someone must lose. The loser isn’t going to be me! Fear prevents us from taking a chance in sharing valuable information, even if it could do a great deal of good. “What if they are better with that information than I am? What if they make more than I do? What if they write the book I wanted to?” and on it goes.
To go for win-win one must be confident. Considerate. Sensitive. Brave, said Covey. Why brave? Because it takes courage to believe that you can have yours—and help others get theirs, and no one needs to take a loss.
The best leaders I know work from an abundance mentality. The next time you participate in a candle-light vigil or a Christmas Eve service with candle flames passed through the audience, remember abundance thinking. My candle doesn’t have to go out for yours – and yours – and yours, to burn brightly! It works just as well the rest of the year.