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I’m hearing from so many leaders, managers in organizations and almost everybody how exhausting the end of this year is.

People are tired. There seems to be little if any fuel left in the tank. The runway has run out, and yet the demands, the expectations, the sheer scale of work is still coming hard and fast. Without reflection, we just double and triple down. Going faster. Demanding more. Increasing the pace. Hoping it’s enough to get us to the finish line when then we’ll be able to reset, and the slate set clean before doing it again in 2023.

No wonder we are weary!

And I get it. There were years as a CEO where I didn’t know better than to drive myself and the team to deliver the yearly results we needed. If the budget wasn’t met, key programs weren’t funded, with potentially catastrophic outcomes for people living in hunger and poverty.

What I failed to understand was that human beings, good hearted wholehearted colleagues responsible for delivering these goals, had already given 110%. Keeping on pursuing important yet unrelenting outcomes meant that we might have won the end of year battle with our targets – but were in danger of losing the war. There could be no improved future with such heavily depleted people.

One year in particular, we were so exhausted that we limped like wounded animals to the end of the year, and time off over Christmas just wasn’t enough. There was no space to renew and to come to the following year open and ready.

It was a hard lesson to learn.

Underneath the very true burning desire to achieve necessary outcomes on the ground, there was a mindset driving this achieve at any cost behaviour – scarcity.

The scarcity mindset is so pervasive I devote an entire chapter to it in Lead In. This mindset is unrelenting. It burns through your most valuable resources – including the vision, commitment and drive of your people – because it doesn’t truly value it. Scarcity always wants – needs – more, and it is never satisfied.

Caught in this mindset you don’t stop to pause to reflect and regroup.

If this is you now, it’s imperative to make space to engage your biggest asset – your leader’s mindset.

Start to do this by noticing the heightened feelings of stress and constriction. Feel it. Be with it. Observe the resistance.

Notice what you’re making it mean.

Start to unfasten the grip of the scarcity mindset by honestly questioning it. This might include

  • Do all the deadlines I’ve set needed to be achieved?
  • What can I say no to?
  • How can I rethink this?
  • How can I mobilise resources in a way that strengthens capability and doesn’t dangerously deplete?
  • If none of this is negotiable and all needs to happen (unlikely, but I’m playing along!) – how can we do this in a way that doesn’t have me and my team paying too heavy a cost? What support, nourishing, development can I put in place now that will serve us in 2023?

2023 isn’t going to be a magical land of rest and things going swimmingly. Creating the mindsets to rise gracefully, honestly and powerfully to the challenges and opportunities of our time will take rigour, practice, awareness and compassion.

It’s never too early to start.

If this speaks to you let me know. Hit reply to this newsletter and we can start a conversation around where you’re at, and what you need.

I’d love to help you maximise your impact without paying the price a scarcity mindset extracts.


Till next week,
Much love