Have you ever wondered how some people have 24 hours in a day and accomplish so much and yet others accomplish so little with the same amount of time? Could there be a secret fountain that efficient or successful people have discovered? Granted, we don’t all have the same amount on our individual plates but I believe we each have a level of untapped depth. I am convinced this secret reserve does indeed exist within the human being, hence my latest mantra; ‘Dig deeper’. There’s something at the deeper level, and even more at even deeper level.
In my current season of learning, unlearning and re-skilling, I decided to take on two highly engaging courses simultaneously; one in fashion and one in business. These new skills and concepts had me itching to apply them to real life and so I decided to start research and development for my clothing brand. Midway through this undertaking, I realised I wasn’t making any progress. It’s sort of like being in a canoe and rowing, but not really getting anywhere. I was rowing all right, but it just seemed like before I could make any progress, a new passenger was coming on board. Somewhere in the middle of all this, I took on two time staking content creation projects with two different individuals. By nature of the courses progressing on, and being a part of a social circle which sometimes requires or requests your gifts, talents or even simply your presence, I realised my canoe was way over maximum capacity. But again, this did not just suddenly happen. I was conscious when I said ‘yes’ to all these passengers coming on board. But I continued rowing at the same pace (As you do! Denial, right!). I could see the signs but the pace didn’t change. Not until my lecturers, pointed out that I was drastically behind and risked capsizing all together from the weight of all these passengers.
These are the moments were I am really grateful that God grants us purpose, gifts and talents but also the Holy spirit and His word to help navigate and its through prayer that I began to turn the voyage around. In this sort of situation, we tend to think that numbers in the boat have to decrease, but actually, I discerned that I needed to build my capacity.
Everything in my boat was an answer to my prayers. I need to learn the various aspects of business and I always wanted to learn how to construct garments. Also, for all this learning to mean something, I need to be applying the skills into my start up. Plus, I am passionate about christians creating online content. These are all legitimate passengers, none of them have ‘fluked’ this boat ride. And so with this realisation, I began to create the capacity. Here’s what I have learned in my quest so far:
Attitude. Firstly, what is the attitude towards the predicament? Do you feel overwhelmed and incapable or do you feel like you can rise to the occasion. Often we make this assessment based on our feelings and not accurate knowledge. What if the attitude was that ‘there must be avenues within me and out with, that I can explore to allow me to write this book after I get home in evening.’ This attitude moment is also an altitude moment. It is that make or break moment where we either stagnate (stop rowing all together), or start frantically throwing passengers overboard, or start to sink, or rise to the occasion by deciding to build capacity.
In order to build capacity, our attitude should be one of continued learning and increased appetite for change.
Relationships. Secondly, what are your relationships like? You would be surprised how many things we eat that we don’t necessarily have the appetite for. I have shared previously how I used to feel the need to drink coffee simply because I was meeting up with a friend at a coffee shop. It’s the same with relationships; some are not growing and yet still demand investment . Counterintuitively, we continue to try and cultivate where the ground is barren; wasting transferable capacity. Other times, we forget to set boundaries or manage the demands from relationships. Sometimes we hang around with people who have no introspect, or don’t want to evolve. Imagine the impact of the presence of these people in a canoe that is trying to move forward. Similarly, imagine the impact of a person who understands the direction of the canoe. And so, it not necessarily about doing away with relationships, it’s about cultivating the right ones.
Time keeping and organisation. Sometimes when we need a drastic change, a drastic measure is required. I believe this to be the case for time keeping and organisation when building capacity. What this means is if a situation is at -2, and you need to be at 5 then you should apply 7. Not 3, not 4 not 5 (these are baby steps). You must apply 7 which is the beginning of extreme. Here’s the thing; 5 is actually average. If you needed the situation to be at 8, you would have to apply 10 to get there faster. And so it is with time keeping and organisation. I believe to build capacity you have to edit what and how you spend your time on ruthlessly and drastically. This is the only way to create more time. For me this means a careful ‘Yes’ and drastic application of ‘No’ to help me avail the time that I need to go over my creative concepts and study. Watch those minutes closely.
Vision. Keep a balanced vision in front of you. Vision, and more especially palatable goals are the lifeblood of capacity. Their existence is how you discern you need capacity in the first place, why you must build capacity and why you must do it right. A company that only communicates a goal to meet a one billion pound turn over target and a vision to be the best at what they do seems reasonable but will most probably cultivate a culture of overlooking employees wellbeing. On the other hand, a company that continually communicates a vision to cultivate individuals towards reaching a one billion dollar pound turn over will probably cultivate culture of looking after employees while achieving goals. And so it is with our personal visions. If the only thing we keep in-front of us is the figures and milestones we can end up forgetting those around us who are helping us, or who are meant to be benefiting from the vision’s purpose.
I personally try and maintain a healthy vision by reminding myself that I am a multi-dimensional being. I possess intellectual, spiritual , emotional and physical dimensions and all these elements must be represented in my vision. Capacity must be built in all these dimensions. I believe this is why God made us so multilayered. Balance is important.
Planning. Without planning you can’t understand how much you have of anything, and you much you need of a thing. It wasn’t until I started to plan my days that I realised just how many impromptu plans come up. I was shocked how much time I could avail just by refusing short notice plans. I was able to quantify how behind I was. I was equally surprised how much time it took for me fully grasp and review academic papers and how much the quality of my creative concepts grew and improved with the amount of time I put in.
If there’s one thing I know about life, it’s that very few things are sudden. It doesn’t just suddenly rain. Firstly, we can see the clouds gather. Neither is a baby just suddenly born; it takes a few months to develop in the womb. Dreams aren’t shelved in one moment. This happens gradually, as we fail to identify areas that can be cultivated and how they can be cultivated. In most cases, life will send an alert before these eventualities kick in.
What signs are showing you the need to build capacity before it’s too late ?