John D. Bidwell | Sept 23, 2022
I was discussing a Culture of philanthropy with a colleague. Specifically, we were talking about being aware of and changing one’s own prejudices, attitudes, and mindset around money, and how personal feelings of scarcity and money will seep into, and limit, one’s fundraising work.
“Awareness is important,” she said, “but how do I change my attitude? I may know that ‘choosing abundance’ is the right thing, but that doesn’t mean I change my behavior. Negative attitudes around money can be so pervasive.”
I returned to Laurie Herrick’s book Choose Abundance to tease out specific practices on how to change one’s mindset. Here are some highlights:
- Recognize your thinking needs adjusting: Denial is a powerful suppressor and defender of the status quo. As actor Jeff Daniel’s character in The Newsroom says, “The first step in solving any problem is recognizing there is one.” Building an attitude of abundance starts with a genuine awareness that your current negative attitude needs to change.
- Understand why you have these thoughts: Spend some time reflecting on why you have negative assumptions. Old thinking is hard to break, but determining the origins makes it easier to nip negative thoughts in the bud.
- Commit to change: Tell others of your intentions to change. A more public commitment goes a long way to advancing your commitment to abundance thinking.
- Challenge assumptions: When you hear about negative attitudes regarding money, ask the person why they feel that way. Be inquisitive. This proactivity can help others question their assumptions as well as help you better understand your own.
- Get support: Changing your attitude and actions takes support. This is especially important for organizations. You need emotional and logistical support to make the change personally and organizationally.
- Start small: Take smaller steps and find small wins. Don’t bite off too much at once and risk failure. Smaller steps will make it easier for others to join in. Go through Herrick’s book ‘Choose Abundance’ and work to implement one to two things. Wait and watch those flourish. Then add a couple more practices.
Here are some best practices for cultivating a more lasting attitude of abundance and changing your mindset around money:
- Follow empowering blogs and podcasts, like Rainmaker’s Blog: Again, you need support to change your mind. Be sure to follow, watch, and read material that supports the new mindset you want to cultivate. This will also make it easier to create alternatives to negative, well-established internal voices.
- Record a gratitude journal centered on inspirational fundraising stories: Make note of your successes. A gratitude journal is a proven way to growing a more positive mindset.
- Be patient: it takes a few months to rewire the brain. Your negative thinking is a habit that physically follows well-worn neural pathways. Changing your mind will happen, but it will also take a little time every day for a period of weeks to months. You will have setbacks, but those are normal. Just pause, reframe, and keeping moving forward. Remember: practice makes progress.
- Write a letter and burn it: Make (literal) note of your negative feelings about money. Write out your frustrations. Don’t worry about grammar or length or details. Transfer your thoughts to paper. Get it all out and then burn it away.
- Create a personal mantra: Write down the attitude you want to have with money and put it at the beginning of your gratitude journal so you can review it every day.
- Consider applying for the Choose Abundance Intensive: The course is adapted from Laurie Herricks book and is one she has taught for years
As the bumper sticker says, “You Don’t have to Believe Everything You Think.” You don’t have to surrender to your habitual negative thoughts. With intention and attention, you can develop a Culture of Philanthropy for yourself, those around you, and the causes and organizations you serve.
John Davis Bidwell is an innovative leader with a 20-year record of accomplishments in creating and directing strategies that increase engagement and achieve business goals.