When I was in high school I wanted to grow up to be James Bond.
Well, James Bond the businessman: In shape, sharply dressed, and pulling up to meet clients in an exotic sports car.
Forty-five days ago the last piece of my boyhood dream came true, I bought that car.
The whole experience of buying was incredible and turning heads on Las Vegas Boulevard was even better. This was a reward for my hard work. I had finally made it.
I’ve owned the car for six weeks and it’s been in the shop half the time. Today a tow truck arrived to haul it away yet again. The dealer can’t tell me what is wrong, let alone when my car will return home.
I was upset and had nervous anxiety in my belly. I felt like throwing up.
I had a decision to make:
I could choose to feel like a victim. To stay outraged and blame the manufacturer and the dealer. I could let my head spin and question my decision to buy it in the first place. Heck, maybe I didn’t deserve the car and this was the universe’s way of knocking me down a peg. I could let this consume me. A year from now, I would tell this story as an example of how things never work out for me.
I could choose to not take this personally. Maybe this wasn’t a personal insult from an uncaring God. I could see this as just one of those random events that happens in life. I bought a faulty car. It happens. I could choose to be grateful that I still had my Subaru to drive, that the repairs were under warranty, the dealer was supportive and that Nevada had a Lemon Law. A year from now, I would tell this story as an example of how it’s possible to stay grateful and positive even when my first instinct was to be upset.
Two choices of perspective: scarcity or abundance?
As a leadership coach I see this all the time with my clients. One of my clients had a lot of resentment toward her work. Her job was a source of constant frustration. She didn’t see anything positive coming from all of the effort she gave. During our coaching session, I introduced the idea of a scarcity mindset vs. an abundance mindset. She realized that the health benefits, good pay and flexible work schedule her job provided was vital to her lifestyle. She was choosing to see the negative. And just as easily, she could choose the opposite.
Often, our first instinct is to take things personally: the driver who cut into your lane, the comment from your coworker about how messy your desk was, your spouse hanging up the phone without saying goodbye.
But, if we’d just stop and make an intentional decision about which perspective actually serves us in having the life we want, we would choose to be positive, grateful, and engaged.
So what if my dream car was getting towed away! I was successful enough to buy the car in the first place, so what’s the difference now?
As I watch the tow truck take off with my symbol of success, I’m not worried.
Sometimes James Bond drives a Subaru.
Where in your life is a scarcity perspective holding you back?