A friend and fellow coach asked me why I encourage and support so many other coaches when I could easily see them as "competitors."

I will borrow Stephen Covey's words from Seven Habits of Highly Successful People here:

"Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.

The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit - even with those who help in the production. The also have a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.

The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity."

If you are a coach and find yourself depressed because someone else stays booked with higher fees, you're operating from the scarcity mentality.  On the other hand, if someone tells you about his/her success and you get excited because that means you can probably move your own fees up, that's the abundance mentality at work.

The spirit of the interaction is critical.  And this has little to do with one's current level of financial success.  I have friends who make $25,000 a year who are genuinely thrilled at any success Joanne and I experience.  And a few who while making millions convey the feeling that if I find a dollar in the parking lot it robs them personally of that dollar.  Greedy, mean-spirited or angry people are likely operating out of a scarcity mentality.  They see everything in terms of win-lose.  There is only so much and if someone else gets it, that means there is less for them.

Success is not like a pie - where if you take a piece there is less for me.  Rather, it is like you having a candle and you share your light to start mine as well.  You still have 100% of your candle but together we throw off even more light.  Someone with a scarcity mentality will want to extinguish your flame.

Clearly, this spirit is also tied to one's sense of self-worth and security.  Those with a healthy self-esteem will encourage others, share praise and profits and give lots of recognition.  Low self-esteem will trigger resentment at other's success and the attempt to undermine and pull them down.

I have always welcomed working with someone with an abundance mentality and have many times seen their financial success go on to supersede my own.  And it caught me by surprise that helping other coaches be successful has produced financial rewards that bypass those of coaching actual clients.  On the other hand, I chose not to work or spend time with people who are hanging on to a scarcity mentality.

  1. In what ways do you have an abundance mentality?
  2. What aspects of your life are operating from a scarcity mentality?
  3. Can this model be used not only for business, but for family, social and religious life as well?

Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You Love'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You LoveNo More Dreaded Mondays, and many others, Dan reaches thousands of people every month in his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit http://www.48days.com.