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Coach Pete

Stop. Look. And Listen…

Are Old Patterns of Scarcity Thinking Keeping You Stuck?

You’re feeling stuck. Old, familiar patterns of limited, scarcity thinking are keeping you from breaking out. You want to break through to set and achieve new personal growth goals. But how?

It’s always a good idea to Stop, Look and Listen. Not just to safely cross the street as you learned in childhood…but to also take notice of and change negative patterns of thinking.

Many of us live with the judgments and precepts we were infused with in childhood. The parent or primary care giver who drummed into our head negative, scarcity thinking like, “who do you think you are” to think you can make the chorus…or become a national honor society student…or make the basketball team?

Statements like, “don’t dream too big, you’ll just be disappointed in the end,” or, “don’t bite off more than you can chew.”

Scarcity thinking in families isn’t intended to harm. It’s usually based on one generation passing along to the next generation the habit or default thinking they had learned. Sometimes scarcity thinking is based on the idea of avoiding disappointments in life. The problem with limited, scarcity thinking is that when we live in fear of disappointment…we limit our possibilities in life.

In some families themes like “be sure you have a safe, fallback position or goal” too often limit our dreams and therefore limit our potential achievements.

Begin to notice the repeating “voices in your head.” What are the themes of these voices? If they are limiting / scarcity thinking, you have choices to make. Are you going to break through those limits and get in touch with your true passions and dreams, or are you going to go along and settle for the limits?

It takes practice.

According to Katia Verresen, C-Level Executive Coach, “Abundant Thinking — a mindset that gives you the creative agency and grit to reach your vision — and, on a daily basis, to design your own life…It’s like you’re in a movie, acting in your job and life without knowing the script or having perspective. The goal is to put yourself in the director’s chair, with more choices, perspectives and possibilities to rewrite and upgrade the script as you go.”

Pema Chodron, renowned Buddhist teacher, calls the scarcity thoughts in our heads, “Shenpas”. She says it’s a practice to recognize your scarcity-thinking voices in your head. She shows us how to picture grabbing these limiting thoughts in your hand, taking note of them and deciding you can literally cast them aside.

And don’t beat yourself up when the limiting thoughts appear again in your mind. Pema Chodron says to celebrate that you stopped the pattern this time and can take power over your scarcity thinking by choosing to cast it aside…and practice thinking in abundance. It’s a beautiful, fulfilling practice once you decide to take it on.

Landmark Worldwide, a personal growth program offering tools for living, uses another term to deal with the same phenomenon of negative, scarcity voices in our heads. They call this pattern of scarcity-thinking “Rackets.” Landmark, too, says to practice noticing these Rackets in your mind. Each time they show up again, rejoice in noticing it, and make a decision to throw it away and replace it with an abundant thought, dream or goal. It’s a practice.

Keep in mind; it took many years to establish the negative, scarcity-thinking pattern in your mind. So realize now that it will take practice to undo the scarcity thinking and create abundant, positive thinking patterns. It’s worth the effort.

And remember to celebrate the process of your practice to turn your negative thinking to positive, abundant thinking. Enjoy, even laugh at yourself, as you practice noting the scarcity thinking and converting it to positive, abundant thinking.

Scarcity thinking leads to limited living. Abundant thinking can lead to abundant, purposeful, fulfilling living.

Now, go catch those Shenpas and Rackets!

Coaching with Coach Pete can help you practice abundant, purposeful thinking.


"Coach Pete"
Peter Heymann


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