TDLR; In order to get everything done that you WANT to get done — and still have time for the most urgent matters — your capacity container needs to be big enough to handle it all. If you aren’t making time for your goals and dreams, it’s likely you need to increase your capacity for life’s big lifeness.
If you are exhausted and burned out you won’t see much potential for yourself. Your self-worth will wane during this time.
If you have low self-worth, it’s hard to see how you can ask for a raise or go for a promotion — or if you are a coach or creator, ask for someone to pay you for your hard work. In other words, it’s hard to get ahead let alone not fall behind.
This is why my coaching work with women around capacity is so essential and some of my favorite work to do with my clients who want to get out of their own way and do the things of their dreams. Some of this is not new, I’ve been helping women with boosting your capacity — as mothers — for many years. But now I’m doing it at a much higher level with my clients. I’m expecting you to really show up for yourself.
Capacity is the ability to hold or contain people or things.
Of course, we are all holding a lot, especially these days.
Listen to this podcast episode now or keep reading below.
Brene Brown talks a lot about overfunctioning and underfunctioning.
In her podcast on this, she talks about how her research is based on Harriet Lerner’s book, The Dance of Connection, Dr. Lerner explains that we all have these patterned ways of responding to anxiety that she calls overfunctioning and underfunctioning.
She describes overfunctioning and underfunctioning this way: “Overfunctioners tend to move quickly to give advice, rescue, takeover, micromanage, get in other people’s business rather than looking inward. Underfunctioners tend to get less competent under stress. They invite others to take over and often become the focus of family gossip, concern, worry. They can get labeled as irresponsible, or the fragile ones, the ones who can’t take the pressure.”
I am, and you may not be very surprised to learn this, an overfunctioner. Always have been. Likely always been. In fact, when I had my human design reading done over the summer, my colleague said “You have a lot of energy, a lot of capacity to handle a lot.”
But lately my capacity has been tested.
And I can see how it plays into my mind games and my energy to DO.
And so I’ve had to work to really protect my capacity container so that I don’t take on anything that I can’t handle. I don’t want my capacity container to overflow. then I wouldn’t be able to handle the most important stuff — being there for my husband when he needs me, my kids, and my clients.
When we are maxed out on our capacity — and there are many ways to cultivate capacity and make space and room for more — we are also bogged down by too much and that gets in the way of our clarity and vision.
And when we lose perspective, we lose ambition and motivation. We’re just tired. Too exhausted to try, to think outside the box.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: I held a one-time coaching session for an exhausted working mom this past week. Instantly I recognized that until she has the bandwidth to hold all that she needs to hold, it’s going to be hard for her to experience happiness. We talked about ways she can boost her energy and protect her energy so that she has more capacity to handle the hard parts of her life.
REAL LIFE EXAMPLE: Same for another client who is in a startup phase of her business. Her personal life is a hot mess — pretty much her words, not mine. And yet she LOVES what she’s doing as a coach for women but she needs to find a way to expand her own capacity to make space for the ANDs of this life as a working mom. She can be messy AND serve deeply in this world.
She can hold space for her own fears and anger and she can put herself out and shine brightly as a woman who empowers others.
YOUR CHALLENGE: Until YOU can see that you can have the capacity to hold both the chaos and the control, you will resist doing what you need to do to increase your own capacity. Ask yourself what you need to do to increase your own capacity to handle LIFE and … and your work, and your passions, and your side hustle, and your dream of writing a book and, and and … Then ask yourself what you can do to increase your own capacity.