Moving from a Scarcity to an Abundance Mindset in the Creative Field

I keep seeing evidence of a "scarcity mentality" in myself...and in you readers. I want to give you a few things to think about, but here's the payoff:

Your scarcity mentality has you stretching for opportunity as if you'll never see it again. As if you're suddenly going to turn incompetent and all the work will dry up. As if you don't deserve anything. As if you're a little crying baby wondering where the warm milk is and panicking because you don't see it right in front of you.

I see this in myself, too. Nevermind that I ran a firm for six years and have been doing this for decades. But you and I hoard opportunity like your mother in law in a post-war world saved pennies. It's based on this belief that the future is uncertain, possibly dire, and certainly not expansive and wonderful.

We've got to stop this because it can affect everything you do, like this:

  • You don't hire that amazing prospective employee because it stretches you beyond the normal as you have experienced it.
  • You know what value pricing calls for in a specific proposal, but you're worried that people will just be sitting around costing you money if the client sees a higher price than they are expecting.
  • You take on a project you have no business doing because you're afraid that your client--the one whose relationship isn't all that secure, in your mind--will date another firm and marry them.
  • You're still paying yourself a pathetic amount--maybe 20% more than your highest paid employee--because it creates less pressure.

The opposite of this mentality is one of abundance. Not the bullsh1t that TV evangelists preach, but the self-confident belief in yourself...and in your past. Why wouldn't things get better? What real evidence is that there you can't identify and then bridge your own deficiencies? Or at least acknowledge and then work around them?

I talk a lot about being deliberate and making smart business decisions about positioning, staffing, succession, and your firm's performance. But there are times--against that background--when you must be a little reckless:

I don't care what happens to this proposal: whether they accept it or not. I'm tired of being stuck in this box. It's not fair to me, to my team, and to my clients, ultimately.

An abundance mentality is rooted in the notion that there are many avenues to success. If you fail at this firm, you'll still be fine. Start a new one or do something else. It helps you step out of your comfort zone and try things--especially the things that would lead to more success than you have experienced.

I see so many of you who seemed trapped. You keep telling me that I don't understand your marketplace ("I can't recruit great people here"), your industry ("they think we are expensive"), your people ("they don't have the same work ethic"), and your comp ("I don't want to put too much pressure on the business").

It's a defeatist attitude leased straight from the First Bank of Scarcity.

I'd love to see some of you try to think differently. From abundance, and not scarcity.

I'd like to see you believe in the possibilities...or just close the darn firm and move to a role where you see things differently.

It's not a zero-sum world. And your limitations are just that: yours.

If we were all more afraid of the same lame results as were of failure, we might step out of our comfort zones some more.

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