The Daily Fight Between Abundance and Scarcity

Abundance

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Story: When I published The Character Triangle, some seven years ago, abundance was a relatively new topic. It has been gratifying to see it recently become more mainstream. An abundance mindset flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth, self-compassion and security. It is a framework based on the belief that there is more than enough for everyone. Alternatively, a scarcity mindset is the feeling that there will never be enough, resulting in fear, stress, and anxiety. In my life, while far from perfect at this, I always try to generously give to others based on this very freeing and gratifying way of thinking and acting. It is a privilege to act with abundance on a daily basis.

Key Point: Abundance, as with most values and behaviors, can be learned and practiced. Angelina Zimmerman, in an Inc. article, explains this more thoroughly by outlining the seven main differences between those with a scarcity mindset versus an abundance mindset:

“1. Thinking Big versus Thinking Small.
Those with an abundant mindset are renowned for thinking big, it is part of their DNA. Scarcity mindset creates limitations in the mind which prevents the creation of audacious goals.

2. Plenty versus Lack
Those with an abundant mentality believe there is plenty of everything in the world from resources, love, relationships, wealth and opportunities. They believe they can afford what they want in life and say exactly that: ‘I can afford that…’
Those with a lack mentality prefer to believe that there is limited opportunities, resources, relationships, love and wealth. They consistently say: ‘I cannot afford that…’. Saying that statement every day reinforces the belief and forms that exact pattern in the life as reality.

3. Happiness versus Resentment
Someone with an abundant mentality is an optimist and is genuinely happy for others when they achieve success. Conversely, those with a scarcity mindset are competitive and resent others’ success.

4. Embracing Change versus Fear Of Change
A person with an abundant mindset understands that change is an integral part of life. They embrace and accept change. Appreciating the fact that change often leads to more positive outcomes, even if change is somewhat challenging or difficult to navigate. Fear plagues those with a scarcity mindset. They will spend time constantly complaining along about change and take a longer period of time to accept change.

5. Proactive versus Reactive
Due to the positive attitude of those with an abundant mindset, they take a proactive approach to life. Rather than waiting for things to happen and then reacting like those with a scarcity mindset do, they strategically plan for the future and create strategies for the long-term.

6. Learning versus Knowing It All
An abundance mentality craves learning and growth. They have a never ending thirst for knowledge and developing new skills, whereas scarcity mindset believe they know everything thereby severely limiting their learning and growth.

7. What Is Working versus What Is Not Working
A person with a scarcity mindset selects negative thoughts and adopts a victim mentality.”

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Just give of yourself without expecting reciprocity. The more you give with generosity of spirit, the more comes back to you in some way, some time. This is even more important when you are feeling like you’re getting the short end of things in life
  2. Forgive those who live in lack and fear. They are plagued with insecurity. Compassionately wish them the best. 
  3. Think big and be big… Always look to expand the pie and share.
  4. Always celebrate others’ successes. Their victories take nothing away from you, even in direct competition. There is always more to gain and learn.

Abundant forever in personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Funny enough, this blog is a little bit of an abundance versus scarcity test within itself. If I noticed that the Inc. article was published in 2016 (more than half a decade after The Character Triangle‘s very similar points), is that scarcity? Instead, I’d like to agree that after years of abundance editing, I too am happy the mindset is becoming more well-known, sought after, and less difficult to define for the mainstream. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Add in More Self-Compassion

Abundance

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Story: This past week, I attended a conference in San Francisco regarding culture in organizations. Great speakers like Adam Grant (Give and Take, Originals, Option B), Susan Cain (Quiet Revolution) and Lindsay McGregor (Primed to Perform) provided much insight around building more advanced cultures. Still, as I listened to many of the conversations around me, perhaps the most important ingredient in making cultures phenomenal was a subplot that has yet to find the “main stage.”

Key Point: In my view, the urgent agenda topic for real cultural breakthrough in organizations is self-compassion. Actually, it may feel counterintuitive or even paradoxical, that in searching for organization “silver bullets,” exponential progress in developing, high performing cultures, accelerates most rapidly from the prerequisite of having a majority of employees with a healthy mindset of deeply caring for oneself first. This provides a solid platform to fully translate this way of thinking to others, and ultimately the organization at large. In support of this, I want to introduce you to Dr. Kristin Neff, in case you haven’t met. The following is her brief explanation:

“Having compassion for oneself is really no different than having compassion for others. Think about what the experience of compassion feels like. First, to have compassion for others you must notice that they are suffering. If you ignore that homeless person on the street, you can’t feel compassion for how difficult his or her experience is. Second, compassion involves feeling moved by others’ suffering so that your heart responds to their pain (the word compassion literally means to ‘suffer with’). When this occurs, you feel warmth, caring, and the desire to help the suffering person in some way. Having compassion also means that you offer understanding and kindness to others when they fail or make mistakes, rather than judging them harshly. Finally, when you feel compassion for another (rather than mere pity), it means that you realize that suffering, failure, and imperfection is part of the shared human experience. ‘There but for fortune go I.’

Self-compassion involves acting the same way towards yourself when you are having a difficult time, fail, or notice something you don’t like about yourself. Instead of just ignoring your pain with a ‘stiff upper lip’ mentality, you stop to tell yourself ‘this is really difficult right now,’ how can I comfort and care for myself in this moment?

Instead of mercilessly judging and criticizing yourself for various inadequacies or shortcomings, self-compassion means you are kind and understanding when confronted with personal failings – after all, who ever said you were supposed to be perfect?

You may try to change in ways that allow you to be more healthy and happy, but this is done because you care about yourself, not because you are worthless or unacceptable as you are. Perhaps most importantly, having compassion for yourself means that you honor and accept your humanness. Things will not always go the way you want them to. You will encounter frustrations, losses will occur, you will make mistakes, bump up against your limitations, fall short of your ideals. This is the human condition, a reality shared by all of us. The more you open your heart to this reality instead of constantly fighting against it, the more you will be able to feel compassion for yourself and all your fellow humans in the experience of life.”

I also want to emphasize that self-compassion is NOT self-pity, self-indulgence, self-esteem or misguided self-accountability.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. To assess how much you understand and live with self-compassion, I encourage you take this survey.
  2. Consider investing more in the development of becoming more self-compassionate.
  3. I believe it is very difficult to be truly abundant as a leader without a very well-developed practice of self-compassion. Advancing others starts with evolving oneself first. The genuine capability of inspiring true and sustainable greatness in others depends upon it.

Self-compassion in Personal Leadership,

– Lorne

One Millennial View: Taking the test above was a little eye opening. For me, it’ll take some new learning to help me classify self-compassion differently from self-pity, but the teachings are there. I’m fairly conditioned to be the “stiff upper lip” type, and achieving some sort of self-compassion award won’t happen overnight. But thanks to folks like Dr. Neff, it’s at least a concept I can start thinking about.

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Trustless in Seattle and Elsewhere!

Abundance

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This is another blog on our company values (from our 10 ATBs), a series underscoring a more modern look at value driven organizations.

Story: I used to be able to walk on an airplane at the Edmonton Industrial Airport, five minutes before take off. In fact, I wouldn’t even have to buy a ticket because I used pre-purchased flight coupons. Imagine… No security line-ups when flying. Just walk on the plane and go. Then of course, 9/11 changed everything. We could no longer trust the intentions of others when boarding planes, and subsequently built the massive, worldwide security systems we have today. Inspection is always non-value added, yet unfortunately, too often a necessary activity. The risk of complete trust can sometimes be just too high. This situation has cost airlines/passengers trillions of dollars.

Key Point: For more than 40 years, I have been part of many cost-cutting activities. CFOs and/or CEOs, often lead these initiatives and typically end up cutting people. Unfortunately, it’s the easiest line item to attack. Yet rarely can I recall these same execs tackling their biggest cost: Mistrust. But when one thinks about it, the largest waste in almost all companies is based on this value missing in action. Any type of inspection, redundancy, and reporting there of, is costly inefficiency related to mistrust. Just think about how big the opportunity is.

One of our 10 ATBs is to “Trust and expect the same from others.” We know that if each of us works from the premise of trust, we will do our part and minimize non-value added work. Imagine if we could lend money out, and trust that customers would always pay us back? Imagine how different it would be if we didn’t have to physically and metaphorically “lock things up?” How great would it be if the commitments from other teams or departments were always met? Think of what it would be like if we could always be our true, authentic selves, and not hide things from each other because we could trust what others would do with that insight? What if we could say what we truly felt in meetings, not having to worry about how it might be interpreted? On the other hand, trust, as noted in the best selling book, The SPEED of Trust, by Stephen M.R. Covey, increases speed enormously because non-value added friction/duplication is removed. How great is that? How amazing would it be to work with others where you could genuinely trust first? Why not?

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Think about processes, systems, tools, and policies that are based on mistrust. Ask which ones you might eliminate or change? (Base it on data).
  2. Think about where you have added rules for customers or team members because of mistrust. Often, the cost of maintaining these policies is much more than the occasional violation. Challenge the assumptions underlying these rules. 
  3. Make and meet your commitments, and expect the same from others. Trust first, rather than having others preliminarily earn it. Yes, you might occasionally get burned. And perhaps once in a while, you might have to verify. So what? Living without the friction is a much more gratifying path. 

Speed of Trust in Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Unfortunately, I think we can all trust that the utopia of a “trust first” environment is very challenging. I sure know that I don’t want to get “burned,” (literally or figuratively). That said, we have things like TSA Pre, Nexus passes, and tough screening/hiring processes at many companies that give us the ability to prioritize trust over skepticism. Especially for we Millennials, it probably behooves us to lend some speedy trust to our teammates. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

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The Delusion of Being Self-Accountable

Accountability

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This is another blog on our company values (from our 10 ATBs), a series underscoring a more modern look at value driven organizations.

Story: I personally know about six people right now, who for one reason or another, are looking for work. Even though the economies in the U.S. and Canada are relatively good, and unemployment is quite low, these talented people are having a hard time landing their next job/careers. And to a tee, they have all experienced one very frustrating thing about the process. People do NOT get back after interviews with the courtesy of a “NO,” at minimum, let alone feedback. This is usually after the interviewer makes a commitment like, “I will get back to you by Tuesday next week.” Tuesday comes along, and crickets. The interviewee not wanting to appear too anxious, just waits. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. By The following Tuesday, the interviewees feel compelled to leave texts, emails or social media DMs for the interviewer. After all, for each person, this is an urgent matter. And guess what? They typically never get any response. How disrespectful! And how come the value of being self-accountable within the interviewer has gone so seriously missing?

Key Point: Why do people describe themselves as very self-accountable, yet if you watch their behavior, the value is inconsistently applied? I think it’s because people end up confusing wanting to be a certain way, versus actually being. True self-accountable people are imperfect, like all of us. However, these folks consistently display the following behaviors:

  1. Take responsibility for both making and meeting their personal commitments.
  2. First question asked relative to the way things are is, “what can I do about it?”
  3. Never spend time blaming others, or themselves, for situations; they are serious, serial learners.
  4. Take action in an urgent and timely way on things that deeply matter.
  5. When missing a commitment, authentically own it; sincerely apologize and learn from it.

Obviously in the example above, there is some serious self-accountability of the hiring manager missing. Please call those unsuccessful interviewees today!

At ATB, one of our 10 ATBs is to be personally and fiercely accountable! It is my favorite.

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Give serious thought before personally committing. Your self-accountability value is too important to put it at risk if you miss.
  2. Make the trend your friend on the other behaviors defined in the steps above. Be fierce about behaving this way.
  3. If you are an interviewer, for goodness sake, be self-accountable and personally call back those “no’s” in a timely, courteous way. Ideally, give them personal feedback so the interviewee might grow.

Always learning to be more self-accountable,

Lorne

One Millennial View: This is one of those “out of sight, out of mind” lessons that people know they should improve, but it’s just so easy not to. This type of self-accountability takes discipline, courage, the confrontation of discomfort, and more. On paper, most hiring managers probably believe they have this quality. But just like a detail on a resume or cover letter they might be rejecting, self-accountability is a credential many list, but may not be practicing consistently. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis

 

Think and Be BIG!

Accountability

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See the previous entries for the continuing series on values in modern companies, by using ATB Financial’s 10 ATBs as a reference.

Story: The seventh leadership principle of “The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles Behind the World’s Most Disruptive Company” is:

Think Big. Thinking small is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Inspirational leaders create and communicate a bold direction that inspires results. They think differently and look around corners for new and better ways.

Amazon’s vision is to be earth’s most customer centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online. This very intentional, BIG thinking and aspirational purpose was declared early at Amazon. And holy cow, it has been something to see it come into fruition. It’s important to have big dreams for your future, both personally and as an organization. If you can’t think big about your future, you’re not going to have a very BIG outcome. Big, of course, means a dream that takes you WAY further than where you are today. So much of this is a mindset. The following is an expert from an Inc. interview with the founder and CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos:

“…‘What does your heart say?’

And for me, the best way to think about it was to project myself forward to age 80 and say, ‘Look, when I’m 80 years old, I want to have minimized the number of regrets that I have.’ I don’t want to be 80 years old and in a quiet moment of reflection, thinking back over my life, and cataloguing a bunch of major regrets.

In most cases our biggest regrets turn out to be acts of omission. It’s paths not taken and they haunt us. We wonder what would have happened. I knew that when I’m 80, I would never regret trying this thing (quitting a good job to start Amazon) that I was super excited about and it failing.

If it failed, fine. I would be very proud of the fact when I’m 80 that I tried. And I also knew that it would always haunt me if I didn’t try. And so that would be a regret, it would be 100 percent chance of regret if I didn’t try and basically a 0 percent chance of regret if I tried and failed. That’s a useful metric for any important life decision.’”

Key Point: Be fearless and think Big. If it’s in your heart, and you can clearly visualize it, you likely can make huge progress in that direction. Why think small or settle for slightly better than sameness? Really, when you totally settle in, with the understanding that we have a very short life overall, why not not try to be remarkable or extraordinary? Think friggin’ Big! Be BIG! And as Bezos notes, there is basically a zero percent chance of regret if you try and fail.

At ATB, “Think Big and Make it Happen”, is one of our 10 ATBs. We hate sameness or trying to be just 10 percent better. And we detest being slaves to benchmarking. Our experience is that it often limits one’s ability to truly reimagine and reinvent!

Personal Leadership Moves:

  1. Read The Magic of Thinking Big. The book has been around for a while, has sold millions of copies, and is still timely. 
  2. Regardless of where you’re at in your career, think BIG, start small, and begin now. You will become BIG.

BIG in Personal Leadership,

Lorne

One Millennial View: Sometimes we Millennials need to take a deep breath and look around. We constantly evaluate different success levels of our peers, friends, family members, and others. It’s often easier to “think current,” or “think realistically,” because that’s safer. But, what really separates you from thinking Big enough to become Big? Why can’t you too? Truthfully, it is a mindset, and a tough one. But if you start by breaking down the barriers that prevent you from thinking Big, maybe that’s the biggest thing you can do. 

– Garrett

Edited and published by Garrett Rubis