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Why Mindset Matters to Your Business (i.e. Scarcity vs. Abundance)

When you’re struggling or thriving in your work, have you ever stopped to consider your mindset?

No matter what’s going on in your business, your mindset will impact the way you feel about it. In your moments of scarcity mindset, even gaining a big new client won’t be enough for you. In your moments of abundance, however, even losing a big client won’t shake you–you’ll trust that things will work out and you’ll feel that you have all that you need.

Really, at the end of the day, your mindset is what determines your success in business. Why? Because success is not about making money, success is about feeling happy and fulfilled in life. Success is accessible no matter how much you acquire or how many clients you sign.

So what are these mindsets that impact us so much? I like to think of them in terms of SCARCITY vs. ABUNDANCE.

Scarcity vs. Abundance Mindset

A scarcity mindset is the belief that there will never be enough. It results in feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety.

On the other hand, an abundance mindset flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It’s grounded in the belief that there is more than enough for everyone. 

How does this apply to you in your everyday life? It’s everywhere. 

Brene Brown says we start off the morning thinking we didn’t get enough sleep, go through the day thinking we don’t have enough time, and fall asleep thinking we failed to accomplish enough tasks. Whatever we have, do, or get, it’s never enough. Throughout the day, as we interact with others, we are painfully aware of what we’re missing: looks, smarts, talent, luck, money, peace, creativity—you name it.

Not only are all of these comparisons discouraging and even debilitating, they distort and hide the tremendous gifts we have been given.

As a business owner, scarcity often comes up as we think “if someone else gets that contract or client it means I lose out”, “if someone else is succeeding then I must be failing”, or “I need to hustle to stay ahead because otherwise I will lose out”. 

I’m curious about your experience with scarcity as it relates to your business. Specifically, what scarce thoughts creep in about your business? Where do you see scarcity getting the best of you, and how can you begin to shift your mindset in a way that transitions to being enough, just as you are?

No matter who you are, what you do, or where you live, you will experience both scarcity and abundance in different areas of your life. Scarce thoughts will come and go, just as abundant thoughts and feelings come and go. Our task, then, is to learn to recognize these thoughts when they come, notice how they impact our mental state and well-being, and learn to channel those thoughts into an intentional practice of abundance. 

In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, Stephen Covey explains that when you live in a world of scarcity, you compete for available resources, even when there is an abundance of them.

My struggle with scarcity

I don’t know about you, but this became especially true for me when the pandemic struck. I had never experienced such strong thoughts of scarcity, but it felt like I was suddenly surrounded by them. This was probably because there was a tangible experience of scarcity even in the grocery store with empty shelves and diminishing resources. Suddenly, everything I had always had at my fingertips was no longer there. My business was cut down by more than half, we were afraid my husband would lose his job, and I was rationing our food and toilet paper among my four children. I was holding out for things to get better after a few months, and when they didn’t I sank even further. It felt like things were doomed to continue on this roller coaster ride, with deeper and more expansive lows every time. Those lows started to include earthquakes, fires, hurricanes, political strife, human inequality, and so much more. How was I supposed to feel a sense of abundance amidst so much scarcity?

With so much chaos and turmoil around me, my only option for peace and abundance was to turn inward. What if I already had everything I needed inside of me? What if I didn’t need to rely on external circumstances to bring me peace? What if, instead, I could discover my own strength and value by seeing the abundant person I am, simply because I am alive?

I spent a lot of time meditating, connecting with God, reading scriptures, and spending quality time with my family. I communicated with people who meant the most to me, and I worked to create opportunities to connect with people I didn’t know yet. I continue to come face to face with scarce thoughts, but I am also learning how to experience greater peace, hope, and fulfillment. 

I understand now why people call abundance a “practice”: we have to consistently practice these thoughts. They don’t just come naturally, especially in the face of loss. 

How to gain awareness of your mindset

Take some time to think about your mindset. Do you tend toward scarcity or abundance? In what ways can you experience a healthier mindset? In the space below, write down any areas where you would like to improve. You may simply share your thoughts as they come, or contribute ideas related to one or more of the following questions: 

  • Do you find yourself subscribing more to a scarcity mindset or an abundance mindset?
  • How is a scarcity mindset damaging?
  • What pulls you into scarcity mindset?
  • How do you recognize when you’re operating from scarcity?
  • What concrete actions can you take to move into an abundance mentality?

Where does scarcity come from?

Now that we’ve talked a bit about what scarcity and abundance mean, we’re going to talk more about where they come from.

The terms are growing more and more common these days. I believe much of that is in thanks to Dr. Brene Brown and her amazing work on vulnerability and shame. 

According to Brene Brown, “We spend inordinate amounts of time calculating how much we have, want and don’t have, and how much everyone else has, needs and wants”, says Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly. “…we are often comparing our lives, our marriages, our families, and our communities to unattainable, media-driven versions of perfection, or we’re holding up our reality against our own fictional account of how great someone else has it.”

In business, this often happens when we imagine where we want to end up, we look around and see someone else that has it already, and we automatically assume we are failing because we aren’t there too. We unconsciously compare our success to others success, and assume that if we don’t have what someone else does, that there must be something wrong. You may have thoughts like “I must be doing it wrong”, “I’m just not cut out for this”, or “I’ll never get where I want to go at this rate, I’m running myself ragged and will never achieve what others have done.”

It’s exhausting, isn’t it? And if you’re anything like me, it happens right under your nose without warning. You may not even detect those thoughts, you just know that you’re losing steam and feeling discouraged. You may want to slow down, change directions, or even give up. All because you don’t have what someone else has.

The funny thing is, when we are comparing ourselves to others, we don’t really know what that other person had to go through, or is currently going through, to get where they are now.

The opposite of scarcity, of course, is abundance. Instead of coming from a place of comparison or fear, abundance seems to grow out of gratitude and the assurance of self worth. When we truly appreciate what we already have, there is little sense of urgency to secure more for ourselves. Yes, we will continue to work toward positive experiences and outcomes, but our actions will not be the result of fear. Instead, they will be the offspring of HOPE.

Where abundance is present, hope is strong. We may hope for our own personal growth, for positive change, for peace. When we believe that all we have is enough, and all we are is enough, it is easy to have hope for the future. We approach each new challenge from a place of peace instead of fear, and that makes all the difference. 

How to Recognize Scarcity vs. Abundance

Abundance = Hope, 

Scarcity = Despair and discouragement 

Scarcity = anxiety and fear

 Abundance = gratitude and peace

They are two opposite sides of the same coin. You may have the exact same experience as someone next to you, but feel completely different about it. Perhaps someone responds to an event with optimism while you feel nothing but despair. Or, perhaps you feel hope in response to an event while someone else struggles to get out of bed as a result. So much of our health wittles down to our thought patterns, and if our thoughts are primarily scarce, we will experience a great deal of anxiety, frustration, and despair. If our thoughts are primarily abundant, we will feel hope, peace, and gratitude. 

YOUR EMOTIONS are the barometer for your mindset. What you feel is a dead giveaway for your inner thought process, either conscious or unconscious. 

Take a moment right now to check in with yourself. Place your hands over your heart and ask yourself: how am I doing? What am I feeling? Don’t place any judgment on whether the feeling is “good” or “bad”, simply be mindful of what is there.



Do you have words for your emotions right now? If so, go ahead and write them down somewhere. 



Now you get to learn from those emotions that you just labeled. Are you operating from scarcity, or from abundance? Do you believe that you are enough just as you are, or are you waiting until you become more before you trust in your worth? Whatever you’re experiencing, learn from it. Let it guide you as you practice abundance.

As you are aware of your emotional reactions, you will come to find that your mindset may not influence your actions as much as your emotions. That means that your actions may look exactly the same when you operate from scarcity vs. abundance, but the difference will be in your mindset. Your mindset is your motive for acting. 

For example, if I sit down to work on marketing from a scarcity perspective, I might feel urgency, fear, and a desire to get ahead so I don’t lose. On the other hand, if I work on marketing from an abundance perspective, I feel hope, gratitude for work opportunities, and the desire to share value with even more people. Abundance is not a blind “Pollyanna” outlook on life, it is a driver of action, with peace and contentment at the wheel.

So as you continue to move forward in your business, start to notice the thoughts that surround your actions. Are you operating from fear or hope? Anxiety or peace? Scarcity or abundance?

It is a powerful measure to check in with your emotions. And it is especially powerful to act with courage, confidence, and the assurity that you are, in fact, enough.

How to Challenge Scarcity

  1. Meditation
  2. Positive affirmations on abundance
  3. Become aware of your thoughts and emotions
  4. Practice Gratitude 
  5. Journal
  6. Write thank you notes
  7. Be vocal with compliments
  8. Surround yourself with positive people
  9. Do things you love
  10. Challenge and replace thoughts (Label your thoughts. If they are scarce, write the abundant opposite, and say it out loud.)

As you press forward in your entrepreneurial journey, I wish you all the best. I wish you every success and happiness, and extend the hope that you will find it within yourself.

If you feel that you would benefit from talking through your mindset with a fellow therapist, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I offer coaching in this area, and would love to support you.