Tell us. Have you ever found yourself in this situation? You wake up groggy, and check your phone for emails. You’re instantly overwhelmed by your to-do list, but you grit your teeth, get up and get ready for the day. The hours pass, the work piles up, and you feel like you’re going through the motions. You end the day feeling burnt out and out of control. Sound familiar? You might need a mindset refresh. Enter the principle of abundant thinking.
What is abundant thinking?
Abundant thinking is a mindset that allows you to take back control of your life’s narrative. The brainchild of executive coach Katia Verresen, the goal is to turn yourself from a reactive thinker into someone firmly in the ‘director’s chair’ of their life.
According to Verresen, adopting the abundant thinking mindset is crucial for entrepreneurs. Why? Because it helps them feel more energised, expands their world view, and crystallises their vision of success.
There are many differences between having an abundant thinking mindset, and its opposite, a scarce thinking mindset. Here are some examples:
You can use the table above to suss out how you’re currently feeling, and try to respond differently. However, if you’re feeling unhappy, or even burnt out, how can you bring more abundance into your life? Verresen came up with six practical tools to help you return to an abundant mindset if you’re feeling particularly low.
Notice the positive
When you’re feeling bogged down, it’s hard to see the silver lining in those dark stormy work clouds. However, actively seeking positive thoughts will pull you away from the scarcity mindset lickety-split. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is this task truly impossible? If not, what is the next logical move?
- What is going right in the current situation?
- Do I have any hidden resources at my disposal?
- What would happen if… (fill this in with an action that seems outside the current scope of possibility.)
Remember, the abundant thinking mindset is all about taking back control and putting yourself in the driver’s seat of your life. Encouraging positive thinking broadens your focus – instead of focusing on the narrow negative, you’re seeing things in an entirely new light.
When bad things happen, it is normal for us to think, “That is so unfair. Why is it always me?” Thinking neutrally pooh-poohs all of that. It implores you to go through a paradigm shift, and understand that the world isn’t fair or unfair. It simply, just, is.
This tool helps you to accept different points of view besides your own as valid. By bursting your thought bubble, you’ll open your mind to other people’s ideas – which could lead to a better, more innovative solution.
Thinking neutrally helps to diffuse a situation of tension. Oftentimes, when ideas are shot down, it is common for people to take it personally. In order to avoid this in meetings, write down everyone’s ideas on a whiteboard and put it to a democratic vote. This helps to separate the idea from the person, and although there’ll be people who agree and disagree with those ideas, they will feel that their opinions are being heard.
Boost your positivity
Like the great mogul and entertainer Taylor Swift once said, you gotta shake it off, shake it off. Your emotional energy affects your work in profound ways you may not even notice. Sometimes you just need a boost to keep on going.
Self-care is incredibly important. Get some fresh air once or twice in a workday, to clear your mind and energise yourself. Drink more water. Heck, lead your team in a group stretching session. Goodness knows you’ve been sitting in the same chair long enough.
It’s important to understand when you need to recharge your batteries, both physically and emotionally. Happiness isn’t the only ingredient for work success, but it is certainly a crucial one.
Have more self-compassion
You know what’s time-consuming? Kicking yourself when you’re already down. It’s completely normal to make mistakes at work. However, berating yourself for your misstep can often lead to negative thinking – which can quickly spiral into work-busting feelings of inadequacy.
Emotions are tricky things. At work, we are encouraged to practice resilience in the face of adversity. For example, when a client accuses you of wrong-doing, you’re meant to suck it up, smile, and tell them the customer is always right. However, what you feel inside might be feelings of anger, disappointment and frustration in yourself. Practicing self-compassion can help you push past those feelings in order to become more productive.
This framework, created by the University of Texas at Austin’s Psychology Professor Kristin Neff, should help you:
- Admit that an experience or situation is painful. Don’t try to hide from or dismiss discomfort.
- Labeling emotions can help distance yourself away from them and calm you down.
- Acknowledge you’re not alone. You have colleagues who may have had similar experiences, and a support system that can back you up.
- Take a mindful, self-compassionate action to feel better (like with the positive thinking tool.)
Give back, constantly
What’s better than one person practicing the abundant thinking mindset? Your whole team practicing the abundant thinking mindset. Having not just supportive colleagues, but a workplace tribe can be incredibly beneficial to your work life. All it takes is a little bit of a love investment.
Suggestions on how to incorporate more giving in the workplace include:
- Practicing ‘Secret Santa’, all year round – assign one person another random person to give a small gift each month.
- Open up ‘office hours’ – in an open plan office this might seem silly, but having open spaces in your calendar people can book in with you for a catch-up, or a problem-solving session is a great way to give back some of your time.
- Become a mentor to someone junior in your company. You’ll learn how to provide the right guidance, and it’ll give you perspective on how you acted when you were in their position.
Last, but definitely not least. Practicing gratitude has to be an active task, according to Verresen. She encourages utilising exercises that forces you to think of things you’re grateful for daily.
Take five minutes a day to focus on only the good things that are currently happening. Set a reminder for yourself every day to do this. This will help you recognise your progress, and celebrate success – something that might be glossed over in a fast-paced working lifestyle.
Ultimately, the abundant thinking mindset is all about taking your mind out of a ‘scarcity’ or ‘suffering’ mode, and into one that is positive and ready for action. As Verresen says, “When you’re suffering, you’re not at your best.” Let’s aim to be the best that we can be, always.
Images via Unsplash, Giphy