7 Ways To Build Your Capacity This Summer

Everything that we want in our lives is related to our capacity. Steven Covey points this out in his fable of the goose that lays the golden egg. Here it is in short form:

A farmer has a goose that lays a golden egg each morning. The egg is the production (P) and the goose is the production capacity (PC). One day the farmer decides that the goose would make a lovely dish at a family meal. The farmer got many compliments on the delicious meal, but the next day realized that there would be no more golden eggs (P) because he had killed the goose (PC).

We often have the same short-sightedness when we kill our Production Capacity through excessive business, social isolation, a sedentary lifestyle, hanging out with people who are not good for us and neglecting our relationship with God. Your capacity is to be guarded and nurtured (this is why the Bible urges us to guard our hearts- for out of it springs the wellsprings of life). When you increase and protect your capacity, you dramatically increase the chances of getting what you truly want in life.

What are you doing to increase your capacity in your personal, professional, relational and spiritual life? The more demands you have on you in life, the greater your need to take time out to build capacity!

Here are 7 ways to increase capacity that I am learning about that you can put into action in your life right away!

  1. Take a hike– Getting physically active ensures that you will have the energy for the things that are most important to you. It also fuels your creativity! Just this morning I took a hike for capacity building reasons. On the hike I ended up getting some great ideas for blogs. Building pauses like this into your routine helps you to be more innovative and to clear your thinking so that you focus on the right things when you re-engage your work.
  2. Take a nap– Seriously. Some of the highest functioning people I know have napping as a part of their renewal and sustainability strategy. When you are fully rested you are much more present, helpful and engaging to your family and your colleagues. You can actually accomplish more in a shorter time when you are well rested- so give yourself permission to do so! Recently I spoke 26 times in 26 days and napping helped me be at full strength for each presentation.
  3. Take a course– Your growth intellectually, spiritually and professionally is dramatically increased when you increase your capacity through exposing yourself to learning experiences. You can probably recall ideas that you gleaned in a course, service, or seminar in the past that are producing good things in your life today. Stretch yourself and spend the money (if necessary) to take your awareness and knowledge to a new level. This past week I took webinar training in to help me increase capacity in my consulting practice (Natural Church Development/Organic Quality Management). Learning new concepts and skills took effort but the resulting mentoring, networking and knowledge will make me more effective moving forward.
  4. Go on a date– If you are married, take time to build capacity into your marriage by taking time for your spouse. If you do not take time for one another you can actually decrease your capacity in your marriage and in other areas in your life. One reason for this is that not taking time for one another and taking time to communicate can cause a level of anxiety to seep into the relationship- sometimes because you end up misinterpreting your spouses actions or because you know that the relationship is not what it could/should be. My wife and I recently celebrated our anniversary and part of our date was enjoying our first ever Vietnamese iced coffees. I think we are still coming down off of the caffiene high!
  5. Read a book– Through reading you expose yourself to mentors that you would never otherwise have access to. Learning the concepts that have helped them gain traction can save you a lot of time, energy and money! I have made it a practice to ‘scour’ books. That is, I go in and get what I need from the book (by underlining key concepts and writing my own application notes in the margin) without feeling a necessity to read every word of the book. With this method I am able to burn through more books and my retention levels have gone up dramatically. Most of the progress I have seen in my life in the past year can be attributed to concepts I have incorporated into my life from my reading of the Bible and quality inspirational books.
  6. Talk to a friend– People flourish the most in the context of a circle of supportive, caring, fun people around them. Your capacity is increased through ‘friend time’ because: you are less susceptible to discouragement, you laugh more and become more optimistic and you have a venue to process and dispel negative life events. Just knowing that friends are behind you and praying for you boosts your energy levels and your confidence!
  7. Take time to play– We get this as kids but sometimes we need to relearn it as adults! A few days ago I got home from speaking at a youth camp. One of the fun activities was playing in the pool with the campers and staff. At one point I was laughing an evil laugh after dousing a camper with water when out of nowhere they produced a bucket of water and proceeded to pour a two gallons of water down my throat. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while! Taking time to play increases your relational capacity (not to mention your lung capacity).

Happy capacity building!

Question: Do you have any more tips on how to build capacity in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Photo credit: Lara Cores / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)



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