There’s no disputing the fact that business is cut-throat. One day your most important strategic partner is bringing you into a great business opportunity. The next day, they are submitting a proposal to win business from your client. To sustain the ups and downs of career development and business growth, you require a thick skin. So how do we stay tough and protect our interests, while maintaining a mindset of abundance and compassion?
Hyper-competitiveness was defined as a “neurotic personality trait” almost 70 years ago. Psychoanalytic theorist Karen Horney characterized it as a coping strategy in which we “move against people” as opposed to moving toward or away from people. Nowhere is this displayed more than in the political arena, where mud-slinging is considered standard practice – and these are supposedly the leaders of our country.
Healthy competition is a natural part of the human toolbox for growth and survival. However, when it creates hostility, anger, and a desire to crush others so that we may succeed, we need to question its role. Maintaining a constant competitive state blocks our ability to be happy for others when they achieve. It also blocks our own creative processes.
We can become fixated on being better than someone else, rather than on being our best self. When we are in a competitive frame of mind, when something good happens to someone else, we think that somehow, it diminishes us. This is not true. Especially in our own industries, when one wins, we all win. A rising tide lifts all boats.
One of my favorite comparison graphics illustrates the differing mindsets between scarcity and abundance.
Scarcity emphasizes what we lack instead of what we have. This may perpetuate the thinking that anyone who has something that we want is the enemy. As a business owner, when I see other business owners doing well, I often wonder about the struggles they’ve endured to get to where they are. When we look closely at the life of someone we consider to be competition, we are bound to see hardships that the person has endured, or understand how tenuous good fortune can really be. If we can connect from a place of compassion with those we consider to be “enemies,” we would diffuse our feelings of scarcity and inadequacy, and be able to focus more on what we have instead of what we lack.
The ability to live and lead from a place of abundance and compassion is a gift not only to those we serve but to ourselves.
Where are you in terms of embracing abundance over scarcity? To move towards an abundance mindset, identify 5 Abundance traits on the chart that you can cultivate, and 5 Scarcity traits you can start to remove. Remember that we are all a work in progress. The path of progress is full of opportunities for self awareness and improvement.
Please let me know your strategies for incorporating a mindset of abundance into your leadership.
Graphic courtesy of http://www.joemartinfitness.com/tag/abundance-mindset/