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The Missing Ingredient in Shark Tank

Changing Scarcity Mindset Through Conscious Entrepreneurship

If you’re an entrepreneur or you watch tv, it’s likely you’ve heard of Shark Tank. It’s the critically acclaimed reality television show that puts aspiring entrepreneurs in front of millionaire and billionaire venture capitalists vying for a piece of the next great business or product.

In the show, people are vilified and crucified in the name of good ratings and fine entertainment for poor business acumen. In the process, Shark Tank gives business a bad rap. People are generally scared of sharks; they’re thought to be man-eating. Yet as a SCUBA diver I’ve swum with sharks and had them go right past me without a glance.


The fear of scarcity

The reference of a Shark Tank refers to an energy of survival – there’s not enough to go around. The name itself speaks to the financial feeding frenzy when investors compete for large percentages of emerging companies by business types dreaming of becoming the next six-figure tycoon. If we could evolve the consciousness for the show, we would likely highlight the idea that yes we’re here to compete, but there’s enough for all of us. This does show up occasionally when the Sharks agree to come together, each bringing an expertise to help the entrepreneur with their visionary next step. One these occasions a palpable sense of connection and common purpose pervades the show.

 In her book The Soul of Money, Lynne Twist talks specifically about how money can be a power for good. She views raising money as sacred work and reallocating the world’s resources away from fear towards that which we love, as a position of privilege.

 Uncovering our unconscious beliefs about money is key to healing and evolving a happier life. – Lynne Twist

 Her book offers the different scarcity beliefs prevalent around money which she refers to as the unconscious Mindset of scarcity.


The Unconscious Mindset of Scarcity

More is better

More of anything is better that isn’t questioned in any way. It's this unexamined, unconscious mindset that drives us to acquire more because we believe we’re not enough. This comes from living in the tyranny of a consumer culture that drives us in directions that aren’t healthy and make us believe we need more to be happy.

 Not enough; I gotta get mine

This is beautifully illustrated by the Shark Tank mentality where not everyone can win here. It’s completely based on a scarcity mindset and the toxicity of a consumer culture which causes suffering.

 That’s just the way it is

This views holds the scarcity mindset in place and doesn’t have us questions the values with which we’re living our lives. Yet we live in a world of sufficiency where there’s more than enough for each of us to receive what we need. It’s a way of living and seeing the fullness of life and appreciating it.

 There’s a real capacity for Shark Tank is look at all the opportunities and integrate their resources in a way that makes the world a better place.


Conscious entrepreneurship as a force for social good

The sufficiency the missing ingredient from this show are the critical elements of compassion and sufficiency mindset. There’s tremendous advantage in working with a mentor who can share and support a vision that collectively can make the world a better place; a world where everyone wins. Shark Tank lacks the mentality that money is simply the energy that allows businesses and entrepreneurs to take it next level. It completely misses the other very real opportunity of business as an avenue for social good through conscious entrepreneurship.

 Conscious Entrepreneurship is about doing business with your values intact. It is about doing business in a way that serves a great purpose than solely bottom lines. It’s an all-encompassing belief set about the way you approach work and life. Business is evolving so much right now with small businesses emerging at rapid levels and showing up in radically new ways. As we drop the scarcity mindset, we invite possibility for a much richer economy on every level.


The Law of Sufficiency

The root of this unconscious scarcity mindset is the core of most of the suffering in our lives. But Twist also offers a breathtaking perspective on sufficiency. When we look towards sufficiency we let go of the scrambling to get more of what we think we need, and it allows us to make a difference with what we have.

 What you appreciate, appreciates.

Renee Poindexter is the founder of Living the Potential Network, a collaborative of social entrepreneurs interested in designing authentic learning environments.

Renee is Chair of the SelfDesign Foundation in the United States. She serves as an Advisory Board member with Univera, Inc. and also with Village Home Education Resource Center. She is a mentor with WOVI, Women of Visionary Influence.


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