In early January 2017, my wife, our kids and I headed out to California for a two-week vacation that took us from La Jolla to Hollywood to the Hearst Castle to Yosemite to San Francisco.
While we were in La Jolla, which is just outside of San Diego, we decidd to spend a day in the local wine country of the Temecula Valley. After visiting several wineries, we stopped at Lorenzi Winery, which was founded by Don Lorenzi, a local magazine publisher.
Speaking with the server in the tasting room about Lorenzi’s story, as I sipped some of his bold reds, I began to think long and hard about why I couldn’t one day achieve one of my dreams: Owning a winery.
A big goal? Absolutely. But I believe your objectives should be so big and audacious that they make you feel uncomfortable. They should actually make you feel a little embarrassed to tell other people.
We left the winery, and that night I attended a local networking event. But I could not get the thought of owning my own winery out of my head. It was the last thought I had before drifting off to sleep; the first thought in my head when I woke up.
Driving from La Jolla up to Hollywood the next day, I pulled the car over and told Julie I was going to record a video for my followers on LinkedIn and Facebook. In that video, I shared my goal of owning a winery.
“I’m going to own a winery,” I stated in the video. “Maybe not next year. Or the year after. But ten years from now? Why not?”
I explained the story of my trip to Lorenzi Vineyards and how I didn’t have a doubt in my mind that my goal would one day become a reality.
“My abundance mindset caused me — forced me — to think: Why not me?” I said. “I can see it now: My family name on the bottle. Producing a big, red Cab, just as dry and musty as I like it. Leaving a legacy to pass down to future generations.”
The vision was so clear. It was like I had already been in that future.
“If I had a scarcity mindset, I would’ve thought: That’s out of reach,” I explained. “Do you have an abundance mindset or scarcity mindset? If your mindset is one of scarcity, you’ll never break out of the rut you find yourself in today.”
The abundance vs. scarcity theme is one I had been considering for a while, but this was the first time I decided to address it. I have to admit I was feeling it.
After all, the very California trip we were taking would’ve previously been considered “too expensive” by us — even when I was bringing in significantly more revenue from my agency. The trip was actually taking place at the same time I would normally have been at a multi-day meeting for one of my former clients.
Instead of having to sit through that meeting, I was tasting wine and conjuring dreams of one day making my own.
Later that year, we took a 5 1/2 week trip through Europe, and followed that up the following spring with a three week trip to Italy.
So, what’s the difference between an abundance mindset and a scarcity mindset?
My friend, Mike Johnson, described abundance best when I commented on LinkedIn in response to my “winery” video.
“Visualizing and feeling as if the achievement is already attained speeds its manifestation,” wrote Mike , a former journalist who is now an early-retirement expert. You already have it, just live from that assumption until present time sucks that future to today.”
What about scarcity? “Austin H.” exemplified it well when he wrote on Facebook in response to my video, “This dude is never going to own a winery.”
Stephen Covey popularized — hell, he may even have coined — the term “abundance mentality” in his best-selling 1989 book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey described it as “a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others.”
I would go further than Covey to say an abundance mindset is one that looks at something that seems impossible and says, “why not?”
Per his definition, however, it also applies to people who achieved success and said, “why not me?”
Covey went on to write that “most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality.”
“They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there,” he wrote. “And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else.”
This mentality was on display later in the year, in September 2017, when I posted a video from the beach.
You see, I set a limit for myself of only working twelve hours per week. The rest of my time is filled with activities and things that fulfill me: time with the kids, working out, reading, dates with my wife, etc.
We homeschool our kids, with my wife doing the great majority of the schooling work. As such, one day per week I take the kids and my wife has a “day off” — she can go out and do whatever she wants. On those days, sometimes I take the kids to a museum, sometimes I take them to the park, and sometimes I take them to the beach.
On one September Wednesday, we went to the beach. I decided to film a video where I spoke of my “twelve- hour work limit” and the fact that I had built a lifestyle in which I can go to the beach with my kids on a weekday.
“How did this nonsense end up on LinkedIn?” asked one commenter in response to my beach video. “12 hours work a week? What’s the wife doing all day? Waiting at the beach? And the kids? No school, no activities?”
“You must’ve inherited your money,” asserted another commenter.
“He must’ve married rich,” wrote yet another.
Those comments clearly represent the scarcity mindset: Being so trapped by your limiting beliefs that you can’t even believe someone else would be able to actually design their lifestyle.
It’s that type of mindset that can fill you with jealousy, rather than motivation, when you look at other successful people.
It’s that type of mindset that resigns you to a life of mediocrity, instead of a life of abundance.
And it’s that type of mindset that keeps you trapped in the life of quiet desperation we discussed in Chapter One of this book.
The first step to living a life of freedom and fulfillment is blowing apart that scarcity mindset and adopting one of abundance.
This blog post adapted from my Amazon bestselling book, Five Pillars of the Freedom Lifestyle.