This week, I listened to a conversation between authors Tressie McMillan Cottom and Kiese Laymon.  This conversation was all about revising your life. I have to admit that when I first read the title, I rolled my eyes, which speaks more to my own judgments and jealousy than the copy editor's choice of title. But within the first few minutes of the convo—when Tressie describes how Kiese bought back the rights to his book, How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America, for almost 10X more than what he was originally paid for it so that he could make revisions to it to align with his true integrity—I knew this was going to be a conversation I loved. As Tressie describes, Kiese is an artist of true conviction. His choice wasn't stymied by the fear of the money, it was about the integrity of his own creative vision. By the end of the conversation, Kiese explains more that, Vision, to Kiese, is the true assessment of our lives.

We can't even talk about revision if we don't talk about the vision. The assessment is the vision...The hardest part is the assessment, the vision. And then if you look at that with any sort of rigor or clarity, then you can think, this is what I need to do differently. What I think we do as Americans is resist the hard assessment therefore the revision seems right out the door....The revision is the commitment to perpetually assessing work going forward so there's no done... The only way we can grow backward and forwards is to honestly assess the ingredients that we put into life.

It is an inspiring conversation about evolution, and for me, how to make decisions about growth. One thing Kiese stresses repeatedly is to not avoid looking backward even though most of us do out of fear. So we are going to jump back to the beginning of modern economic theory to understand why our decision-making frameworks have likely been hijacked by manufactured scarcity.


Last year I wrote a newsletter about the difference between poverty & poverty mentality. I received an overwhelming response from entrepreneurs who noted that they resonated with the 4 key pillars I outlined: Fear, Scarcity, Hoarding & Risk Aversion. Since then, a book by anthropologist James Suzman was released and gave me insight into why these mindsets might be so common - especially in entrepreneurship. Suzman takes us through the history of work - from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots - and details the history of economics, and more importantly, the mindset that spurred economic thinking: Scarcity.

It holds that we are rational creatures cursed with insatiable appetites and that because there are simply not enough resources to satisfy everybody's wants, everything is scarce. The idea that we have infinite wants but that all resources are limited sits at the beating heart of the definition of economics as the study of how people allocate scarce resources to meet their needs and desires. It also anchors our markets, financial, employment, and monetary systems. To economists then, scarcity is what drives us to work, for it is only by working—by making, producing, and trading scarce resources—that we can ever begin to bridge the gap between our apparently infinite desires and our limited means.


I connected back to Mark Wolynn's book on inherited trauma, It Didn't Start With You. The premise of Wolynn's work is that trauma can be inherited, passed through generations. Though this book is focused on family trauma, I couldn't help but think about how we might all be shaped by the traumatic philosophy of scarcity for hundreds of years. 


Which shouldn't come as a surprise when so much of our current thinking around entrepreneurship actually glorifies manufactured scarcity, as everyone's favorite-though-slightly-ornery-brand-strategist Scott Galloway wrote about this year in his post, Scarcity Cred.

People like scarcity — a lot. Owning something scarce makes one feel unique, and signals success and worthiness as a potential mate. Scarcity is also an instinctual trigger for obsession — when we sense a scarcity of something, be it food or a mate, we are programmed to become obsessed with finding it.

The mindset that causes our approach to work to be anxious and extractive can also make us feel unique and drive our obsessions.


This, I believe, is why we have such a hard time identifying our own relationship to manufactured scarcity. And I see this all the time at the root of entrepreneurs' decision-making mindsets. There are 3 areas most impacted by manufactured scarcity in entrepreneurship: 

  1. MONEY
All three demand a decision-making process that can provide clarity and conviction. But each has its own reason why so often we make a manufactured-scarcity-based choice. The fastest way to identify if you're making choice based on manufactured scarcity is to ask yourself- is this decision based on succumbing to my fears? Everyone is afraid, but in his interview, Kiese reminds us that we must meet our fears. To do that, we must change our education, our planning, and our practices so we can find the courage to trust
  1. MONEY - Money is the most obvious place where manufactured scarcity is perpetuated. So many entrepreneurs don't deeply understand how money works and therefore don't have the foundation to make the most impactful financial decisions. We often bring the toxic money mindsets we were raised with and project them onto our perfectly innocent ventures. We mask our fears with memes about capitalism and abdicate responsibility for our own growth to accountants and bookkeepers with the assumption that they'll keep things under control. We don't trust our own financial competency and ultimately fall victim to our own lack of understanding making it almost impossible to know how to use our money to invest wisely in ourselves and our business. Manufactured scarcity in the financial sector is the most dangerous for it is the largest contributor to actual financial scarcity for millions of people. 
  2. VISIONING - Visioning is the second place where manufactured scarcity is perpetuated. You can know you're in a manufactured scarcity mindset when you're visioning because instead of using the practice to step into your integrity, you doubt that what you ultimately want to create is possible. You have a list of reasons why the vision won't work or why you need to bend to the market even if you don't want to. The lack of trust we have that we are capable of executing our vision perpetuates the idea that we, as individuals, have limited means within us. Without the clarity and conviction in your vision, it is almost certain that you will make fear-based choices about how to move forward in your business. Almost every big-picture decision you make in your business should be run through the lens of your vision. You can't have an impactful decision-making framework without it. 
  3. COMMUNITY BUILDING - Community Building is the final place where manufactured scarcity is perpetuated. Community building happens within our businesses with employees and contractors and outside of our company with our customers. We perpetuate manufactured scarcity with our team when we fear what is often mislabeled as "difficult conversations". We often avoid accountability out of an unconscious fear of abandonment. With our consumer communities, we perpetuate manufactured scarcity when we narrow our search based on demographics instead of expanding our search based on psychographics. In doing so, we fail to identify the true source of connection for our product or service which creates an inability to procure the sales we need to thrive.


In his book, clarity & connection, yung pueblo writes,

radical honesty with ourselves is the starting point. it can help us overcome many complexes and help us see that there is much room for improvement. but to get to the root of the matter, to get even deeper, especially into the subconscious where many of our old patterns lie in wait, we need to find a practice that can help us process and unload this conditioning. we do not need to reinvent the wheel. there are already many proven practices that have helped thousands of people take real steps forward in their lives. our task is simply to search and find what works for us and then commit to the inner journey. 

In order to reset our decision-making framework, we must be able to journey into our subconscious where we most likely carry the legacy of manufactured scarcity. To do this, start with radical honesty. Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I making this decision based on succumbing to fear around money because I lack the full understanding of my own financial well-being?
  2. Do I have enough clarity and conviction in my own vision so I can know if this decision contributes to the building of that vision or distracts me from that vision?
  3. Have I made a decision aligned with my core values? Do I feel in integrity?
  4. Am I making this decision because I fear abandonment by my customers or my employees?
  5. Am I committed to the inner journey of my own growth or am I making this decision to avoid a challenging situation? 
The answers to these questions in your decision-making process will tell you if you are perpetuating manufactured scarcity or if you're actually rebuilding the culture of work, one single decision at a time! As someone who has had to navigate overcoming fear in all of these areas, I use this framework every day. As Kiese reminds us: meet your fears. 

If you're curious to learn more, I encourage you to join us in 2022 for the Business Growth Program. (clarity & connection is also a new book added to the class bibliography in 2022.) We'll explore all of these topics and more. 


Tomorrow is the last day to take advantage of the Early Bird Registration. For more details about the course including a bit of history, the philosophy of the program, feedback on who should attend,  Syllabus, Calendar, FAQs and much more, check out the full Program Manual here. If you still have questions, don't hesitate to reach out!

When you're ready to register, email Holly ( by responding to this email. Please indicate:

  • Which cohort group you would like (Monday or Tuesday)
  • If you have additional team members that would like to attend
  • Payment option: Early Bird or Full Fee Payment Plan

We'll save your spot and we look forward to working with you in 2022!


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