How to Encourage an Abundant Mindset
You’re not going to build a billion dollar business on a string of bad days. It has to be a sequence of your very best days. Your performance is tied 100% to your attitude. – Katia Verresen, Executive Coach
Executive coach Katia Verresen, who has counseled leaders at Facebook, Stanford, Airbnb, and Twitter, believes that the right mindset is one of the leadership traits that is essential to getting anything done. Once you help your team eliminate negativity in favor of what Verresen calls “abundant thinking,” projects will seem more doable, and there will be more room for everyone to reach their full potential.
As a first step, Verresen suggests going through a diagnostic phase to see if your team is edging toward a scarcity-driven mindset or an abundant mindset. Use the chart above to discover where your team needs improvement. After taking inventory of your team’s mental state, use Verresen’s six tools to help your team shift their mindset and go to work happy.
Six Ways to Encourage an Abundant Mindset
- Help your team notice the positive. It’s easy to get into a negative feedback loop if the only apparent options are those of failure and limitation. Help your team notice more possibilities by encouraging everyone to answer the following questions:
- If this seemingly impossible task actually is possible, what's my next logical move?
- What's going right in this situation?
- What resources might I have that I’m not seeing yet?
- I wonder what it would be like to... (fill in an action that seems to exist outside the scope of possibility).
- Encourage your team to adopt a neutral mindset. Like the first tool, neutrality helps you to release judgements and limiting beliefs and see the truth in a situation.
- Acknowledge everyone’s point of view as true, and give each opinion equal weight.
- In meetings where you’re making important decisions, write down everyone’s ideas on a whiteboard. The visualization makes decisions more about ideas, not people.
- During times of conflict, ask yourself, “If I were neutral on this subject, would I notice anything different? If I knew nothing at all about it and just stepped into the situation this moment, what would I see?”
- Lead your team through positivity-boosting activities. Refresh your team’s emotional and mental energy by taking them through short daily activities. It’s best to do these in the beginning of the workday, or any time your team is feeling low.
- Read or watch something you know will make your team laugh.
- Put on a song you can all jam to.
- Go for a walk. Staying in one place can trap you in the same mindset.
- Take time to be around a different team that makes you feel happy and supported.
- Guide your team through a self-compassionate script. When things get especially tough, it’s important for you and your team to self-sooth in order to stay resilient. Walk your team through this framework created by The University of Texas at Austin Psychology Professor Kristin Neff:
- Admit that an experience or situation is painful. Don’t try to hide from or dismiss discomfort.
- Labeling emotions can help calm you down.
- Acknowledge that you’re not alone–whatever you are feeling is something that has been experienced before.
- Take a kind, mindful action to feel better. Take a 5-minute break when you’re in a scarcity mindset during the work day. Also ensure that you’re taking care of yourself after the workday is done.
- Constantly give back to your team. Keep your tribe strong by growing your network of resources, and by encouraging everyone on your team to be generous with their skillset.
- Encourage “giving circles” of friends within the company. This is when 5 to 7 people from different departments meet up to make suggestions on each other’s projects. “Other people’s mind maps help you get unstuck,” says Verresen.
- Hold a problem-solution brainstorm. This is when each person presents what they need help with, and over a course of 7 minutes, everyone on the team writes down solutions on post-it notes. Stick the post-its on the wall–there are no bad ideas.
- Seek fresh perspectives outside of the groupthink of your workplace by reaching out to people who want to develop a similar skillset but are in a different company or industry.
- Practice gratitude with your team. Practicing gratitude with your team for 5 minutes a day can rewire your brains to act on the good in any situation.
- Schedule 5 minutes a day on your calendar to focus on the good things that are happening right now. It’s important that you commit to this time, regardless of what else is going on.
- Take time to reflect before charging on to the next activity. Make your team a list of their accomplishments after a big project is finished. Afterwards, ask them to think about the self-doubt they had, and how they achieved what they thought they couldn’t. This will help them stretch their goals further and believe in themselves more during future projects.
- Once a month, write down a coworker’s actions you’re grateful for. Encourage your team to call out those coworkers in a meeting or send them a thoughtful email.
Takeaway: Schedule short, daily actions with your team to shift their mode of thinking from a scarce, limiting mindset to a more open and positive paradigm.