The Poverty Minded Leader

The thought of poverty stirs up many images in my mind. The homeless man sitting outside of the local Wal-Mart. Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol. The single mother working two jobs and still not making it work.

And lately my mind has wandered to leaders who are in poverty. Not monetary poverty but a mindset of poverty.

Ever met a poverty minded leader? I think you have and you’ll probably recognize him after this post.

Poverty mindsets can ruin you

Image by Ricky Flores

What Is A Poverty Mindset?

Let’s begin with this. What is a poverty mindset? What does it mean and what does it do to you?

A poverty mindset means:

Believing there will never be enough

Someone is always out to get what you have

Seeing life as a constant struggle

Decisions are based on fear

I don’t know about you but, to me, this seems like a horrible mindset to have. You’re always looking over your shoulder, never trusting those around you. You’re always looking for that next get-rich quick scheme. And fear is always chasing you down.

There are leaders who live in this mindset as well. They struggle with the leadership poverty mentality.

What happens when a leader gets caught in the poverty trap?

Poverty minded leaders lack trust in those they lead

Poverty minded leaders fear their team members will leave them

Poverty minded leaders always want more, more, more

Poverty minded leaders see everyone as competition

Poverty minded leaders believe there’s not enough room for more than one leader

Poverty minded leaders rule out of fear

Poverty minded leaders look for the shortcuts to the top

Poverty minded leaders feel they never have enough help

These types of leaders are horrible to work under. They provide an unstable working environment that can be toxic to your health.

Knowing this, I know you don’t want to be a poverty minded leader. You want to be something better, right?

How To Overcome The Poverty Mindset In Leadership

Let’s get down to the good stuff. How we can become leaders who no longer live in the mindset of poverty. A leader who rises to the top and leads with the mindset of abundance.

Overcoming the poverty mindset takes a reprogramming of our minds. It also takes a conscious effort on our part to see good where we used to see bad.

Try these tricks for changing your poverty mindset:

Rephrase your current situation: Yes, it may look like you don’t have enough team members. Yes, you may not have the finances to fully fund the work you would love to do. Yes, there may be competition. Yet if we re-frame our thoughts here, we can see positives.

The lack of team members means you can quickly communicate to the whole team. You may also be able to move more quickly when a situation calls for drastic action.

The lack of finances may be a blessing. When our backs are against the wall, we must become creative. You’re forced to look for new solutions that can bring fast results. This wouldn’t be possible if you had all the money in the world.

The appearance of competition can be viewed as a positive. Why? Because when you see competition, you know there’s an idea that’s working. Where there’s no competition, there’s likely not a good idea.

Appreciate where you’re at: The poverty mindset hits young leaders especially hard. You might feel you’re not where you’re supposed to be or you’re not making the progress you thought you should be.

It’s easy to do this when we’re looking at leaders who are 5, 6, 7 steps ahead of us. But you know what? They were where you are at during one point in their leadership journey. They probably even felt the same way you do.

To that, I say step back and begin to appreciate where you’re at today. Sure, it might be the beginning. The beginning of something beautiful.

Memorize positive affirmations: Lastly, you may want to begin to memorize positive affirmations. These are statements that are encouraging and bring you to a better place.

The positive affirmations may go something like:

I have a great team who looks up to me

I am in a role many people would love to be in

I know I’m making a difference

I have control over my situation

I have great potential and am working towards reaching that potential

Memorizing and reciting positive affirmations in the morning will help you start your day off on the right foot. You will begin to fill your mind with positive, uplifting thoughts that will help replace the negative poverty mindset you’ve been carrying around for far too long.

As a leader, we can’t sit around and mope in our poverty. We must realize we’re doing great things. We’re changing the lives of those we lead. We’re making an impact on the world around us.

Question: What are you doing to keep the poverty mindset at bay? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. I’m sure someone needs to hear what you have to say today.

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