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Discover your 4-Fold Capacity

Discover your 4-Fold Capacity

I worked in retail for a short time, and detail business that retail is, the experience created some lingering impressions for me. One was a fascination with taking inventory, and projecting the potential margins that inventory could represent.

In the retail business I learned to consider assets as a means to an end; the ‘end’ was product and service. My shop inventory created a product experience for the customer which exponentially magnified my actual cost of goods sold, generating much larger revenue streams. In its raw form, my inventory was actually capacity.

Capacity. The word began to be one that struck some very resonant chords with me. As I discovered my passions in management and leadership, it didn’t take me too long to connect the abundance of human intrigue to capacity too. I wondered about the human capacity for worthwhile work: Could that be something we could ‘take inventory’ of?

Today, I look at our capacity for work in four different ways; physical, intellectual, emotional, and spiritual. Within each realm, we can reveal the incredible potential people have, because we look at their innate strengths with a bigger view; we ‘see more’ of them in that we see them with a greater wholeness.

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In particular, this four-fold view of a person’s capacity has been a good way for me to coach leaders in the mentorship they offer to those they feel are their possible successors. When we mentor, we want to help another discover all they are capable of achieving in a full exploration and celebration of who they are, and who they can be.

Let’s look at these four different dimensions of human capacity one at a time. I am still learning about the abundance to be found in each, and I invite you to investigate them with me.

Physical Capacity

Athleticism, appearance and health are the more obvious parts of physical capacity, however this also includes demeanor, disposition, and those personality traits important for likeability. Beyond those surface traits we recognize, we are looking to discover someone’s born-in talents. From those talents we can reveal their natural inclination for learning certain skills. Conversely, their non-talents will reveal when learning other skills will prove difficult for them.

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Intellectual Capacity

If we are to ‘respect a person’s intelligence’ we must reveal all of their intelligence and celebrate it. Intellectual capacity is what we most often refer to as a person’s pool of knowledge, and further, how they apply and use it. It is how a person thinks and reasons, and how they make decisions. Intellectual capacity includes their ability with problem solving, their thirst for learning, and their capacity for generating new ideas. I have begun to think of self-talk and ‘mental gymnastics’ as the tools of intellectual capacity.

Emotional Capacity

Included in emotional capacity is self-esteem, confidence, and the assertiveness which stems from personal values; thus I consider someone’s beliefs and deep-seated convictions to be more a part of their emotional capacity than of their intellectual capacity. Going back to the concept of ‘taking inventory,’ emotional capacity also includes our tolerance and load factors for stress and burn-out. This is where I’ll also look at someone’s sense of belonging and needs for security. Energy level is directly related to your emotional capacity.

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Spiritual Capacity

I have always found it most useful to look at this as defining the ways a person is inspired, in other words, how they are ‘in-spirit.’ This is the inventory of someone’s personal values, their grounding and sense of place, and their aloha spirit (how they are in the ‘breath of life’). Within spiritual capacity we can start to recognize our connections to social responsibility, to civic duty, to our humanitarian tugs-of-heart, and with those things which bring us closer to a sense of self-actualization.

When managers are coached to look at their people through these lenses, it is akin to their meeting them all over again. They can gain far greater levels of respect for the richness people represent, and they get excited about the opportunity they have been given as coaches and mentors. They begin to realize how unlimited our capacity can be, and they coach better because they encourage more, and with a far greater sense of optimism and celebration.

When you are a manager, the capacity of your people is an inventory well worth taking, for the abundance it creates is actually within you and your outlook.

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Related Articles:
Experience Required. (Are you sure?)
What it means to “Look to your source.”
Mastery, Permission to be oh so human. Rosa Say is the author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog. She is the founder and head coach of Say Leadership Coaching, a company dedicated to bringing nobility to the working arts of management and leadership. For more of her ideas, click to her Thursday columns in the archives, or download her manifesto: Managing with Aloha, on ChangeThis.com.

Rosa’s Previous Thursday Column was: Easy to duplicate = Easy to learn.

More by this author

Rosa Say

Rosa is an author and blogger who dedicates to helping people thrive in the work and live with purpose.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

1. Define Career Success for Yourself

Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

What does career success mean to you?

This is about defining your career success:

  • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
  • Not what people may think of you
  • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
  • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

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  • Work-life balance
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement
  • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

  • What do you mean by work-life balance?
  • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
  • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

  • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
  • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
  • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

  • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
  • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
  • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

2. Know Your Values

Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

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  • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
  • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
  • Put the words on your fridge
  • Add the words on your vision board

Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

  • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
  • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
  • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
  • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
  • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
  • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

  • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
  • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
  • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
  • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

4. Determine Your Top Talents

What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

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What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

What do you notice?

5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

Keep these words visible too!

Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

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Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

“These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

7. Manage Your Own Career

Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

Summing Up

For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

  1. Define Career Success for Yourself
  2. Know Your Values
  3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
  4. Determine Your Top Talents
  5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
  6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
  7. Manage Your Own Career

“When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

Good luck and best wishes always!

More Tips on Advancing Your Career

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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