I’m sure you’ve become familiar with the “cat lawyer” video that went viral a few weeks ago. I laughed until I cried watching it and sent it to everyone I know. Within a few days it was the dominant post on social media and it even made it to the news!
If you somehow haven’t heard of this, the quick summary: a lawyer showed up on Zoom for a serious court proceeding on his assistant’s laptop. However, his assistant’s child had been playing with a cat filter on Zoom previously, so when the lawyer used her Zoom account, he showed up to make his case…as a talking cat.
Hilarity ensued and viral video history made as he panics and frantically tries to turn the filter off, while the cat filter’s eyes dart back and forth on the screen.
Through my tears of laughter, I noticed something important. And it was a BIG lesson in capacity, particularly Embodiment Capacity™.
“I’m here live. I’m not a cat.” (hilarious but that wasn’t the capacity moment I noticed)
He then said: “I’m prepared to go forward.”
THAT impressed me. Though it was funny that he was prepared to go forward as a cat for a very serious court hearing, it also showed great capacity. He was so determined to do his job, he was going to do it even as a cat. Even if it wasn’t perfect.
Just a day before, I’d coached a client about her perfectionism problem. She was a successful CEO who was pretty well known in her field before she’d transitioned into her consulting business. A high performing go-getter in her previous job, she was now an endless creator in her new business with little to show.
She was always giving herself the impression she was “doing things”. Constantly creating programs, re-editing her new website copy, and delaying the launch of her new business for eight months.
Her old colleagues kept asking “when is your new venture officially launched?” And this sent her into a spiral of shame. She was increasingly embarrassed her colleagues had seen her leave her previous career as a celebrity and now…nothing.
She had a Visibility Capacity™ deficit. She was afraid of being fully seen in her new thought leadership role. Before, she’d been able to hide behind a company name, now she was fully visible as the face of her new business. She wasn’t used to this and the pressure caused her to find constant excuses to hide. (Oh the website’s not ready yet, my book draft still needs some edits, etc…)
She also had an Embodiment Capacity™ deficit. Having been highly regarded as a thought leader in her previous career, she now felt intense pressure to be even MORE of a thought leader in her new business. What if she couldn’t replicate the same level of respect? What would people think of her? She was more concerned with “living up to” people’s expectations than she was about following her new calling regardless of their judgments.
Both of these capacity deficits made her overly perfectionistic, so she put NOTHING out. It was never “perfect” enough.
In Capacity Shift™, I often work with clients who’ve been stuck at a certain income or revenue level for months. And many times it’s because of the SAME issue. They’re stuck in the illusion of doing things. There’s lots of busy work on their calendar every day. But they’re not actually getting anything done that truly pushes the cart forward so to speak. They’re just using “busy” as a distraction.
Spending weeks creating a podcast instead of engaging in direct, client-generating activities? (Podcasts CAN be client generating, but they take time to get momentum. That’s no use to you when you need more cash coming in NOW.) Working for months on the “perfect a pitch” instead of pitching the damn thing already? Continuously editing your book and avoiding handing the final draft in to your editor?
Doing any of these things (or related ones) and then wondering why you aren’t making progress? Is it any wonder why?
It’s amazing how tricky these capacity deficits can be and how we can deceive ourselves into thinking we’re “doing the work.
Often, being buried in “busy work” means you’re using distractions to avoid taking truly effective action that’ll actually get you results. And you do this because you’re afraid of what happens when you get the results you’ve been after for so long.
Why? There’s many reasons.
You could secretly be afraid you “can’t handle” the results you really want. You might have a belief that you’re “not worthy” of the success you’re busting your buns to achieve. You could actually be creating something that’s completely out of alignment with your purpose, but because it’s “popular” you’re doing it anyway. In that case, your resistance is wisdom, because truly successful projects and ventures are always purpose-aligned.
There are dozens of other reasons why you might be avoiding doing things that will actually move the needle for you. I can’t list them all here, I’d have to work with you and go deeper to know what is the source of YOUR avoidance issue.
But avoidance is often a sign of something MUCH deeper.
Avoidance, dancing around something, pretending to do the work when you’re not actually doing anything that truly moves you forward… these are signs you’re experiencing a capacity deficit. You’re trying to create something you don’t yet have the capacity to actually handle and receive. And deep down you know this, so you avoid actually achieving it.
The cat lawyer has capacity. He could deliver his court arguments even if he had to do it as a cute, fuzzy cat, while the judge and his colleagues were laughing at him. Even when he went viral, he wasn’t worried about whether he could “handle” all the attention. He told BBC News, “I did not know that cat Zoom could turn me into an internet celebrity, but it all happened in just a matter of hours. I’m trying to roll with it.”
Ps: if you’re struggling with doing all the busy work, but putting nothing out there consistently enough to generate the results you really want, it’s time to work on your Capacity. This month we’re working on Embodiment and Visibility Capacity so you can start seeing actual movement towards your next-level goals. Learn more and enroll here.