Since I am a professional organizer, people assume that the primary focus of my work is organizing. I don’t blame them. If I didn’t know better, I would too. The truth is, when I work with clients we spend the majority of our time editing their belongings and making decisions about what to keep and what to discard or donate. For most people, this process does not come easily, and requires coaching, support, and encouragement. Organizing what’s left is the easy part.
Many of my clients have confessed that they wish they felt able to let go of things with ease, but really what they feel is conflict, guilt, anxiety, and a lot of scarcity. The question has emerged again and again: How do you cultivate a more abundant mindset? After hearing the same question so many times, I decided to dedicate a post to it.
Read on for simple steps you can take to start feeling more abundant in your life, regardless of what you own, or how much money you have in the bank.
Practice Abundant Thoughts
Stephen Covey defines an abundant mentality as ”a concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and successes to share with others.” But how can we learn how to genuinely believe this, especially if we have experienced loss or hardship in the past? I believe the answer lies in looking for evidence of abundance in your life and practicing thoughts or beliefs, that create feelings of abundance.
Abundance is a mindset not a dollar amount in the bank. When have you felt the most abundant in your own life? Identify the thoughts you were thinking at that time that generated that feeling. Regardless of the circumstances in your life, you can feel more abundant right now just by practicing new thoughts.
Here are some of the thoughts that help me feel abundant:
Even if I lost everything, I am surrounded by people who would help me rebuild my home and life.
I have bounced back from many challenges – I am resilient and strong.
I am creative and resourceful, so I will always be able to create the results I want.
I am so grateful for my husband, children, friends, and community.
I can make a beautiful, cozy home wherever I go.
Almost every object or thing is replaceable.
The things that matter most to me are not things.
I’ll always have enough.
It’s counterintuitive, but one of the easiest ways to feel more abundant is to give generously. Generosity and abundance go hand in hand, and the more you give, the more abundant you will feel.
Giving doesn’t have to translate into large financial donations or lavish gifts. You can give by smiling and saying hello to people on your morning walk. You can bake cookies or drop off a home cooked meal or flowers from your garden for a friend or neighbor. You can call an old friend and really listen to how they are doing. You can leave an extra generous tip when you order takeout at your neighborhood restaurant.
You can also practice random acts of kindness throughout your day. Hold a door open for a stranger, help someone load groceries into their car, buy a cup of coffee for the person in line behind you at your local coffee shop. When I was growing up, my dad would always pay the bridge toll for the person behind us in line. I would turn around as we drove away and squeal with delight when I saw them learn that their toll had been paid. Being generous with your resources, time, and energy reinforces the idea that you have more than enough.
Take Stock of What You Already Have
It’s human nature to strive for more, but if you want to cultivate an abundant mindset, you must also focus your energy and attention on noticing and celebrating the abundance of what you already have. You can start by making a list of all of the things that you once wanted that you now have. This list can include material possessions such as your car, a home, clothes, or favorite ceramic mugs (I really, really love my mugs), but can also include relationships or accomplishments – your partner or spouse, children, friendships, family members, career, daily yoga practice, health, etc. The more specific the better. Your list can also become part of a gratitude practice. I love to write down at least three things I am grateful for every day.
Don’t Compare and Despair
Perhaps the greatest obstacle to an abundant mindset is comparing yourself to other people. It’s so easy to compare our insides to someone else’s outsides, and the glossy images on social media and magazine pages doesn’t make it any easier. Do your best to stay focused on your own situation and to create your own metrics for happiness and success. Take time to define what an abundant life means to you and then go out and get it.
Set Goals and Achieve Them
Abundance doesn’t have to come from wealth or material possessions. You can cultivate abundance in your life by setting specific and measurable goals and achieving them. Learn a new language, start a new habit, tackle a fitness goal, master something, make something, create something. Leading a joyful, varied, and dynamic life creates abundance in spades. Take small steps towards long term goals and celebrate every little victory along the way!
Do More of What You Love
Abundance is about feeling deeply satisfied and fulfilled. Make a list of things you love to do – ideally things that feel mentally, physically, or spiritually rewarding. These things can be small and simple like reading a novel or baking a pie, or big and ambitious like running a marathon or writing a book. Pay attention to what you genuinely enjoy doing and do more of it.
If any of this feels challenging for you, not to worry. You’re certainly not alone. Cultivating an abundant mindset is an ongoing practice that gets easier with time. The most important thing, of course, is to start.
You’re more than enough, and I believe in you. You’ve got this.