We all know what over capacity feels like. Your brains are buzzing with a gagillion thoughts a second, your tummy is tangled in knots, and you just want to a) scream b) sob c) eat an entire pie or d) all of the above.
Listen sister; I know.
But if twitter, one of the biggest social media giants on the planet, can admit to having no more room at the inn, then so can we, right?
Capacity seems to be a magical thing.
I’m totally not the master of all this, but I’m thinking that the first step to honoring my capacity is knowing what it is in the first place. At the end of the day, I need to determine what type of elevator I really am.
Say what, Michelle?!
You heard me right, girlfriend. When I think about capacity, the very first thing that pops into my mind are elevators. Stay with me. There are a bagillion different elevators in the world. Ones run by elevator operators, ultra-futuristic ones that look like silver eggs, huge freight elevators bigger than the first floor of my house, and rural rope-wood-and-bucket-systems way up in the mountains.
From the super basic doctor’s office rides to the super exciting ride to the top of the Empire State Building, there is only one thing that really matters- how much the darn thing can carry. Put too much on it and even the very best elevator is going to fail; miserably. Sure you can always “upgrade” to an even bigger and stronger elevator, but eventually you are going to lose sight of what was there in the first place.
So I wonder, are limits always bad?
When I first began my business I put so much thought into “making it.” I read books and blazed trails and reached a point where I, quite honestly, felt limitless. “The stars are mine for the taking!” I told myself. Yippeee! I can do it ALL!
The more I booked, the more successful I felt. The more blogs and magazines and books and TV shows I was featured on and in, the more successful I felt. Bigger = more = better = happy place. Isn’t that what our society tells us all the time? “Upsize!” “Upgrade!” ”Go big or go home!”
Well, to be honest, I’m not sure I want to run my business that way. Only seeing my children on vacations, not sleeping or eating properly, being totally consumed by profit margins day and night- that is not what I want my life to look like. Some people own and run giant, enormous, mammoth corporations, and some run a table at the local farmer’s market. I’m not sure one is necessarily better than the other.
I never want to be a Walmart or even it’s more expensive non-identical twin sister, Nordstroms. So where does that leave me?
1. Michelle Gardella Photography is NOT a freight elevator.
2. I don’t think I will ever want it to be a freight elevator.
3. I no longer see this as a bad or wrong thing.
I would rather be refined and exclusive. I’ve always been such a huge fan of rare treasures that are uncovered in awesome places versus something I can find everywhere I look.
Now, once I can confidently see and declare that I am not a freight elevator, I can start to form a realistic capacity setting.
Let’s start with the things we know we will not give up. No way, no how, no matter what.
For me, I know I love playing outside with my media-free children every single day. I know I am dedicated to sending them to a private Waldorf school. I know I enjoy eating the very best diet I can. I know that I need wellness (JourneyDance!) workshops and retreats in my life. I know that I am devoted to my photography business always being super duper creative, hands on, attentive to detail, and fostering meaningful and lifelong relationships. And on and on. Everyone’s list is totally different. It doesn’t make one better than the other! It just means we all have things that sit closest to our hearts for a million different reasons.
Once we can look at what we know we will not compromise on, we might begin to see what our ideal elevator capacity looks like for our businesses (and maybe ever our lives).
Twitter, I imagine, has a magical number of people who can ride their ride at a time. Once they hit that number, a big red light starts to blink over at headquarters and Joe in the control room throws the adorable whale-in-a-net webpage up. For me, the signs that I am at capacity are not always as obvious.
In my case, if I realize that I am not spending enough time with my children, or if I haven’t had enough quality time with my husband, I know I might be over capacity. If I wake up feeling completely resentful of the to-do list before me, I might be over capacity. If I stop juicing and eating what feels amazing and go instead with what is quick and dirty, I might be over capacity. It is totally different for us all.
I used to think that having a capacity would be limiting. I thought I would feel contained, squashed, less than, or weighed down. But so far, the exact opposite has happened. My children see so much more of me (the happy, present me), my clients are the most amazing couples I have always dreamed of, and I am happier than ever before.
Knowing my capacity in my business lets me know when to hire the help I need, helps me to make decisions with clarity and confidence, and brings my balance back.
What do you think? Are limits always bad? What do you think your capacity is? How can determining your capacity help you to reach your goals for an incredible 2012?