A few months ago in mid-Summer, we were visiting Myrtle Beach in South Carolina and decided to go to an all you can eat Seafood Buffet. Now, if you have never visited an all you can eat buffet in the US, you may not be able to immediately picture the endless sea of bain-marie’s under a swath of cozy warm lights (for my Australian peeps, think of the old restaurant chain Sizzler but on steroids), but those of you that have, will understand just how much food gets consumed in one night! Especially at a Seafood buffet by the beach during the busiest time of the year where the supply of Alaskan King Crab legs seems never-ending and hordes of people line up in the sweltering heat, often waiting for over an hour, just to get a table.
It was a fun (and very tasty) experience but as I looked around at all those people and all that food, it got me thinking about how much abundance we do have in our lives, even though we may not recognize it as we race through our busy lives. Life is so busy and chaotic, especially these days, that it can feel like it is zipping by, getting even more stressful, and easy for us to get overly focused on where we lack something and what we wish we had instead. We may find ourselves wishing we had more time, or more hours in the day, more freedom, wishing we had more money, or a better relationship, or better-behaved kids, wishing others appreciated us more or gave us more credit for how hard we are working or how much we are doing etc. When we head down this path of thinking, we overlook the good things we already have and our thoughts can quickly spiral and start to plague us 24/7 if we let them. This eventually becomes quite detrimental to our mindset. It has the potential to send us into a tailspin of negativity, leaving us feeling very unhappy, anxious or depressed, demotivated, critical of everything and everyone including ourselves, and most of all, feeling helpless to our situation. Which all in all, is not a fun place to be every day! So, if you find yourself with a lack or a scarcity mindset, before you get any further down this path, how do you turn it around? How can you shift your mindset to one of abundance and gratitude to see the great things you already have in your life and attract even more of it?
It starts with following the concept of the Law of Attraction. In an overly simplified nutshell, this is basically a philosophy of ‘like attracts like’ and in this case, meaning the more we think and feel about something, we will attract more of it into our lives. Have you ever thought about why wealthy people usually only hang out with other wealthy people or how higher vibration people who are positive and authentic usually don’t have Debbie Downers in their friendship circles, or how highly negative people seem to gravitate towards each other? It is because everything in the world is made up of energy, and the energy you put out in to the world is the energy you will attract into your life. If you haven't watched the movie 'The Secret', I would highly recommend it. However if you really think about when things have gone well for you in life or perhaps not so well, you may start to make a correlation to your surrounding thoughts, feelings and emotions at the time. For example, can you think of a time where you had a whole host of things that just kept going wrong? Chances are you were likely feeling like nothing could go right for you and you may have even been telling not only yourself this constantly, but anyone who would listen. Saying things like 'I can't catch a break', or 'what will go wrong next', or 'this is the worst thing ever' (only to have something even worse happen) etc. What about the times when things went right for you and more good thing kept happening? Can you remember what you were you thinking, feeling and saying then?
I know looking back on some of the more challenging times in my adult life, I can now make the connection in hindsight. One area for me that I always felt I was lacking in was time. For so many years I felt that I had no time or not enough hours in the day to get through my to-do list and the more I kept thinking about it and complaining about it (which was quite a lot), the more I seemed to get even busier, and my calendar was relentless. Life seemed to speed up rather than slow down and my to-do list grew exponentially. I wore my busyness almost like a badge of honor - someone would ask how I was and my first response would be 'so busy'. However, once I finally realized that being that busy over so many years wasn't sustainable or good for my health and sanity, I started to make a conscious effort to look at my existing circumstance from a more abundant perspective. As soon as I did, time started freeing up for me, almost as if by magic (more on that shortly).
So, there really are big advantages to thinking in a more abundant way and recognizing where you already have it in your life, even if they seem small right now. You can retrain your mind to move from a scarcity and lack state to an abundant one, which in turn brings you even more abundance. The first step is to start observing and noticing your existing thoughts. Are you already acknowledging the things that went right or even appreciating the small things throughout your day or are your thoughts mostly getting stuck in consistent loops about what could be better or what you are frustrated by? If it’s the latter, don’t judge or criticize yourself for it, just notice it.
Secondly, start looking for things to appreciate or be grateful for throughout your day. It could be something as simple as seeing a nice sunrise on your way to work or sunset on your way home, actually take notice and think of how beautiful the sky looks and just simply say ‘thank you for that beautiful sunrise/sunset’ (of course, you can say it in your head if other people are around and you are self-conscious). Other examples could be noticing how green the trees are as you are driving or walking by, hearing the sound of your children giggling or even just getting to go to the bathroom and grabbing a coffee between meetings. If this is something that you forget to do in the moment, before you go to sleep at night, think back on your day and find something you can appreciate and say thank you for the abundance you have (e.g. abundance for whatever you are appreciating, an act of kindness, something beautiful, your spouse or child saying I love you etc.). Over time if you make this a simple daily practice, you will find yourself starting to look for more things that you can appreciate and will notice more abundance coming into your life. Say you are starting to notice the horizon turning a pretty pink, purple or orange as the sun is setting each day, as well as the bright red poppies growing in a neighbor’s garden and how green the tree across from you looks as you gaze out the window and appreciating the beauty of it, pretty soon you'll find your world filling up with the abundance of beauty everywhere you look and more of it will show up in your life each day.
So beauty is one thing, but what about something you really want to be more abundant in, like time? I mentioned my example earlier so I wanted to share a few things that really worked for me as a lack of time was always my biggest challenge for many years. You may find yourself in the same situation, where you feel that you have little control over your own calendar, working excessively because there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, you might need to travel for work and there is bound to be additional demands on your time outside of work between your spouse, kids, other family members, social commitments, volunteer commitments etc. The list can be endless, so it is very easy to get caught up in the lack mindset when it comes to time especially.
The first thing I did was admit that I had more control over my own time than I cared to admit. I acknowledged that I felt like a victim to my circumstance and schedule. This wasn’t about criticizing myself for not managing my time better, but just to acknowledge that it was my time and I was the one that could choose where and how I spent it. I won’t go into tips and tricks of time management here (and chances are you've done plenty of training on this in the past), however changing my mindset to feel more time abundant was a critical step.
I then started appreciating and saying thank you (to myself and the universe) for any meetings I had that finished early or for any white space on my calendar. I did this every single time it happened. Whenever I got 5 or 10 minutes between meetings to run and get more water or coffee, I said thank you. Any time I had a spare moment to knock something off my to-do list, send a quick e-mail or take care of something I needed to do, I said thank you and truly felt appreciative to have had that extra time to get it done. At the same time, I started reinforcing to myself that I was time abundant. After each time after saying thank you, I said to myself, ‘see I have plenty of time' or 'I am time abundant’. It may sound silly but it's a really important step, as it was a way to give my brain evidence of all the time I actually did have.
What I found was after not too long of doing this, maybe a week or two at most, I started finding many of my meetings would finish early. This started happening most days, they would finish 10 or 15 minutes earlier than planned (this had been a rarity in the past). I also found that each week at least some of my meetings would get cancelled either that day or the following day (also a rarity). Then, as soon as they disappeared off my calendar, I immediately blocked that time out so no-one else could take it and I could get some real work done. All in all, by changing my mindset around the spare time I already had, it brought extra unscheduled time into my life. When I noticed my thought slipping again, my calendar went back to being full, so it became an experiment for me so I could notice what was happening and what my thoughts were at the time, which of course led me to continuing to be thankful and grateful for the extra time I had and ultimately leading to feeling like I had more of it. Although this does take some effort initially to really think this way, once you realize the effects, you won't want to slip back into old ways of thinking. Again, remember if you forget to say thank you at the time (it takes some time to make this a habit in the moment), just make it a point to do it before you go to sleep at night by reflecting back on your day.
Are there other areas in your life that you feel a sense of lack about, like money or love? Try this same process and see if you can transform your mindset to start feeling already more abundant and attract even more abundance into your life. If you find yourself really struggling to feel any sort of gratitude or even say thank you for what you perceive you lack, you may have some deeper hidden blocks and limiting beliefs. If so, I am available for 1:1 coaching where we can work with tools and techniques that address and change your thoughts at the subconscious level to overcome these blocks.
I'm curious, what what will you start feeling more abundant about?