How to Know When You Have Reached Your Capacity

You need to understand when you are overwhelmed. (Photo by Christian Erfurt on Unsplash)

What is capacity? It's the margin and space we have for taking on new things.

All of us have things on our plate right now—no matter what stage of life you're in or what your pursuits, we all have things taking up space in our lives. When we reach capacity, it means we don't have any more room to add new things.

The main challenge is that we are not aware of our capacities. Your people have capacity; you have capacity. Your leaders have capacity. And sometimes, when we go over our capacity, we come to a place in our life where we start feeling what we call stress. Some people call it "stretched."

It doesn't matter what word you give to it. Here's the word that makes better sense to me: "overwhelmed." Overwhelmed means I have to do more, go more, be more, but I don't have the capacity to go to where I need to go.

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So you have to analyze your capacity issues; you have to analyze not only, "Can we do this?" but "How stressed—how overwhelming—will it be?" I work with organizations on culture issues, whether they are corporate or ministry organizations. I can tell you that what leaders don't understand is that their staff—their volunteers, their department leaders—all have capacity.

It's not that they are bad people; not that they're incompetent people; not that they can't do the job; it's not that they don't have the know-how; it's not that they don't want to do it; it's not that they are not loyal to you; it's not that they're not working hard. They are like you. They are like everybody else. You can only stretch them so far.

You have a limit; so does your staff. Keep these limits in mind as you assign, plan and prioritize for your organization. Where's your line? Make sure you're not overwhelming yourself or those around you.

Sam Chand is a former pastor, college president and chancellor and now serves as president emeritus of Beulah Heights University. As a dream releaser, he serves pastors, ministries, governmental and social organizations and businesses as a leadership architect and change strategist. Sam speaks regularly at leadership conferences, churches, corporations, seminars and other leadership development opportunities.

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