Capacity: How much – work, marketing, studying, networking, fill-in-the-blank – is enough?

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Clients express worry and doubt over a number of different obstacles that disrupt their action plans. When building relationships with business prospects, the fear is they will bring in more work than they can handle. They will tell management that they are worried about capacity. The response from their manager is often, “That is a good problem to have. Just keep doing what you are doing and it will all work out.”

That kind of response often increases the anxiety and stress of the individuals and teams. It is a de-motivator.

Taking a mindful approach to business means understanding your capacity, that of your team, and of your organization. It is a process to learn to be both aspirational and practical in order to adjust the scale of the work you are doing appropriately.  The capacity grows and changes along with you.

The meaning of the word “capacity” may bring different connotations to people. Take a moment to define “capacity” for yourself. When you say, “I do not have the capacity”, or, “my team does not have the capacity,” what do you mean? Here are some examples of different meanings I have heard:

  • “Capacity means the amount of activities I can handle over a specific period of time. The literal time it will take.”
  • “For me, capacity means the number of different kinds of activities I can handle. The ability to wear different hats.”
  • “The mastery of a skill or mindset is what I mean when I say I don’t have the capacity. I feel out of my comfort zone or overwhelmed.”

Once you have determined what the root of your worry around capacity is, the next step is determining whether the obstacle is real or stems from an assumption you are making. Why are you reacting the way you are? Clients often realize they create overlays of assumptions that they add to situations because of past experiences. It is important to sift through that with your coach and decide whether there really is an obstacle.

If it passes the reality test, the next step is to plan. Scale or adjust the tasks in front of you with your vision for success. Take a look at the plan you wrote in order to make that comparison.

Then, ask yourself these questions:

  1. What do you need to overcome the obstacle?
  2. Are all of the activities and items that create the obstacle necessary for you to reach your goals?
  3. Which items can be removed?
  4. How robust is the team? Who can handle more to free up time for you and for others?
  5. Looking farther into the future, how can you plan to meet the obstacle? Do you need to hire? Do you need to train more people?
  6. If the obstacle is learning a skill, what plan can you make to tackle that one piece at a time?

Use a calendar to schedule smaller actions that move you closer to the goal. And remember to breathe.

For more information contact Mary Balistreri, The Mindful Business Coach at

Published by Mary Balistreri

Mary Balistreri offers a variety of coaching and professional development services to individuals and organizations focused on harnessing strengths to develop more business. Mary’s approach is goal driven, focusing on measurable results and developing actionable plans to move past obstacles that hold individuals, teams, and organizations back from executing on the plan. Mary offers expertise in business development, team building, and leadership development coupled with strategies to improve conversational and emotional intelligence to support clients moving toward their goals and aspirations.

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