Beware of “Not Enough”

Mar 14, 2024

Have you ever felt like you didn’t have enough time to get everything done, or enough money to buy everything you wanted or enough energy to attend the community meeting and cook a healthy meal and exercise at the end of a long day? When we feel like


I once worked with an organization that was preparing for a big move forward. The company was expanding their space and their work products. They were trying to shift from being a friendly, relatively unknown organization appreciated by a small customer base to a bigger player. What that meant was bigger expenditures in unusual areas like construction and technology and cutbacks in ongoing expenses. Like personnel.


Within just a few weeks of the big announcement, the changes began to be felt. When employees left, they were not replaced. When workload increased, the number of workers did not. Occasional overtime became a regular occurrence, and willingness to work late and come in on weekends became expected rather than appreciated. This was a change for the president. He had always been interested in employee well-being and pride in the work and workforce. So, in a company meeting, two or three people questioned the increase in hours and overtime and expectations and the lack of appreciation.


The president, who had once taken such pride in a united team and positive work environment, said there just wasn’t time for such niceties at the moment. He responded to questions about worker well-being by stating bluntly that the goal was now to increase capacity, and that meant expecting more from everyone. He wanted more customers. Period. He wanted to grow, and he was willing do whatever it took. Unfortunately, that goal meant there wasn’t time or money or energy to look at employee wellness or satisfaction. There wasn’t enough. He couldn’t help it; there was no other way to proceed.


As Shakespeare said, “My poverty, but not my will, consents” (Romeo and Juliet).


In other words, the president was operating from a position of poverty, or lack. He believed that with overall growth as a goal, everything else had to be sacrificed. There wasn’t enough time or money or energy to take care of employees. The possibility of a bigger market share was worth a little sacrifice on everyone’s part. There wasn’t enough money to big a bigger building filled with the latest technology and pay people for overtime or hire more people. There wasn’t enough.


If you are operating from a feeling of lack, you often make decisions from that lack. True leaders don’t give in to the scarcity model, where there is only one winner and only one way to proceed. Leaders don’t operate from poverty. They find ways to work together for abundance.


What can leaders do?

  • Listen to people you don’t agree with. There is probably more than one good idea out there. Look for it.
  • Involve others in big decisions, especially the ones that affect them directly.
  • Believe that there is enough—enough good, enough success, enough goodwill, enough opportunities. Share that belief with others.


Whether 400 years ago or today, be aware if you are feeling like “My poverty, but not my will, consents.”

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