I was at a meeting yesterday and the usual chit-chat between leaders before we started quickly led to the discussion of how busy we are and how there is never enough time to get everything done.
Scarcity – never enough. When coming from this place, we quickly go into the thoughts of “How am I going to get this all done?”, “Where am I going to find the people to do the work?” Or, “I wish there was more money for things.” We focus on what we don’t have. We bemoan the fact that we need more – of so many things to accomplish what we need to get done.
Leading from a place of scarcity sets the stage for conversations, meetings, moods and work styles. Think of this scenario. You have half an hour before your meeting starts. What can you get done in a half an hour? As you look at your inbox you become overwhelmed, scanning through emails that you need a few minutes to respond to. You shift over the piles on your desk and roll your eyes at the mess there. Maybe you should actually spend a few minutes preparing for the meeting, so you grab your notes and it reminds you that you were supposed to send someone an invite to a planning session. You quickly send that email off and look at the clock. Only 20 minutes left. Not really time to get anything done. Oh! Why aren’t there more hours in a day!
Before you know it, you’ve lost the 30 minutes and really not get very much done except to feel more scattered and anxious about what you need to get done and wonder once again where you are going to find the time to do it in. As you head into the meeting, your fearful some one will ask you to do something and add one more thing to your already heaping ToDo list.
Sound like a family story for you? Here what happens. What you focus on is what you get. So focusing on scarcity means your going to notice it everywhere. It will pop up in meetings, during conversations and in your email. You will say, “See everyone is struggling to get employees” or “I told you there wasn’t enough time to get that done”. Just like if you start looking for a blue car, you are going to see blue cars everywhere. It becomes your focal point.
Instead, try to focus on the word abundance, productivity or getting things done. You begin to notice what you do accomplish rather than what you don’t. You will see times that you were extremely productive. In the personal growth world, people are often encouraged to keep a gratitude journal. This is some place to acknowledge the great things in their life. The same concept works in the leadership world. Be grateful for times of productivity. Take great pride and celebrate the things that are ticked off of your ToDo list. At the end of the day, notice what you did do! “I got through a tough meeting today and still was able to respond to the request for that report”. Or “I kept my inbox at status quo rather than having it grow.”
In Canada we just celebrated Thanksgiving, a time to be thankful for what we have in our lives. Leaders can also stop and be grateful for the time that they have and acknowledge it. Notice when you do have time, money, staffing and resources. By focusing on abundance rather than scarcity, you will start to see more of it!
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