Teaching clients about capacity in a recent in-home retreat.
“I just spent two weeks in bed.” Her voice was trembling as she fought back tears.
My client had just led her first live event with eighty people attending, it had been her largest group to date. And now she couldn’t move. Worst of all, this was the third time she’d been THIS sick in only three months.
In between sobs, blowing her nose into tissues, she blurted out to me, “What’s wrong with me? Do I just not have what it takes to go to my next level or to make the impact I want to make? I made the changes I thought I was supposed to make and I’m still exhausted and getting sick!”
Have you ever felt this way?
In the case of my client, she’d come to me exactly for this reason. Before she found me, she had a successful business. She was making good money, was booked with 1:1 clients and had people on waiting lists for her next group program opening.
She’d finally hired a few people to assist her (a virtual assistant, social media manager and a project manager). And she was writing her first book.
It all sounds great, right?
Except she was constantly exhausted, sick, felt like she was nitpicking everything and micromanaging everyone all the time, both in her business and in her life. And she couldn’t find time to write her book, no matter how hard she tried.
Yes, she was overwhelmed with her schedule, EVEN THOUGH she had a team supporting her business, a housekeeper, helpful spouse and someone to help watch her kids a few hours every day so she could get work done. No “time management system” or “calendar hack” was working to create more space in her calendar.
So what gives? Here’s where it gets really interesting…
When she first noticed the problem, she hired a business coach to help. He told her that she had to change her entire business model, because what was exhausting her was the 1:1 work and she needed to cut it out entirely. “You’re trading time for time,” he told her. “You need to scale!”
There’s NOTHING wrong with this advice. It’s sound advice. Except he failed to notice that her REAL problem wasn’t actually a strategic or “scaling” problem. It was a capacity problem. So the root of the problem was misdiagnosed and no one addressed her capacity issue.
They went on to build an entire new empire on a foundation made of cardboard. Now the cardboard was crumbling and threatening to bring the whole house down.
She paid this coach $25,000 to restructure her entire business model to cut out 1:1 clients, create a “funnel” and moved to scale one to many. She hosted a big event, just like that coach told her to do. And it went well, she made a lot of sales at that event. She had many people in her new “scalable” group programs.
***Except they hadn’t made her CAPACITY scaleable.***
Now she was sick as a dog and still needed to DELIVER the content and services that ALL of those people had paid for. And she simply didn’t have the CAPACITY to handle, hold & deliver to that many people. She told me, “I’m one heartbeat away from closing down several parts of my business, firing my team and just going back to 1:1 clients, Lisa. I just can’t handle it all. I feel like a friggin pretzel bending over backwards for everyone except myself.”
I spent the remainder of our call digging deeper into why she felt so tired all the time, was nitpicking and micromanaging and felt like she couldn’t handle her next level of growth.
And suddenly, it all became VERY CLEAR. She had a MAJOR Boundary Capacity issue.
A lot of people think their boundaries and their success aren’t related at all.
But it’s when you think boundaries AREN’T a top priority that you end up building castles on shifting sands, burned out and feeling like you’d rather not grow if it’s this exhausting to even get to where you are now.
Your Boundary Capacity is one of the most important foundations to ensure your success, whether in your career or your business.
And I’m not talking about whether or not you have good boundaries right now. I’m talking about whether or not you have the boundaries that the NEXT level version of you needs. Because those are the boundaries you should have in place BEFORE you start scaling or growing to your next level. If you don’t, you’ll end up like my client.
Want to hear where my boundary-less client ended up? Here’s what happened:
We assessed first WHERE the boundaries were weak and we discovered a few INTERESTING things…
- Even though she had a team, supportive spouse, house cleaner, babysitter for her kids and all the “structures” in place, she wasn’t actually making use of them.
- She was allowing her clients to message her in three different places (Facebook, Instagram and email, plus sometimes even text), instead of having clear established boundaries with her clients from the get go.
- Clients also expected her to write them back right away and frequently were all over the place in their sharing on calls, so it made her have to do a TON of emotional labor. Nothing was clearly delineated, so no one knew what the boundaries were.
- She was AFRAID to set boundaries because she thought it would mean clients or loved ones would get mad at her. Then she might lose money as clients, mad at her new boundaries, left. This kept her frozen on setting new boundaries.
- She had boundaries from a few years ago in place, but her business, with its new model, had outgrown them. She needed new boundaries that matched not where she was, but where she wanted to go.
- She didn’t even KNOW what her “next level” boundaries needed to look like or be, so that stopped her from setting those new boundaries in the first place. This kept her from setting the boundaries she needed to be able to grow WITHOUT exhaustion, sickness and burnout.
We got to work on all of the areas above and MOST IMPORTANTLY, we got to the CORE reason as to why she wasn’t setting those boundaries in the first place. Within a few months of doing the Boundary Capacity work, getting clear on her next level boundaries and getting over fears of setting them, she had:
- Raised company revenue from $200,000 to $500,000.
- Fired and hired a few key team members (and hired the RIGHT people now that she had clear boundaries during her hiring process) who had taken a lot of work off her plate.
- Booked a two week “writer’s vacation” in a little cabin in Italy to finish her book (her business even had a $45,000 launch during that time and she wasn’t involved in it one bit)!
- Discovered she actually loved working with 1:1 clients and that they hadn’t actually been the source of her overwhelm – it was her lack of boundaries causing it. She brought a small handful of 1:1 clients back and kept her scaleable group programs. All her clients were respecting the boundaries, so there was no more excess emotional labor or micromanaging.
- Hosted a 250 person event and only needed to take ONE day off after the event. She told me it was the first time she didn’t feel drained at all afterwards and in fact felt energized.
- Moved to working 3 days a week only vs. every day of the week prior.
- Taken a few fabulous vacations to Fiji and Rome with her family, while her team ran her business and NONE of her clients got pissy that she was offline during her vacation time.
All of this JUST from expanding her Boundary Capacity.
Now maybe you have a career and not a business. Maybe you’re making less than my client or more than her. Wherever you are, the same applies to you.
If you’re feeling like things are too busy now and that makes you not want to grow sometimes because of how overwhelmed you feel, then you have a Boundary Capacity issue. And you DO NOT have to feel this way.
If you can expand your Boundary Capacity, you can change EVERYTHING. And you can stop feeling like “you don’t have what it takes” to create the impact that deep down you really want to have, or that your “body can’t handle” it.
It can. You just have to do it with the right capacity and stop relying on strategies alone.
Last week I opened up the NEW virtual Boundary Capacity retreat so that we can work on expanding YOUR Boundary Capacity.
Our first date is coming up next week on November 9 and spots are filling up.
I only have 8 spots for each retreat because I want to have plenty of time to coach you on your own Boundary Capacity issues. Plus there’s an opportunity to work on your boundaries in real time with me during the retreat.
Best of all, it’s virtual, which means you don’t even have to get out of your pajamas and get to do it from the comfort of your own home.
Want to learn more?
In love & capacity,
PS: Our first retreat date is only ONE week away. So you definitely don’t want to put this aside “for later.” It’s important for you to go into next year with your next level boundaries SOLID so you can support your business and self to grow to their highest next year. Use this as an opportunity to go into next year on a STRONG foundation.
PPS: Here are some nice things women who participated in our last virtual retreat said. It’s a pretty powerful experience as you can see!