The Trials and Tribulations of a Scarcity Mindset

Being the oldest of three girls, I can honestly say that life was more of a checklist for me growing up. I spent most of my time taking the practical routes for things because I was scared of stepping outside the box. I was always afraid to make mistakes and often would talk myself out of things that I wanted out of fear of failure because I wanted to be perfect. For me, perfection meant taking the safe routes with no risks of getting it wrong because then I wouldn't be in a position to mess up.

Part of the reason I did this was that my mother, having no family in the United States, was now tasked with raising three daughters by herself after my father died. I wanted to make sure that I did everything right to make her proud, even if that left me putting my real passions on the back burner. The other reason was I was worried about our family finances and didn't understand how we were able to survive financially without the patriarch of the family around. It was around this time that I adopted a scarcity mindset.


For those who don't know, a scarcity mindset is a belief that there will never be enough, resulting in feelings of fear, stress, and anxiety.


It was never enough for me to sit and just let things happen; I had to make things happen to ensure that I had enough. As soon as I was able to work, I started saving. I never asked my mom for money during these days because I wanted to prove that I could take care of myself. In that scarcity mindset, my ambitions for myself started to grow, and so did my checklist of what I needed to accomplish. I started excelling in school, making straight As in high school, which led me to a full-ride in college after winning $250,000 in scholarship money.

I graduated with a degree in finance and began a career in Corporate America. I remember thinking to myself when I got my first paycheck; this isn't enough money. I need to make more! So I went on, and I did. Every year, climbing and increasing my money and getting more miserable as the years went on. You see, what I didn't consider was that more money equals more problems. The more you make, the more demanding your job becomes. I had a scarcity mindset, and it was killing me slowly and causing all sorts of anxiety in my life.


After giving birth to my son in 2017, I returned to work and was promoted to manager six months later. I had been obsessed with proving that I could get promoted by taking on all sorts of office responsibilities at a client that I didn't even realize I had postpartum depression.

I finally crashed and burned six months later while on a client project based in New York City. Sitting in front of the Managing Director at our firm one day, I balled my eyes out. I had pushed just a little too hard this time and took on a crazy client with a sick baby at home, working 15 hours days, and not sleeping anymore. To say I was stressed was an understatement. My MD pitying me, gave me a sabbatical for a month, but I came back with a new mindset. I didn't need to prove anything anymore because I was enough and had enough. I had realized that my scarcity mindset had led me to a finish line that I was not prepared for.


My new-found abundance mindset was starting to materialize in my mind at this time, and I began to develop a deep sense of personal worth and security. I left my firm shortly after and began to transition my role out of management into a more individual contributor-role to focus on myself and my family. I needed inner peace, and I also need to work on things that I had kept putting on the back burner in my quest to have more stability. I also came up with tips to ensure that when I find myself slowly getting back to that anxious feeling of scarcity that has become all-too-familiar, I could reel myself back in.

These were the lessons I learned:

1. Taking moments of Gratitude

My biggest lesson was to devote and carve out time for myself and reflect on things that I have accomplished or have obtained. I'm so used to thinking about what I don't have that I don't take the time to focus on what I do have. It's important to know that everything that you have is a blessing and not look for the next best thing!


2. Breathing and Meditation

One of the negative symptoms of having a scarcity mindset is also getting anxiety. I have suffered for a long time with anxiety personally, to the point of physical pain a few times. Meditation and breathing through it has always helped me resolve any deep turmoil I feel. Which ultimately leads me to relaxation when I do it.


3. Spending time with Loved one

Honestly, when I'm spending time with my husband, son, family, or friends, I don't think about money at all or things. I think about all the