Despite the fact that we are in the midst of a global health and economic crisis, I still believe that abundance is possible. In fact, I believe that an abundance mindset is what is required to lead us beyond this very crisis.
Let me explain this heresy.
We are currently surrounded by — in fact let’s be honest, swimming in — a scarcity mindset. You cannot check social media, read your news feed, turn on the TV, or really do much of anything without being slammed by the fear of lack.
But the thing is, no matter how bleak everything feels, it is only part of the story. There is also tremendous light, hope and abundance happening too. People are stepping up and helping in endless ways. The earth is healing herself in previously unimaginable ways. Money is moving in our economy in unprecedented ways.
While things are certainly bleak, they are also inspiring.
We simply cannot shut out half of the story, especially if that other half is the part that will give us the energy to move forward. Because focusing only on the scarcity part of the story creates a self-perpetuating cycle that is incredibly defeating.
Let me give you an example.
I was coaching a client last week who was preparing a contingency report for her board outlining all of the potential worst case scenarios facing the nonprofit, and strategies for each. When we started our call, she was anxious, worried, low energy, mildly depressed.
I immediately showed her how her report told only one side (the scarcity side) of the story. She neglected to include the many opportunities they were also facing as an organization. Thus her report was incredibly defeating before it even left the gate.
So we began talking about the flip side — the huge opportunities for her and her organization to step up and lead in bigger and better ways, and the abundance (of support, people, money) that could follow. Because of her nonprofit’s particular issue area, the biggest opportunity is the fact that this crisis is making even more evident the need for her organization. This crisis is helping people outside her organization (funders, potential members, policymakers, industry leaders) finally and immediately understand how critical her nonprofit’s mission is now.
When she began to recognize the opportunities that existed alongside the challenges, her energy started to shift. A smile crept across her face, she sat up a little straighter, she began talking more quickly, a new energy sparked within her.
But, let me remind you, that nothing externally had changed.
All that had shifted was that her own story about her organization got a little wider. It began to include more than just lack. It suddenly also included possibility.
And that little spark of possibility — of opportunity, of abundance — changed everything.
Suddenly she found new energy for the board meeting, she had new ideas for how she wanted to direct them. Instead of leading the board meeting from the energy of defeat (and thus ensuring that defeat spread like a cancer throughout board and staff), she broadened the script. She allowed abundance in.
Look, I’m not asking you to ignore the tremendous challenges facing you, your organizations, your mission. And I’m not suggesting you stop contingency planning. In fact, often your amygdala (your survival brain) needs to have a worst case scenario plan in place before it will let you move forward. So create that plan if you need it.
But then make sure to move on from there. Don’t get stuck in scarcity, because that’s only part of the story. Allow in the possibility of abundance too. Because allowing in abundance does something magical. It gives you the energy you need to lead forward.
You have more power in this crisis than you may think. There is a bigger story. I promise you that if you look hard enough, abundance wants to be part of the story too. And in allowing it to be, you will find your power to lead.
If you need help finding the abundance part of your nonprofit’s story, let me know.
Photo Credit: Raphael Rychetsky