Coaching: scarcity vs. abundance

I’ve been doing a bit of research about fear this weekend.

Partly because I’m working with a couple of people who experience a form of fear every day and need some help combatting it, also because I’m heading to the dentist tomorrow for a second visit (I understand there will be a drill in operation), and because from time to time I find myself frozen and inactive which isn’t any good for work.

Here’s the thing that has really resonated in my reading. Note: in explaining this I’m trying not to come across like one of those annoying twats who thinks he has life all sorted out. I don’t. I haven’t. I would never claim that.

We are what we believe; what we believe is what we seek out

There’s this idea that we seek out what we believe. If we think the world is a shit place, we’ll hone in on all the stuff that’s shit just to bear out our pre-determined script.

*slams fist on table*

I do this. My God its boring – not just for me, but for everyone around me.

The fear comes emerges in a resulting vague sense of panic. It’s the panic which has (historically) motivated me to do lots of different things.

In some senses I’m grateful for the motivation that comes from panic, but now I’m beginning to think I’d quite like it if I didn’t panic, and to be able to marvel at what I achieve when I haven’t.

That aspiration, I now realise, is about establishing a new habit, something which takes 66 days I understand.

And it appears there’s a practise one can follow – the result of which is something I had previously derided.

The thinking is that if we look for shit, we’ll find it, and then we’ll communicate through the prism of ‘the world is shit’. It’s what we’re all hard-wired to do. It is – I understand this weekend – the outlook of scarcity. “I haven’t got enough of X, therefore, the world is shit.”

Celebrate what’s in abundance

But there’s a counter viewpoint – one of abundance – which helps change outlooks, thoughts, feelings and therefore behaviours. Historically I had always seen this as unicorns and white fluffy clouds. Now I’ve changed my mind.

The thinking goes that if you look for what you have in abundance instead of that which you lack in any given moment, then you’ll experience a change of outlook (even if it is for a split second).

I experienced it again today on a glorious trot around nearby Mountsfield Park with the OH. Lots of leaves, long grass and blue skies. We’ve been in this neck of Lewisham’s woods for 17 years now. We both commented on the walk how much we hated it when we arrived but how it quickly felt like home. A fabulous afternoon. My face now glows red after only 45 minutes in the beating sunshine. I loved our stupidly insignificant and otherwise banal walk.

It may be you’re way ahead of me. You may well have known about this idea of abundance already. In which case I really am late to the party and I’m going to look like an even bigger twat.

But in case you’re not already aware, then good. Because it means you have the joy of discovering it too.

Jon Jacob is an ICF accredited leadership coach, mentor and team facilitator. Find out more about his professional background on LinkedIn.

Email him at or call him on 07768 864655.