CAPACITY… what is it? How does it apply to my life? The lives of those I lead? Those I work with? The organization I work for? The area’s I serve? Is it physical? Mental? Spiritual? Are we limited in what our capacity is or can it be expanded?
- The ability to receive, hold, or absorb
- A measure of this ability; volume
- Ability to perform or produce; capability
- The maximum or optimum amount that can be produced
- The power to learn or retain knowledge; mental ability
- Innate potential for growth, development, or accomplishment
Over the past few weeks/month, I’ve had conversations which has given me an interesting and different perspective than I’ve held previously on the concept. More often than not, people’s understanding of the word “capacity” was directly related to “task”, to an increase in a work load, a to-do list or a set of accomplishments or even successes. The more I’ve explored the subject the more I’ve begun to see that everyone sees their “capacity” differently than I do.
I understand that most people do not sit around analyzing their capacity and if they’ve reached it. Oftentimes the most obvious sign of someone’s “capacity” is the stress level and reactions/responses to life-tension. So the question I ask: is capacity directly linked to one’s physical and mental limitations? Can a person’s perspective on what they can “handle” be the limiting (or expanding) factor? Do we limit ourselves by our mindsets? Are there cultural influences? Family influences? Personal “history”?
I would agree that there are limitations but sometimes we allow our feeling, our fear and our insecurity to hinder our capacity to do, to live fully, to be! I have been extremely fortunate to have leaders (and family), who have recognized and worked to develop my capacity. I see the expansion of that most obviously in my work-environment, but have been amazed to see how it’s affected my spiritual, mental, relational, and general life.
Last October was probably one of the most demanding and stressful times in both my professional and personal life. The stresses (and never-ending ‘asks’) of my daily “to-do” list were extreme and there were times when I contemplated “walking away”. I scheduled a meeting with one of my bosses with every intention to walk in, tell him I was drowning, demanding he fix it and walking out with less on my plate. That is NOT what happened! I sat down and was completely honest – expressing my frustration (and I think there were even a few tears)… I was at the end of all that I thought I was capable of doing, managing, responding to and dealing with. We talked through the areas I was feeling the pressure and tension and he asked what I could possibly do differently. I wanted him to fix it. I wanted him to say that we could adjust my workload, give me more time off… But again, that’s not what happened. I actually walked out of his office with 3 more “assignments”! They were not more things to-do. They were “Have you thought about this?” “Have you considered asking…” That conversation was a perspective shift for me. It was a game-changer!
Yes, I could’ve walked away. I could’ve said “I’m done, at the end of my rope, I’ve reached my capacity and I can give, do, work no more!” and he would’ve responded… but the thing that I appreciate so much about the men I work – for is their ability to see CAPACITY – to see potential – in me as a person and my professional life and will work (with me) to help me achieve it.
I won’t deny that I have people in my life who are (from time to time) concerned for my health, my work-a-holic tenancies, and I appreciate their care! However I will say that I have seen more VISION, LIFE, HAPPINESS, CONTENTMENT come from the past 5 years and these tensions, than any other time in my history!
MY capacity level will not be the same as anyone else on the planet. There may be some similarities, but my life, the things I’m called to do, be and accomplish will not look like anyone else. (I need to be okay with that and not put the expectations of capacity limitations on anyone… but I will ask the questions and give opportunities for others to choose the option to expand who they are.)
I could’ve made the choice to stay with my current capacity level, but I chose that day, and try everyday to LIVE my life — to the fullest! To be overflowing with ALL that God has designed for me! I’ve talked before about living life FULLY. Living a life that is FLOURISHING a, healthy, full (not just of stuff and to-do’s, but LIFE! I will always hold to that. I want to LIVE every ounce of LIFE HE has designed for me… and I will grab life by the hand and RUN, full speed ahead —- expanding every area of my world!