Scarcity Mindset vs A Mindset of Plenty

GatlingburgOne of Keller William’s most fundamental courses is called BOLD. In this program, a BOLD coach flies in from across the country and leads you through the course’s material while often interjecting a bit about their own lives. This course isn’t really a real estate course. Actually, only about 10% of the material is real estate specific and the rest is entirely about mindset.

I’ve been driving to Shreveport once a week to participate in the program, fully expecting it to jump start my year. My most recent BOLD coach, Jackie, told a story the first week that has stuck with me. She was discussing the scarcity mindset and the mindset of plenty. She talked about her family back in Brazil. She told the story of how her mother and her aunt both had nice homes, people to help them tend to those homes, and truly had everything they could want or need. However, she couldn’t tell about helping one of their housekeepers while she was visiting, because they would have asked why she didn’t give those items or that money to them. Anytime she helped someone back home she had to keep it a secret because her family would be mad that she “took” something from them by giving to or helping someone else.

As she told her story, I immediately identified with the sentiment. There are probably too many times to list in which I didn’t give or help someone because I should help “my own people” first. There are lonely people with whom I felt compelled to visit with and didn’t because my own mother is lonely. There were people I didn’t give $5 to because I felt I couldn’t help them until people in my own family no longer needed $5. It made me feel awful, to be honest. I was too often torn between following my instinct to help someone and guilt over not helping someone else.

Jackie’s story is a bit different because her mother and aunt didn’t actually need those items. Nonetheless, it still applies to me. I am intentionally not responding to someone who has been put into my path because of the fear of being victimized by the scarcity mindset of someone near me. I find this struggle even creeps its way into my professional life. I work with a guy who operates very clearly from a scarcity mindset. He often won’t help others because he’s so afraid of something being taken from him as a result of his sharing. He’s one of the most successful men I know and yet his fear is so incredibly evident. I sometimes fear that by sharing a property besides his online or by speaking more fondly of another client, he will see it as me taking something from him and subsequently be upset. I often wonder though, if he gave back even a small portion of his success or wealth of knowledge, by how much would his current wealth be multiplied? Similarly, if the people in my family who live from a place of scarcity could experience joy over someone else’s success, how much more fulfilled could their own lives be?

Keller Williams Red DayI realized that I’ve been preventing my own joy and fulfillment by saying no to these opportunities, and in essence stealing something from someone else. I’ve been shown beautiful opportunities to serve someone in need and I’ve turned them away because I’ve felt like I shouldn’t or couldn’t help them without upsetting someone else. I’ve made decisions to turn my back or look away when something as simple as a kind “hello” or a few dollars could change their day, maybe their life.

A while back, I started making a point to buy food or give a few dollars when I saw someone holding a sign on the street. I heard Leigh Anne Tuohy speak at our annual conference a few years ago. For those who don’t know, she is the real life Mama from the movie the Blindside, one of my all-time favorites. During her presentation, she mentioned keeping some cash in her console and giving her children small amounts of cash to keep on hand in case they saw someone begging for help. She said that it’s never our job to judge their situation or the circumstances that led to them having to ask strangers for money. Furthermore, it’s not our job to judge or even ponder what they’ll do with the money they’re given. So often I’ve heard people sneer and say things like, “Don’t give them money. They’re just going to buy alcohol or drugs with it.” I’m sure you’ve heard, and maybe even said, similar things. Leigh Anne says that is God’s job. She said it’s our job to follow His direction and give when the opportunity is presented and it’s His job to judge the results. By giving every time she feels led to, she’s upholding God’s request of her. It’s not our job to know what they’ll do with the gift. It’s simply our job to give. She says she’ll be judged based on whether she gave or not and they’ll be judged on their actions.

Since then, my perspective on giving in these circumstances has changed. Every time I’ve given something, I’ve felt better about myself. I know without a doubt that I’ve helped these people in at least a small way and yet by doing so, I’ve also helped myself. However, even though I’ve made the decision to help people on street corners with signs, I’ve still walked away from other opportunities.

I’ve not continued the conversation with the nice old lady in the grocery store because I may not have talked to my own mother that day. I didn’t stick around to help her get the groceries into the car because I wasn’t there to help my own mother. I’ve not allowed friends’ children come stay at my home, even though I love them dearly, because my own nieces and nephews haven’t been here to visit. This list goes on and on.

Somehow, I’ve let my quilt over not being as present as I could be with my family deter me from helping others. I’ve let this guilt stop me from loving people to my maximum capability and I’ve let it hinder the growth of other relationships.

Finally, I realized that everything in life – who we talk to, who we don’t, who we help, and who we love – comes from a place deep within. It comes from a place of calling and I should never feel guilty about following intuition. I certainly can’t be everything to everybody, yet I can absolutely be something to someone.

I can operate from a mindset of plenty and give as often as I can. I can show love as much as I can. I can offer compassion every day. I can converse with strangers, offer compliments, support the endeavors of others as often as I feel led to. I choose today to not allow my own contribution to be limited by someone else’s scarcity mindset. I choose today to listen to my heart and to understand that loving another human being is not taking away anything from someone else. I’m going to listen and look for opportunities, and I’m going to work a little harder on being who I truly want to be.

If you, too, think of things in this manner, I give you the permission to look that fear dead in the eye and ask it to leave. I give you permission to thrive in your mindset of plenty and not be restricted by the scarcity mindset of others.

And if you sometimes find yourself dwelling on a mindset of scarcity, I encourage you to consider the alternative. It’s only once you realize there’s enough of everything for everyone, that you can truly enjoy and receive the plenty that’s around us. There’s always enough resources, enough love, enough business to go around. We must simply open our hearts to give and receive as much as we can.

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