Further Thoughts on Capacity
by Laurie Beth Jones
I have been pondering the word “capacity” quite a bit these days. It’s been rolling around in my mind like a rock my grandfather used to put in a tumbler so he could take it out later and see its delineations more clearly.
According to the Oxford Dictionary, Capacity means the amount something can hold or produce, or the The ability or power to do, experience, or understand something. Its origin is Late Middle English: from French capacité, from Latin capacitas, from capax, capac- ‘that can contain’, from capere ‘take and/or hold’.
Capacity. The Ability to take and hold. I love it.
The other word I have been considering equally as much is identity.
I have separated its parts to read I—Dent—It—Y.
The issue of Self sabotage comes up frequently when coaching clients. Why do we sometimes do things that we know are going to trip us up? For example, being late for a meeting. Or repeating a behavior that ultimately leads us to loss.
I’ve recently coined the phrase “self shrinkage.” Self-shrinkage occurs when we deliberately make ourselves smaller than we really are.
Here’s what I have come to believe:
Identity + Capacity = Results.
You may have the identity or self image that you can do something, but if you don’t have the capacity, you will not see the results.
Likewise, you may have the capacity, but if you don’t have the identity to embrace it, you will not see the results.
Every day we see people who claim to be able to do something, when they really can’t. “Step aside—I’m a doctor” is a claim that in some very rare cases is made by imposters. Those with a Messiah complex, or the narcissists we read so much about, are real life cases of someone having the identity, but not the actual capacity to do what they claim.
Every day we see people who could be great at something, but they don’t believe that about themselves, so they remain in mediocrity. “You have a terrific voice!” “Nah—I just like to sing in the shower so the dogs don’t bark.”
Either way, there is a mismatch—and a loss for all of us.
When narcissists lie about their capacity, and we believe them, we get hurt.
When people of great capacity underestimate their identity, we also lose.
So my challenge for you is this:
Make sure your identity matches your capacity.
If you are truly great at something, embrace it. Increase your capacity to make it even better through study, training, discipline.
And if your identity is not aligned with the reality of your capacity, maybe believe some of those positive prophecies you’ve been given, and step into a new way of thinking.
Jesus looked at the man and asked “Do you want to be healed?”
Why on earth would he ask that question? Doesn’t everyone want to be healed? I think Jesus asked this because he knew the man had the capacity to walk, but he saw himself as a victim. “I don’t have anybody to help me.” His identity did not match his capacity.
When Jesus said “Get up and walk” he was telling him—telling all of us, really, to get in alignment with who we really can be—
we really are.
Capere. Take and hold. * * *