Is Scarcity Thinking Driving Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Into A Ditch?

You’ve heard the saying, “The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a friendly or hostile universe.” How does this apply in running your business?

No matter how vast the opportunity around you, if you see the world as hostile, your background conversations centre on scarcity and separateness and how to survive being a victim or overcome it. In the process your decisions and actions are guided by a hidden agenda to play it small and safe or manipulate and dominate your way forward.

If you see the world as friendly, you see a world of possibility around you. Your background conversations centre on freedom and opportunity, and how to use your resources and talents to create and innovate while developing deeper connections and integration with the world around you.

For entrepreneurs that’s often how we start our businesses. We focus on our opportunities for leadership and self-determination. We see a gap in the market that aligns with our passion and competence. Despite the fear, self-doubt and risk, we take a leap. We move through our scarcity thinking and take action.

But it’s not long before the old filters kick in, and we find ourselves in the passenger seat with scarcity at the wheel about to drive our dreams into a ditch.

Mindset directly impacts how we lead ourselves, others and our business. In this Co-Creative Leadership series, I’ll do a deep dive on how shifting from a scarcity mindset to a co-creative mindset can impact our leadership effectiveness and outcomes.

Leading Yourself (From a Scarcity Mindset to a Co-Creative Mindset)

Impostor syndrome is a background conversation that has become a foreground conversation of late. But it’s interesting to me that it’s often characterized as something only women experience. I disagree. Having coached people of all genders at different stages of their careers or business, this is something that most people feel from time to time.

The difference between you and someone you see as more successful than you, is that they’ve disciplined themselves to take action in alignment with their greater commitment, regardless of what they’re feeling. And they surround themselves with people who hold them bigger and accountable to their commitments.

This is the essence of a co-creative mindset and leadership — being able to align our actions with our commitments, which are stable and future-based rather than our feelings and thoughts, which are fleeting and past-based.

Here are some healthy habits to focus on in developing a co-creative mindset:

Purpose — What is your why for running your business? Strategies and tactics will change over time but purpose is enduring. If you don’t know your purpose, or haven’t connected to it in a while you can use an Ikigai exercise to get to the source.

Ikigai is the intersection of what you love to do, what you’re good at, what the world needs and is willing to pay for.

Commitments — What is your greater commitment for your business? For most people, it’s not enough to say you want to make a certain amount of money. Your commitment should be bigger than you, and include the people and things you care most about. Think your family, your team, your clients, your community and your planet.

Morning intention — Start your day with intentionality. What are you out to accomplish or contribute today in line with your greater commitment? Have your intention rather than your reaction to email, news or social media be at the forefront of how you start your day.

Acceptance — This is a big one. The results you’re getting or the challenges you’re facing are just feedback — data points that you can use to adjust and align. Many of us waste a ton of mental energy, fighting against what is instead of accepting it. This is where I used to get tripped up, confusing acceptance with agreement.

Accepting what is doesn’t mean you agree with it. It means you are standing in your full power and poised to renegotiate or take effective action on something that isn’t working for you. Mental resistance, is an indicator that you’re not connected to your power and/or you’re not connected to others around you. Restore power and connection by:

  • reconnecting to your purpose and commitment
  • accepting what is and taking responsibility for it
  • surfacing your intention and gratitude and
  • taking action in line with your commitment.

Gratitude — I like to make gratitude my go to for life. When I’m going through a rough patch or not seeing the results I want, I use gratitude as an immediate way to shift my perspective. It costs me nothing and profits me everything.

While you’re developing muscle in this area, at the very least, end your day with gratitude. Ask yourself, “What about your current role, business, challenges and opportunities, your health, your team, your family, your community and being alive at this moment in time — are you grateful for?”

Self Care — Are you getting exercise? When you stop working are you able to relax, unwind and make time for yourself and your loved ones? Are you able to be fully present with them without worrying about your work, your business or the 10,000 things on your to do list?

When we operate with a scarcity or survival mindset, it limits our potential and our connection with others and can lead to burnout or breakdown. When we operate from a co-creative mindset, it becomes the foundation for our greater fulfillment, contribution and connection with the world around us.

In Part 2 and 3, I’ll explore how a limiting mindset impacts your effectiveness in leading others and running a business and what you can do about it.


elan Bailey helps entrepreneurs grow and scale by aligning your mindset and actions, values and habits with your culture, systems and strategy to create high-performing teams and an advantage in the market that can’t easily be replicated.

As an objective third party she challenges and supports you in developing your personal mastery and leadership by helping you see your blind spots and gaps and provide a reality check for those areas where you’re downplaying your potential based on untested assumptions. .

Founder of UpLevel Leadership Academy helping individuals and organizations develop the competency, capacity and community to adapt, grow and thrive.

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