How many times have you felt frustrated by the lack of political will to curb greenhouse gas emissions, or experienced the fierce grip of panic when thinking that we have just a few years left to limit global warming to 1.5°C? We’re sure that just like us, you’re familiar with that voice of scarcity that tells you there isn’t enough – time, money, resources, or people who care.
And while there might be some truth to those statements, scarcity is a mindset that negatively affects the way you respond and limits your creativity.
“Scarcity takes many forms, but it is usually accompanied by the word ‘enough’ or something related to it. The one articulation of scarcity that rings loudest about climate change is: ‘there’s not enough time!’ In truth, the situation we face is scarce; we don’t have lots of time to make big, systemic changes or yet have enough people actively involved. However, there is a difference between the fact of scarcity and the impact that it has on our mental state, because feeling the threat of scarcity changes the way that we respond for the worse.”
– Except from chapter 8: When there’s too much ‘not enough’ of Climate Change Coaching – The Power of Connection to Create Climate Action
When the scarcity radio station is playing at full volume, how do you respond?
If you’re anything like us, a scarcity mindset can quickly have you feeling trapped, resourceless, and defeated, like a superhero stripped of their powers.
When it comes to mindset shifting, coaching skills are a little bit like superpowers themselves – seemingly effortless but potent in their effect. Try this approach when there’s too much ‘not enough’:
- Name scarcity when it shows up, it’s an effective short-cut to neutralizing its power over you. Imagine it as a metaphor to get some distance from it and help you think differently about your response.
- Ask for proof – our brains have a negative bias and often go straight to the worst-case scenario with sweeping statements. Ask “is it really true that no one cares?”
- Look for the gift in scarcity – what do these feelings tell you about what you care about? This will often lead to recognising what you love and value, a place rich in energy and motivation.
While there are many facts we can’t change, we can change our relationship to them. By calling out and managing scarcity, we remove a huge roadblock to action, clearing the road to build a better world.