Reality vs Capacity: The ability or power to do, experience, or understand something.
We try to pursue, build, and maintain multiple things at once, across various aspects in our lives (Obviously).
Like exercise, there is a capacity to the amount of focus and attention you can direct in one, or multiple directions with high quality.
Getting right into it, I break these up into two groups:
1. Independent aspects: You call the shots, and any decisions or direction in which the subject or part of your life is exclusively determined by you (things you can control)
2. Dependent aspects: These aspects are influenced by external parties or factors that determine what happens next. What decisions need to be considered, possible outcomes, changing variables and expectations need to be discussed across both or multiple parties so there is no ambiguity involved. Everyone is clear, and agrees upon what has been negotiated( sort of in your control ).
Once you’ve organized and determined what goes where, you need it figure out what you’re willing to accept.
Independent aspects: What does the right answer look like to you. You’re going to have to trust your intuition and self awareness of what is involved, along with possible outcomes. Know that you made these decisions, and that the consequences are going to directly affect you.
Dependant aspects: What are you willing to risk, knowing others are involved? Please, have some empathy here. Realize that other human beings with souls and feelings (well, some of them) are involved, and this can be emotionally straining on them as well. Others know (sometimes) that they too are being depended on. If you can’t feel for other people, this may not be the category for you to be involved in often.
Things to consider in both departments:
1. Independent: You’re probably going to fuck up; maybe a lot, maybe a little bit. The difference is knowing you made a boo-boo, versus being in denial and pointing the finger at others, to absolve yourself of any responsibility (grow up, punk).
When I met Dean Somerset in Kitchener Ontario, I asked him : “Dean, what do you feel was the biggest mistake you’ve made in your career?”
I’ll paraphrase here: “ I don’t know if I’ve ever made any huge mistakes. I often try to do things to 85%, and leave myself 15% improvement and criticism room to do better the next time.”
This, this was gold. Imagine, those typos in your slides, the quoting the wrong person in a presentation, doing something that you later realized was the wrong reaction or direction to go. All of these things happen to all of us, and the fact of the matter is that most people make mistakes, if you’re reading this and say “except me”, then you’re a dick. If you’re willing to take risks and experiment, then you’re in a growth mindset. This is good because you actually understand that there is more that you don’t know, and have more room to grow(becoming a better person).
Anyway, the big take away from the above is this: While being a strength Coach at Queen West for Bang Fitness, Geoff Girvitz dropped some life knowledge on me. Again paraphrasing: “ people are hard enough on themselves, the last thing they need is to have other people be hard on them too.” Most people are good people, who want to do good things, and constantly chase perfection. Does a true perfectionist really ever attain perfection? If they did, then they aren’t really a true perfectionist or they’d find something wrong with a situation. Give yourself some credit, no, not a participation award, credit for taking a risk, and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
2. Dependant: People don’t need your bag of poo. Unfortunately, your dog died, your fish drowned, you’re out of coffee, call it what it is,your having a bad day. What you can’t do is take on other people’s burdens; nor can you instill your own.
Trying to be objective and rational is often the most difficult thing to do. We get emotional with the aspects we feel we identify with most (work, sports, relationships, who we think we are). Its okay to give a shit, thats why you’re having a hard time being objective (Objective: not influenced by personal feelings or opinions in considering and representing facts). You’re thinking of all the things that could go wrong, or not happen right instead of what you can go well and how you can say you did the thing you sought out to do.
Its okay to care, its okay to want things to go well, its okay to be nervous. I had a conversation with a lady the other day who told me she was super nervous about her child’s birthday party. She told me, “ I ran all over the city today, and I had to go to party city and get pokémon themed birthday decor because thats what the kids want. I feel so stressed about about this entire day” So, I mentioned to her “Sounds like you really care about wanting this birthday party to go well. Im glad you give a shit about your kid”. She stopped foam rolling as I mentioned this to her, and she said “ You’re right, I just want it to go well, I guess its okay to feel this way. Im glad I got all of this stuff; the kids are going to love this party”.
You’re probably going to fuck up here, too. The difference between dependant and independant is that you’ve got other people Involved with this one. What’s the secret to making sure you can be successful, or bounce back from being unsuccessful?
Had the aforementioned mom not asked, and communicated that she was willing to get her kids the decor they wanted, she would not have asked. If the decor was only available at once store that located a province over, then she would of had to communicate that this can’t happen (being honest). Mom said she could, and she did (Mom’s have superpowers, though. This may be a bad example..).
After all of this, the main lesson to take away is that you need to communicate; with either ones self, or with the individuals involved.
To take on more than you can handle, or more than you actually want to is putting a damper on the overall team and yourself. Be realistic with the capacity you’re able to tolerate.
I will leave you with these closing words.
No matter your race, age, sex, religion, or socioeconomic class, everyone is involved in different processes through life. This is living. What you need to know is that everyone moves at their own pace, at a capacity in which they can tolerate; either in their career-life, personal life, etc. As that capacity grows, we are able to manage, and take on more if the environment is right.
When a person is overstretched, or takes on too much is a recipe for disaster. Furthermore, people who take on more than they can chew for a false sense of capability, independence, responsibility, and capacity than others, is a sure shot way of burning yourself out; along with ensuring that much less will be expected of you moving forward.
Be honest with yourself, and learn when to say no or that enough is enough. Stop comparing yourself to the 45 year old CEO, while you’re in your 20s; instead, ask the CEO what he/she was like at you’re age. Not for comparative purposes but for perspective
Take a second to self reflect. Theres no need to dwell on the past, but there is too much value in doing a post-mortem of a situation to learn from your experience (This is that 15%).
A lion doesn’t lose sleep, on the opinion of a sheep. Focus on what you need, to get where you want to be, when you want to be there, and for God sakes, have some self awareness to call yourself out on your own bullshit and save your own integrity.
Quality of this work capacity, and persons reliability is increased when someone can be brutally honest of themselves, and be able to identify what went right (the 85%) and what could be done better (the other 15%), not what went wrong.
Increase your capacity to do better, not more. Stop worrying about everyone else. This might hurt a few people to say but, no one really cares about what you’re doing, other than the people rooting for you. The ones who aren’t rooting for you, thrive on your 15 %, not your 85%; you really don’t need those 15% people around unless they’re willing to help contribute to your 85%.
Hopefully, now that you’ve gone through this, you’re enticed to hit that 85% with 100% effort.
Stay confident, stay strong, keep moving, and increase the quality of your abilities.
“I fear not the man who practices 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” — Bruce Lee