Building capacity is essential for expansion in many areas; personal as well as professionally. Capacity is the place we create within ourselves to hold and sustain something greater. So how does a person increase capacity? First, you have to identify the lids that keep you static and remove these obstacles. Second, find the right people or institutions that can shape new thinking. Finally, you must act upon the new knowledge you gain, and gain new knowledge along the way. Building capacity is basically renewing our mind so we can believe in ourselves as to create and engage new opportunities that will challenge you to grow. I have found three essential principles for building capacity. First and foremost you need an honest assessment of yourself.
Before you can increase any personal or professional capacity you must assess yourself. Where do you stand today, and where do you want to be tomorrow? What gifts, talents and knowledge do you possess, and are you maximizing them? And what new experiences do you need in your life that will expose you to new knowledge? There are many types of assessments. I recommend a varied sample:
a. Personal or Life Assessment – This assessment requires a self-evaluation. Try taking a week or so, a total of 20 hours of silence to think about your life: Where do you want to be in 5 years from now? What is required to get you there? What people and resources will you need in your journey? What are your strengths/weaknesses? This evaluation will require an honest assessment. However, this is only the beginning, you will need other assessment components to complete this process.
b. Innate Gifts and Personality Assessment – Online offers many assessments; some are free, while others will require money. Many people don’t know “what” they have. I spoke to an adult male who sat at my table during Bible study, and asked him the simple question, “What are your spiritual gifts?” He simply answered, “I have been a Christian for 12 years and I don’t know the answer to that question.” Here are some online assessments:
Team Dimensions Profile– Know your place within a team.
Personal Assessment – Know yourself.
Innate Gifts – Your personal strengths.
Spiritual Gifts – Your spiritual gifts.
c. Mentor Assessment – You will need to gather at least two or three assessments, not from your friends, but from three people who know you enough to give you honest feedback about your blind spots, character flaws, personal lids. Who qualifies? Individuals such as a pastor, your employer, a teacher or a mature person you know and respect. During this meeting you must come with a list of questions for them to answer, question such as… what they think about you and what they see in you, and your future.
Education expands the mind and opens new portals of learning. Where can you go to gain more acumen for internal growth? Here’s my personal example. At the age of 44 I hit a personal barrier in my life, so I needed to find a new context for learning. So I acquired a master’s degree in the area of my passion, which happens to be the area of leadership/mentoring. So I searched out many colleges and universities and finally settled on Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. For me it was an opportunity to integrate my faith with new knowledge. It took me four years to complete my Master’s Online but the new knowledge and relationships I acquired were second to none. I had excellent teachers who cared about my personal growth and were always helpful answering my questions and providing feedback during each course. One of my teachers continues being a personal friend and coach. We communicate through social media, email and phone calls. These relationships and insights gained, especially in the area of your life’s work are essential to increase capacity.
Capacity increases through action. The story of Gideon comes to mind. In Judges 6:5 it notes:
The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?”
Gideon felt inadequate but capacity was to be gained along the journey through faith and action. Many people won’t start anything without having everything they need for the journey. This is not always true. Take for instance, the story of the Talents in Luke 19. The Noble gathers his servants and gives one five talents, the other two and the other servant his gives only one talent. Then he leaves on a long journey. There are no instructions given, no strategy was spoken about. He gave them different sums according to their existing capacity. Then the story quickly shifts to the Nobleman’s return, avoiding the strategies employed to increase their shares. The Nobleman expected an increase of the money left to each person. The one with the five came before him and gave him five more. The one with the two gave him two more… each one increasing their gains by 100%. The last one came with excuses and kept the money hidden for fear of personal failure. The moral of the story is about increasing capacity. As you are given responsibility, you are expected to increase the return within a period of time. Capacity was built along the journey through engagement, interaction, and transacting commerce along the way. It was through the process of engagement that increased their personal capacity. Capacity building requires action, and action creates capacity.
How do you build capacity? Have you used any of this three areas in your life to grow capacity?