Originally posted 2010-03-18 02:12:00. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

There was an edge to my voice as I asked the question: "And so why haven’t you finished what you promised to do?"

I meant for it to come out nicer, more reasonable. But, it didn’t.

This is so often where we land, kerthunk, in business: are you getting it done, or aren’t you? In the western world, we call this ‘productivity’ and we think it’s a good thing. Even if we complain about it, or hold spiritual values that say otherwise, I find that my clients (and me… ) orient around this question.

Are you getting it done? Are you being productive enough? And did you realize that your desire for productivity is contributing to global warming, debt, and business struggle?

The problem isn’t productivity… it’s capacity.

What is ‘capacity’? Capacity is, simply put, the quantity something can contain. How much water a glass holds (oh, about a dram or two), how many people can fit around a Passover table (24! What? Aunt Joan brought six cousins with her? No problem!)…

How many things can you get done in a day, week, year?

The idea of abundance is very alluring- there’s plenty! There’s plenty to go around, there’s plenty for everyone, there’s no reason you can’t do it/have it all.

Unfortunately, this runs smack into a very troubling spiritual teaching.

The physical world is a limited place. There is an unlimited amount of love, mercy, and peace available. There is, however, a limited amount of fresh water, fossil fuels, and arable land for growing food. There is an unlimited amount of creativity and connection. There is, despite our best efforts, a limited number of seats at the table (we’ll have to find an extra table for those six cousins…)

In the Sufi take on the creation story, Source is described as ‘veiling’ itself, in order to create the physical world. The physical, 3D, dirt and grass reality we live in is distanced from Source, because otherwise we’d all be dissolved into Oneness, with no individuality discernable at all.

The things that are unlimited are the things that are less ‘distant’ from Source, and thus are without physical form: love, compassion, mercy, creativity, etc…

Surrender to the fact that you have limited capacity. One of the first groups I ever ran, before Heart of Business even existed, was a six-week "Success" group. Every week, people would write down their goals and tasks for the next week. And every week we’d come back to find that everyone, everyone, without fail was leaving about 50% unfinished.

The issue wasn’t productivity: the issue was capacity. They were all overestimating their capacity by about 100%- they thought they could do twice as much as they actually could.

It’s this inability to judge our capacity that leads to debt: you spend more than you have. It also leads to global warming, which is also a kind of debt, in that we are spending more energy, from other sources, than we have in ourselves.

It also leads to business struggle- trying to do more than you really can, means you end up exhausted, cranky, and feeling like a failure.

This was a profound insight for me, when I realized that what was making my life so crowded, was also what was maxing our credit cards at the time, and was also contributing to the ravaging of the planet.

Just accepting one’s true capacity is a big step towards contributing to healing our families, our communities, and the world. And yet, and yet…

Is that it? Give up on your ambitions and your goals? Play small? Or is there way to deal with your capacity and still grow your business?

Keys to Business Capacity • Get honest.

How many times in the last days, weeks, or months have you said: "I meant to get it done… why isn’t it done yet?" That’s a clue that you are way overestimating your capacity.

It’s okay. Take a deep breath, be gentle with yourself, and realize you haven’t done anything wrong. You’re caught up in a culture that makes routine overestimating capacity and living on credit.

Admit to yourself: "I’m way over capacity. It’s literally impossible to do all of this."

• Clear cut.

Clear cutting is a miserable thing to do to a forest, but it’s fine thing to do to with a to-do list.

This is the challenge: make a list of everything you are trying to get done in the next week, and erase half. Yes, a full half. Do it right now. Get a piece of paper, do a brain dump of the 12-25 things on your plate.

Now, cross off half of them. I know it’s rough, but it’s going to happen anyway. Better that you choose, rather than you simply run out of time.

• Notice what’s really important.

There are some things that are more urgent, and some things that aren’t. There are some items that help you feel alive and well, and some that don’t.

When you realize what your capacity really is, it becomes easier to say "no" to things that just don’t fit, and easier to say "yes" to the things that are important in your life.

There’s tons of other things that go here: having the right tools (like a larger computer monitor, or the right pruning sheers in the garden), having an office that is set up efficiently, getting regular exercise, etc.

That’s all good stuff, but the foundation of it all, I’ve discovered, is to really face the reality of your capacity. As you settle into the truth of what’s possible in this finite world of ours, I bet you’ll discover a lot more of the limitless abundance of love and peace and compassion in your heart.

And with more of that love, we’ll have more time and capacity to make this world a much more wonderful place.

Mark Silver is the author of Unveiling the Heart of Your Business: How Money, Marketing and Sales can Deepen Your Heart, Heal the World, and Still Add to Your Bottom Line. He has helped hundreds of small business owners around the globe succeed in business without lousing their hearts. Get three free chapters of the book online: http://www.heartofbusiness.com

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