Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash
“I’m just so scared I won’t have enough,” said my client. She was in tears again. As was normal for her, a flurry of bills had come in and she was worried about paying for them… she was worried she wouldn’t have enough now, next week, next year or ever.
I have another client who is highly successful (financially) but he works crazy long hours. It’s taking a toll on his health and his relationship. He constantly complains about how busy he is and what he would love to be doing instead of working. When I asked what drives him to keep working so hard when he could afford to pull back, his answer was simple; “I’m s**t scared of being poor”.
It’s a common theme with the clients I work with. Many of them had parents who lived through the war years where there often wasn’t enough, and this fear has been passed through to the next generation. For some people, this is a real fear and they actually can’t pay their bills, but for many, it is an unfounded fear: a scarcity mindset.
There are obvious ways to “fix” this problem. Budgeting is a straightforward way. You know you are going to get a phone bill every month so budget for it. Set the money aside and ta-dah… you have enough. For the most part, your day to day bills aren’t a surprise. You might have forgotten they were due but they are expected. Sure, there are some unexpected things that get thrown in from time to time — the hot water system packing it in or the car breaking down. But even these situations can be planned for with the use of an emergency savings account.
If it was this easy then people wouldn’t worry about not having enough, so there is obviously more to it than the conscious mind, logic and some basic maths!
After digging a little deeper with my client it became apparent that she didn’t feel financially safe as a child. There were 6 children and money was tight. “We don’t have enough money for that” was her parent’s mantra. Forty years later and this mantra still swirls around in her subconscious mind and spills out as worry over expected, day to day bills. Unfounded worry, as she has a budget and a bills account to pay for them.
The flip side of a scarcity mentality is to work on developing an Abundance Mindset. We do this by being grateful for what we already have. For seeing the richness of our lives exactly as they are. This doesn’t mean we can’t have goals to make things better for ourselves, but we can’t expect abundance if we have a scarcity mindset.
What on earth does that actually mean you ask? You’ve probably heard the saying that like attracts like? Think of your friends… are they like you? Do they like the same sport or the same restaurants? Are they of similar intellect? Like attracts like.
It is also often said that your thoughts become your reality. So if like attracts like and your thoughts become your reality then it’s not a big leap to suggest that if all you are thinking about is how little you have and the amount of debt you have then it is likely that is what you are attracting to you.
Conversely, if you are eternally grateful for all that you have then you are likely to attract more of the same. We all know that person that seems to be perpetually happy and grateful…. And lucky. They are just attracting what they are putting out.
But what do I have to be grateful for you might ask? I’ve got a pile of bills, a job I don’t like and the car is a rust bucket!
Why not try shifting your focus a bit. Sit for a minute and think about all you do have to be grateful for. I’ll help you out with a few ideas:
· I have a job
· I have a roof over my head
· The billing company trusts me enough to pay my bill on time.
· I have some superannuation for my retirement.
· I have food in the cupboard.
· I have a car.
· I have health
· I’m lucky enough to live in a country with a social security system in place to help our most vulnerable
· When I turn the tap on the water comes out (this doesn’t happen in every country!)
· I leave it for you to continue on here…
We can argue that the car is crap, the house needs paint and the social security system is inadequate OR we can choose to say
“how lucky am I”.
My client got right into the “how lucky am I” game and came up with lots of her own… I have great friends, 2 wonderful children, grandchildren, a big garden. She looked like a kid when she said: “I’d never thought of it like that”. Interestingly, her financial position has also started to change a little too, with some additional bookings for her business.
Whilst an abundance mindset doesn’t stop the bills coming in, it does take their power away so you can deal with it in an adult way, rather than reverting to your childhood fears.
I invite you to give it a go. What are you grateful for today?