Finding Your Way Back To Abundance

Tim Sanders. One of those folks who've made a huge impact in my life over the last couple of years, since I read his book, Love Is The Killer App - great holiday gift for anyone working in a corporate environment (or anyone in general - but particularly in an environment where someone has forgotten some key ideals about people.) Read an excerpt from a Tim Sanders email I received today:


This fall, in August, I spoke at the Willow Creek Association Leadership Conference in Chicago.

The topic of my talk had to do with scarcity, and how it can keep you from being successful and generous.  Here is an excerpt from my speech, I hope it brings you value.

"Scarcity is a story that gets believed - by you first as a leader, and everyone else eventually.

It is not a reality - it is a prevailing belief, a collective unconsciousness. Scarcity exists because you breath life into it. As Dr.Covey says in 7 Habits: "We write autobiographical scripts that we live by" and one of our story lines is that there is not enough, we don't have enough, our people will not be able to give enough.  An elderly member of the Unitarian Comm church of Glen Allen, which you'll hear more about later, lived through a time of great scarcity - the Great Depression and explains it this way, "I learned that there was always more than I imagined. The Depression taught me that true scarcity is in my mind - it is a belief that we don't have enough to share."

Profile of scarcity:

      You believe that there is not enough to go around - not enough to share.

      You define yourself based on what you lack, not what you have.

      You are motivated by fear.  You motivate others by fear.

      You believe that when others gain, you lose.  When you give, you have less.

      You cannot envision starting over.  Quitting.  Rebuilding.  Losing.

Impact of scarcity thinking:

1. You have a vicious cycle of turnover in your organization. You spend your waking hours looking for new help and fresh meat - just like a butcher!

According to Jim Collins in Good to Great - you create a doomloop.

2. You become a competitor, not a community builder.  You can no longer enjoy the success of other's.  You say, "what about me?" inwardly while you express your reservations about them-sometimes you volunteer to confess their sins.

In business, I see this disagreement as the source of all conflict.  It fuels the conflict between companies, churches, team players, managers and family members.

3.  You cannot lead - at best you manage and browbeat.

If you spend your life gathering crumbs like a miser, you will end up a crummy leader!  Leadership is your ability to give to your people and bring out their best for the good of the mission and vision.  Leaders say, "How can I help you?"-Mangers say "What have you done for me lately?"

Scarcity is the greatest crisis today in our society.  There is no greater evil than the belief that there is not enough to go around.  There is no greater threat to your organization or company's future than the Scarcity mindset.  Sounds scary?  There are two pieces of good news:  there are solutions and when they are implemented, you will experience profound happiness and peace.

Solution:  Return to your Abundance Mentality

Step 1: 

Change your thinking.  Define yourself by what you have, not what you lack.

As Dr. Wayne Dyer says, "find the Abundance in the little things in your daily life".  This morning I found Abundance in my breakfast and the endless cup of coffee given to me.  In 2000, during the crash, I found abundance in the smiles of others.  At Yahoo, I led the 'refresh' campaign and encouraged people to find abundance in what they had, especially compared to all of the others that had so much less and so little to look forward to.

Step 2: 

Stay on the lookout for Fear.  Replace it with Faith and Endurance.

This is one of the few places where it is OK to label people.  Call a spade a spade.  That's what I do at Yahoo as the Leadership Coach.  When I catch someone acting like Chicken Little, I stamp them.  When I observe someone acting out their personal story of Abundance, I name them DaVinci (Don, Doris, etc.).  My mom gave me advice for this talk;  I need only two things to lead and thrive-faith and endurance.  One will help me when the other is in short supply.

Step 3: 

Practice Abundance daily.  Practicing Abundance requires letting go of stuff - and believing that there is more.  Every day, give something, share something or be a bigger person because you know there is enough to go around.  Each act of generosity on your part sends a signal to the world that you are in touch with your Abundance.

Tim Sanders, August 13, 2004 at Leadership Summit 2004 - Willow Creek Assoc.