We’ve all been there – seems like the world is against us and everything is an uphill grind.
Maybe it’s your workload, income, boss, kids, husband/wife/partner or your pant size can’t keep up with your waist size.
Nothing seems to work – at least that’s your story.
And that’s part of the problem—we love our stories.
I call it your Window on the world – your unique way of interpreting what’s happening. In psychology it’s called confirmation bias – we look for confirmation of what we already believe to be true.
Maybe you’re convinced our economy is killing business or you simply don’t have what it takes (experience, training, cashflow, staff). Once you create your scarcity story, the die is cast and a self-fulfilling prophecy begins to unfold.
I’m not immune. It could be a lost booking, a promotion that flopped or a new product stalled out – I feel the world closing in and my pity party starting.
And that’s when I take steps to move to an abundance mindset. I want to believe in the possibility of having more friendships, money, health and opportunities.
Author John Maxwell explains it this way: “…there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody…thinking this way opens possibilities, options, alternatives and creativity.”
Let’s look at 5 steps to get your abundance mindset.
1. Choose control
In his pioneering model of learned optimism, father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman (if nothing else, read Learned Optimism) describes choosing control as going from Action, Belief, Consequence to the critical next steps: Disputation (take a stand against the consequence) and Energization (to put energy into making a behavioural change.)
When I move from Consequence to Disputation I choose to not accept—I want a different result. I’m tired of a spin-cycle of consequences – I need an in-your-face, Dr. Phil step to the left.
Here’s how speaker Mark Schinnerer does it: “I keep in mind: my knowledge, my skill, my story isn’t like anyone else’s and the value I have to bring is unique to me and my message.”
2. Choose focus
Just like the last sale you landed or last one you lost – whatever you focus on will become your new ‘truth’. The same applies to focusing on an abundance mindset.
Sound too simple to be true? Well, it is simple, but it also does require some effort.
Want to feel like the universe provides? Go for a walk in nature and soak up the abundance.
Want to feel like more clients are coming your way? Get to events you clients attend.
Want to feel the money will come? Get around money.
Author and speaker, Robert Hawke does it this way: “When I am feeling a bit hard done by, I get 10 five dollar bills from the bank, then I get some post it notes and write stuff like “You deserve this” and “Way to Go!” and “Have a great day!” on them and stick the “post its” to the bills, then I go out in my neighbourhood and leave the money in different places, like the change compartment of a parking meter, or a free newspaper box, or even a phone booth. It feels really fun and strangely subversive. I love it. Switches my mindset quite quickly and hopefully brightens up peoples day a bit.”
3. Physical set
The mind follows the body. Want to feel crappy, shot-down and living in loserville? No problemo – hunch over your desk, put your head in your hands and sigh deeply. Right away you’ll feel motivation melt and energy escape.
There’s a reason why boxers push their chest out and swagger as they enter the ring.
There’s a reason why actors stand tall and look at the audience before delivering their opening lines.
And there’s a reason why standing up during phone calls makes you sound more in charge – it’s how you’re designed.
Harvard Prof. and TED Talk (37M views) superstar Amy Cuddy single-handedly popularized the notion that physical movements alter our mental state (think of the superwoman/man pose.)
But, good news – you don’t have to leap to your feet throwing arms in the air for a fist pump before you ask for the sale or deliver bad news to an employee. You can also think about it.
According to Cuddy, when we imagine taking a strong physical pose our brain registers a positive reaction as if we actually made the pose.
The trick, I’ve found, is to pick the physical movement that works for me. For example, when opening a speech I like to walk confidently to the stage, scan the audience, make eye contact with a few people, and do, what feels like unnaturally wide arm movements.
Maybe for you, it’s an air pump, smiling in a mirror, or planting your hands on your hips with feet hip-width apart. Pick your favourite and develop a pattern you can call on, when you need it.
Next, you have to say ‘Yes’.
4. Say Yes
As much as physical movement changes our thinking – we also need to feed our emotions by saying “Yes” to abundance. Saying “Yes” could be a mantra, a favourite quote or a gratitude practice.
Speaker, Deborah Connors writes the words “I’m not attached to the outcome” at the top of her journal before calling clients.
Author and speaker, Zaheen Nanji combines visual goals with a mantra: “I write my annual income on my whiteboard. When I look at that, I say, There’s more where that came from.”
Speaker, musician and drum circle leader, Paul Houle says “I just try to keep in mind my experiences, my successes and my belief that what I do for people has a lot of value.”
Speaker and author, Clare Edwards adds “I keep a success folder of past testimonials and emails people have sent me to remind me of the difference I can make.”
5. Rinse, repeat
Every day we get a new chance to choose what we put our attention on and what we do about it. Listen to the news and it’s easy to fall into a poverty mindset – soon you’re believing one person can’t change anything.
We’re also hard-wired to challenge our circumstances, to stand up tall and – dang it – feel better. The world is abundant—people are good, and you are capable, talented, and able to overcome any bumps in your way.
The choice is yours. Choose well.