I’ve just finished reading Tara McMullin’s book What Works about reshaping our relationship to goals, and have been involved in a 3 week mastermind sort of group around “recovering overachievers”… and as a result have been grappling with the idea of “capacity” and my difficulty in being HONEST about my own capacity because I am so terrified that my value comes from what I do for others… (as an aside, a mantra I have held for years, because I need to somehow rewire my brain for it, is “My value comes from my being, not from my doing”… my husband coined that phrase, and I spend much time repeating it, but it’s still hard to believe sometimes).
Anyhow, here’s the quote from Tara McMullin’s newsletter today where she shares some more thoughts on capacity and where our value comes from:
For me, 2022 was the year of accepting my limitations. I’ve been learning to work within my capacity for many years now, but I got much clearer on my exact limitations and what I needed to adjust to stay within them over the last 12 months. And I recognized that my capacity now isn’t the same as my capacity was a couple of years ago. I told Sean, “I feel light years better than I felt at the end of 2021, just night and day. And I know that feeling better is not the same thing as having recovered my capacity.”
I like the way I said that. But I do think it leans toward a misunderstanding about capacity—which is that there is one’s normal capacity, and then there is one’s reduced capacity. This dichotomy recalls my conversation with Jessica DeFino earlier this year about the harmful ways we deploy the label “normal.” There is no such thing as my normal capacity. Capacity—the access one has to resources at any given time—is always in flux.
Sometimes my capacity is greater; sometimes, it’s smaller. Sometimes I have access to an abundance of time but a scarcity of mental energy. Part of my job as a human is to recognize that and adjust my behavior and expectations accordingly.
I so need the reminder that “normal” is a construct and that capacity is always in flux, and that is further proof that our value MUST come from our being, because our ability to do is constantly changing. What are your thoughts on capacity and where our value comes from? How do you manage your capacity? How do you honor it? How do you deny it to serve what you believe your function is?