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Are You Having A Scarcity Conversation?

Are You Having A Scarcity Conversation?

money

    With the economy the way it is, lately I’ve heard a lot of comments like, “I want to start a business, but I just can’t afford it right now,” and “I want to invest in learning how to start a business, but I don’t have the money to put into it.”

    This is a legitimate, honest concern, but this kind of thinking could destroy your business dreams and sabotage your success. I’m going to show you how to make a small shift in thinking so you can stop the “scarcity conversation” and start an “investment conversation” that will transform the way you see your finances and your business.

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    “The scarcity conversation,” is a term I picked up from a client, who once said to me, “I’m scared to death because I know in my heart that I should start this business, but I don’t know if I can spend the money to do what I need to do to make it succeed. I’m having a major scarcity conversation with myself.”

    First, I want to tell you that I’ve been there. I had times when I was living paycheck to paycheck, barely getting by, praying nothing would go wrong with the car or the furnace. And once, in a single day, I received $3,000 in bills that I didn’t know how to pay. I’ll never forget those moments of abject fear and panic, wondering where I was going to find that money. I’ll never forget wanting to do things I didn’t think I could afford, needing to buy things and knowing I couldn’t.

    What is a “scarcity conversation,” anyway? A scarcity conversation is the dialogue you have in your head (or sometimes with other people) and you hear any of these words cropping up with regularity: “I can’t afford….” “I don’t know how I’m going to pay for….” “I wish I could ______, but I don’t have the money for that.”

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    Why is a scarcity conversation a problem? If you’ve read my blogs and e-zines, you know that I approach business in a way that’s different from most other startup experts. I have a hybrid approach that brings in all kinds of disciplines, including psychology and personal growth – because I know that your mindset and not just what you’re thinking but how you’re thinking have a massive impact on the level of your success. So the first reason why you want to get out of the scarcity conversation is because it constantly hammers away at the mindset you need to succeed. The scarcity conversation is all about fear. It’s about uncertainty. It’s about self-doubt. And you absolutely must get out of those thinking patterns to be able to make decisions as an entrepreneur, without doubting everything you do.

    The second reason to move out of the scarcity conversation is also mindset-related. The “I can’t afford it” mentality locks you into a way of thinking that you’ll find extremely difficult to get out of, and that becomes a real issue in business.  The “I can’t afford it” type of scarcity conversation has a way of growing and spreading so that it starts applying to anything, even things you need to grow your business. You won’t put your dollars in the right places if you have “I can’t afford it” floating around in your head.

    My company would never have become the success it is today if I hadn’t gotten out of this mindset. I forced myself to stop thinking in terms of scarcity at a time when my business wasn’t growing and I needed help. It would have been the easiest time to let “I don’t have the money for that” become the scarcity conversation in my head, but I took another path. I thought, “What does my business need to grow and thrive?” and that’s when I hired the consultants and attended classes and seminars that made the difference. If I had said, “I can’t afford this,” I’d still be back where I was, when finding $3,000 bills in my mailbox was panic-inducing.

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    The point I’m making is, if you spend your life focusing on what you can’t afford, things won’t change. But if you change your focus, everything will change. If you focus on putting your money- investing it- where it can bring you back the most return, your life, your business, your mindset will transform.

    Instead of having the scarcity conversation, have an investment conversation. And I don’t mean stocks and bonds. I mean a conversation about what you can invest in that will make the difference for you. It’s like that old adage, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” For you, that can be transitioned into “Find a consultant who can give you a fish, and you’ll invest in a nice fish dinner. Invest in a consultant who will show you how to fish, and you’ll be able to feed yourself for a lifetime.” 

    Figure out what classes, workshops and consultants will teach you how to fish – not just give you the fish for now – and invest in what they have to offer. You’ll be making a wise investment that will take you to a place where “I can’t afford it” will be a thing of the past.

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    Incidentally, that client I spoke of at the beginning of this article, the one who said, “I don’t know if I can spend the money to do what I need to do to make it succeed”? She went on to invest in her business. She invested in designing a  business that would work for the lifestyle she wanted, and got trained on how to create a unique brand with a clear target market, how to create and launch new products, how to let the world know she exists, and how to establish herself as an expert. And her business is thriving.  She no longer has the scarcity conversations because she knows now that each time she invests her money in her business, it’s going to come back, multiplied.

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    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

    It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

    A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself

    Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

    What does career success mean to you?

    This is about defining your career success:

    • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
    • Not what people may think of you
    • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
    • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

    When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

    There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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    • Work-life balance
    • Opportunities for growth and advancement
    • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

    Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

    • What do you mean by work-life balance?
    • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
    • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

    Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

    • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
    • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
    • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

    Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

    • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
    • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
    • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

    Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

    Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

    What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

    2. Know Your Values

    Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

    There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

    Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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    • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
    • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
    • Put the words on your fridge
    • Add the words on your vision board

    Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

    When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

    How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

    Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

    • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
    • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
    • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
    • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
    • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

    Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

    • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
    • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
    • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
    • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

    Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

    By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

    4. Determine Your Top Talents

    What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

    What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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    What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

    What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

    What do you notice?

    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

    Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

    I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

    Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

    Keep these words visible too!

    Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

    6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

    Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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    Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

    “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

    7. Manage Your Own Career

    Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

    Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

    Summing Up

    For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

    Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

    Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself
    2. Know Your Values
    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
    4. Determine Your Top Talents
    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
    6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
    7. Manage Your Own Career

    “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

    Good luck and best wishes always!

    More Tips on Advancing Your Career

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

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