One of the best things I did in 2014 was to invest in my personal development by taking part in Entrevo’s KPI Coaching Program: a 40 week program aimed at entrepreneurs looking to become a Key Person of Influence (KPI) in their field. The final module, Partnership, taught by Julia Langkraehr had a lot of thought triggering sentiments. There were many things I loved about the session but in the top 3 were the things she said about having an abundance mindset.
In order to succeed in life you have to partner with people; it’s the only way if you want to succeed in a big way.
The reason many don’t partner up with others is that they are fearful of sharing and falsely believe that by sharing there will be less for them. This zero-sum-game philosophy can be eliminated in many ways:
- Develop an abundance mindset – a mindset that acknowledges that there’s more than enough for you and everyone else
- Instead of wanting a piece of the pie for yourself think about how you can grow the pie so that there is more for you and your partners
- Start seeing everyone as a potential partner
In order to rise, lots of people think they need to push others down. This is not just down to individuals but also big corporates and politicians. Instead of just highlighting their pros against the competition some take it a step too far and use underhand tactics to sabotage the competition – that’s a scarcity mindset in action.
Of course, in this case it could make sense, there’s only one spot for prime minister or president.
Anyhow, this discussion got me thinking about my high school days back in Malawi. I distinctly remember having the belief that I was only a great student if I had all the same resources as everyone else and still did better. Due to this point of view I made it a point to help anyone with their work, if they asked.
Unfortunately, I was also acutely aware that some of my peers hated the fact that I did so well and were not beyond sabotaging me.
I was in boarding school so to protect myself I used to keep my folders in my locker instead of my food and clothes! The only thing that was worth protecting in my opinion was my school notes; everything else was replaceable – no one wants to get to exam week and find that their notes have been stolen.
Teenagers don’t realize that when they say cruel things to each other those things are remembered for a lifetime.
The night before my final Further Maths A-level exam I recall lamenting in trepidation to one of my fellow A-level students; she slept in the room next to mine. I was the only Further Maths student. The class had started off with three people but the other two had dropped out because they thought it was too hard.
When all was said and done I got a grade B in Further Maths and 3 As in Maths, Biology and Chemistry. It turned out that the exact person who knew how nervous I was about the exam was going around telling friends that, “It’s good she got a B in Further Maths, she was overconfident.”
I always had an inkling that this person did not wish me well despite any help I gave to her. This one statement confirmed her character to me and well over a decade later I know I can never trust her (it might also confirm that I can hold a grudge!)
She very unfortunately has a scarcity mindset. Her smile is but a veneer. To work with her would mean I would have to be wary.
The point I’m trying to drive home here is that in addition to having an abundance mindset yourself, surround yourself with people who think in the same way. Two heads really are better than one but they have to be the correct two heads.
When you start out in business, look out for people you can partner with. Importantly, don’t be overambitious – if you have no email list and a very small social media following don’t get disappointed when those that have worked for ages to develop their own following ignore you when you try to partner with them. You need to have something to bring to the partnership. If you have a great brand or a great product try to offer that to a collaboration.
Growth takes a significant amount of hard work and time but eventually that hard work does pay off and the partnerships you attract because of it get better and better.