7 ways to build an abundant mindset

I had a recent experience where the owner of a small company explained on Facebook that it was time to cull the old Facebook friend list because while that friend list had expanded to 1,000+ names, it was obvious that no one could have that many true friends. 

As part of the explanation, the business owner noted: “Facebook has given me the false impression that I know you all. And, yes, I might see it’s your birthday, that you’re doing home renovations or that you have a great garden, or that you’re traveling somewhere exciting (yet you aren’t one of my clients, so frankly I don’t care).”

In other words, “if you’re not giving me your business for X, I don’t care about your X”. 

Ouch. What struck me when I read this post is that this was written by someone who does not have an abundant mindset. This is someone who sees a limit to friendships, interactions, business, and possibilities.

Even though this was on Facebook and not LinkedIn (therefore a friend forum and not a business forum), it reflects the effect a non-abundant mindset can have on us professionally.

Would you feel like doing business with someone who cuts you from a list because you haven’t done business YET?

Would you wonder how much is ENOUGH business to make the cut?

Would you trust if the person interacted with your posts that this person genuinely wanted to connect or would you feel that it was really an attempt to hook you as a business opportunity?

As we’ve discussed in a previous blog, limiting beliefs can hold you back personally and professionally – and perhaps even in ways we don’t realize. But, don’t despair! We can re-train our brains to think differently and rewrite the script.



abundant mindset

Here are seven tips to help you build an abundant mindset:

  1. Think without borders. Don’t set parameters when you dream about possibilities and set big goals. Be audacious! If you set limits at the outset you’re not going to be reaching very far.
  2. Push fear away and be curious and excited. Yes, change can be scary – but so is never taking a risk and stagnating. Change allows us the potential to grow and experience positives we otherwise would never encounter. Practice embracing change and being open to new opportunities!
  3. Don’t rest on your laurels! Never stop learning. If you have an abundant mindset, you understand that no matter how brilliant or accomplished any of us are there is still more to learn and experience. There are always areas in which we can develop and grow because it’s impossible to learn everything. See where being insatiably curious and trying new things takes you.
  4. Get off the sidelines and hustle. You can sit back and wait for things to happen in life (and perhaps react to them), or you can actively seek possibilities in life. If you have an abundant mindset, you will be pro-active.  (You can use our ultimate goal setting worksheet to explore possibilities wisely and do a little strategic planning.)
  5. Fill that glass. Folks love to say optimists see a glass as half full while pessimists see it as half empty. When we move into abundant thinking, we’re focusing on finding reasons for gratitude and recognizing what we have. If you have an abundant mindset, you see possibilities instead of limitations and so you’re going to see you can work at filling the glass until it’s as full as you want it to be!
  6. Healthy competition only (no green-eyed monsters). If you have an abundant mindset then the success of someone else isn’t going to make you feel threatened. There’s room for lots of us to achieve good things, right? Celebrate when others are successful and learn from what they do well. Jealous competition and resentment can only limit relationships and waste your energy.
  7. Keep your focus on what you can do differently or better. Some folks get bogged down in negative self-talk when things don’t go as planned. Do not get stuck in that victim mindset! When you focus on the negative, you limit your thinking. Not only that, but steeping yourself in anxiety, fear, anger, or any of the myriad negative emotions is stressful and stress wreaks havoc on our physical health, too. Don’t be afraid to fail! With an abundant mindset, you can find the emotional courage to learn from your mistakes and pursue limitless possibilities.

If you try these seven tips to reframe your thoughts and rewrite your inner dialogue, you can stop limiting your thinking by changing from a scarcity mindset (I can’t, it’s not possible, there isn’t any way, etc.) to an abundant mindset (I can try, it might work if I explore the possibilities, I can find a way, etc.).

Building an abundant mindset is life-changing. Leave the “what if I don’t?” and “what if I can’t” behind for a big “what’s next?!” so that you embrace life and all its possibilities.

Coach’s Questions: 

When you think about dreams and goals, what is your current mindset? How have you limited your dreams or hopes? What can you do this week to start building an abundant mindset or making it stronger? What big, audacious ideas do you have for the new year?

Is Artificial Intelligence a Threat to Leadership?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes jobs redundant by the millions, how can you ensure you have a place in the workplace?

Before you think, ah, but I’m in a leadership role in X industry and this won’t affect me at all: This is about much more than just manufacturing jobs. 

Earlier this year, AI expert Kai-Fu Lee told 60 Minutes that he predicts AI will eliminate employment for 40 percent of jobs in the next 15 years. 

In his book, AI Super Powers, Lee outlines how AI can replace not just repetitive tasks, but also traditionally white-collar careers in many diverse fields, including accounting, marketing, law, hospitality, and even healthcare.

The current move toward artificial intelligence is being characterized as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.  Are you ready for it? How do you ensure you continue to have a place in the workplace? Can you still stand out or excel in this new age of AI?

Things that AI cannot truly replicate

We have to build on the things that underscore our humanitythe things that AI cannot truly replicate. Things like:

Emotional Intelligence: What makes great leaders stand out from good leaders? Usually it’s emotional intelligence. The good news is that you can learn how to boost your leadership emotional intelligence. 

It’s primarily about self-awareness, self-management and managing relationships with those around you. Being fully conscious of how your behavior affects others is at the core of emotional intelligence.

Effective communication: There is no comparison between someone who can communicate well and communicating with AI. Hands down, effective communication skills will give human leaders a competitive edge over the best bot technology.

Being able to communicate effectively with those around you takes more than strategy. It requires understanding that communication flows two ways and being able to cater your communication style to be delivered in a way that others will receive it well. 

When you are intentional in your communication and listen to understand rather than listen to reply – you can turn difficult conversations into essential conversations.

Curiosity: Harnessing your curiosity can reap huge benefits for your team (and it’s not a characteristic of artificial intelligence!). Instead of directing outcomes and solving problems, a coach approach sees leaders ask questions and cultivate curiosity about everything. 

A growth mindset:  We as leaders can move away from a fear mindset to a growth mindset. This takes us from feeling driven to keep things smooth and even to feeling driven to grow and experiment. Learning from (and celebrating) failures encourages us to stretch and strive to do better.

Strategic thinking: This means not just thinking of the logical next move in the execution of an idea but instead, thinking through the idea to determine the angle of approach. It’s determining the most effective outcome (which isn’t always based on the most efficient approach).

Initiating good conflict: Building good conflict is the act of challenging people you trust to help them develop even better ideas (or them challenging you to do the same). Conflict in this sense isn’t about fighting, it’s about not being afraid to share different perspectives or raising concerns. 

Managing bad conflict: Most of us have experienced bad conflict either performance problems or the nasty, interpersonal conflict between coworkers. Tackling the bad kind of team conflict requires having the unique ability to address a challenge head-on or help the other person find ways to solve it.  

If you build and adapt your leadership style to the needs of individuals you’ll go far – even in the middle of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – because while machines can figure out complex problems, they can seldom figure out emotions. 

At this point, artificial intelligence still can’t compete with leaders who boost their emotional intelligence as creative, resourceful, inclusive, respectful and accountable humans.

Coach’s Questions

Where do YOU have an advantage over artificial intelligence? What can you do to boost your emotional intelligence this week? How can you protect your future career from AI? Want to do more to work on your EI? We offer a workshop to help you understand,  assess and develop your emotional intelligence as a leader (and foster emotional intelligence skills with your team).

How One to One meetings build a solid culture of engaged employees

How often do you engage with your direct-reports? I don’t mean a list of updates at a weekly meeting, or a drive-by debrief when something is falling apart. 

What I mean is: 

  • How often do you sit and talk about what is motivating them? what’s wearing them down? 
  • How often do you tell them what you’re appreciating about their work, and what you would like to see adjusted?

I get it – you’re ready to stop reading because, “I don’t have time for that.”  Give me another couple of minutes to hear me out. 

Why is it worth spending time every week with each direct report??

  • One-to-one meetings strengthen relationships between the manager and their team members, which is foundational to build a solid culture of engaged employees.
  • We all have a need to feel validated. Sharing thoughts one-to-one lets your direct reports know that their insights and concerns are appreciated and taken into consideration.
  • The above prevents all sorts of other problems and challenges, and sets you both up for big success.

There are many benefits to having short, focused meetings one-to-one with your team members:

  •  One-to-one meetings improve efficiency and productivity 

What’s critical to note is that the amount of time you spend holding ad-hoc conversations with your employees, communicating by email and tracking down crucial information will be condensed almost entirely. 

This brief one-to-one communication provides a high-level overview of current issues and progress. These unique meetings significantly boost productivity and cut wasted time. 

  • You’ll build loyalty

Employees will place a greater sense of trust in your leadership if you meet with them regularly for one-to-one meetings. Loyalty cannot be established through a drive-by relationship with your people; frequency and consistency are required.

  • It benefits both of you

Not only will you have the opportunity to discuss needs, goals and expectations, but you’re also giving your folks an advantage by providing your undivided attention. Within this time, your employees are given a chance to relay their progress and receive clear direction for upcoming priorities.

  • You can give feedback in a way that’s meaningful and personable

Providing feedback for your employees can be uncomfortable, but one-to-one meetings offer the ideal opportunity for letting your directs know how they’re doing, and what you expect from them moving forward – it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that.

  • You can check-in on goals/objectives and clearly align on progress and next actions to attain goals

This keeps you (and them!) on track and gets things back on track faster when things are derailing. 

And hey, for those times when the weekly meeting doesn’t avoid a crisis and you have to have “the talk” with someone about a big mess-up, it’s a lot easier to do when you’ve built a foundation of weekly honest conversations full of good talking and good listening. 

So how do you have great one-to-one meetings to achieve all those great things, and not painful and awkward meetings?

Make it Safe

Making it safe and maybe even comfortable for people to speak openly is important. As coaches, we work hard to create this atmosphere with our clients and leaders should strive to do this with their direct reports. If these meetings feel too clinical or formal, they’re less likely to achieve the outcomes we listed above. 

Make this meeting an opportunity to get to know this person better. The point is not just to “get an update on their projects,” but rather, to really get to know them because strong work relationships are foundational to success. 

Not only does that build trust, which is key, but you can, for example, find out if there’s anything worrying them. This can help you foresee issues before they become problems. 

It takes time to establish trust, so don’t call it quits after only one meeting. It takes time to change and build a solid culture and get everyone engaged.

Listen More Than You Talk

Don’t dominate the discussion; instead leave plenty of room for the other person to talk, even if that means sitting in silence. I get it: silence can be uncomfortable, and some folks find it harder than others. It takes time to master the art of sitting in silence. But, silence can be very important, allowing for quiet reflection and encouraging others to speak.

Listen to Understand

This is one of our favorite rules for communication because too many of us listen with the intent to respond. When you stop thinking about how to respond, and actually listen to what someone is saying to you (even if you’re angry about it or disagree with them), you may understand what the other person’s issue or concern is. If you reply with a question to understand their perspective more deeply, they feel heard and then real communication can take place. 

Ask Curiosity-Based Questions

People talk more when they’re encouraged to share, not just with open-ended questions but with curiosity-based questions. Show that you are genuinely interested and eager to learn more by asking inquisitive questions. 

I’ve advised clients to consciously think, “I’m curious about…” when they start to ask a question. For example, if you’re talking to a direct report about a situation and they say something intriguing, you’ll think, “I’m curious about XYZ.” Asking, “You mentioned XYZ and I’d like to know more. What can you tell me about that?” might yield more information than more direct “yes/no” or “why?” questions, which can put people on the defensive.

Build Confidence

Here I mean their confidence first, then yours. Help your staff feel confident in a one-to-one meeting by letting them talk and showing concern for any problems from their point of view.  

For example, if a direct-report shares with you their concern about the risk of delays on one aspect of a project, your mind might immediately think of the negative impact that could have on things, how that would damage other areas you’re responsible for, how it might make you look bad, etcetera, etcetera. 

Instead, try responding by looking at it from their perspective. How difficult might it have been for them to tell you? How worried might they be about all the things you just thought about? How can you inspire them to feel confident in finding solutions?

Build your own confidence, too. You might be feeling silly or even weak – having a meeting where you aren’t guiding the conversation, where you’re not answering questions and telling them what to do when there’s a problem might feel alien to you. Using a coach approach to leadership takes practice, but as you move from being the leader who tells people the answers to helping them find the answers themselves you will see how much stronger your team becomes.

A lot of that feeling is about your own beliefs: thinking you need to solve all problems, thinking you need to always have an answer, thinking you have to have it all together. (If that were true, why would you need a team?!)

Practise letting go of that self-talk and reminding yourself that you’re in this together and you can help each other. Remember that by NOT responding and by NOT imposing your own solutions to problems, you’re helping them to grow and you’re being a great LEADER (instead of a BOSS!). You can feel confident in that – and enjoy the benefits of building a solid culture of engaged employees. 

Review Your Progress

Before you leave a one-to-one meeting, take a few minutes to go over what you’ve discussed. Ask:

  • What was helpful in today’s meeting?  
  • What would you like to have happen differently next time, to make our one-to-one more valuable to you? 

Keep in mind they might not have answers right away, but you can start the next meeting with the same questions – things may have come to them in the meantime.

Coach’s Questions

What benefits from one-to-one meetings do you most want to see with your team? What can you this week do to implement or improve one-to-one meetings with your direct reports?