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 good times and fun with the people in my life. Spending time with loved ones helps center your mindset and bring more clarity into your life on what is essential to you. Also, keep people who make you laugh around; they are the real gems in your life!

4. Positive Affirmations

I genuinely believe in the power of words, and that comes with my scarcity mindset. If you speak negativity, then negativity manifests. If you talk about positivity, then positivity happens. That's why it's important to mindful of what you say since you only want good things to come to fruition.

Based on these four things, I became more grateful for all that I had in my life and have learned to let that scarcity mindset go. As I mentioned, I've overcome this mindset for a while, but I would be lying if I didn't say there are days when I start wondering about the what-ifs or thoughts of wanting more. However, I have found ways to combat even those thoughts before they even settle in my mind. The point is that I'm not perfect, and I've come to love my imperfection and to be content in my version of what wealth and having things mean.

The Lioness is a financial blogger based in the Twin Cities. After spending most of her career in accounting, she decided to leap into the world of small business, investing, and savings. As she is on this journey of juggling both her career and small business, she wants to share what she is learning along the way, as she builds her passive income.

The Top 5 Money Savers

Stop Collecting and Start Selling your things