Liberating Capacity: A Guest Post with Joan Friedlander

Liberating Capacity: A Guest Post with Joan Friedlander

crossroadsFor RAISING CLARITY and our soul-colleagues, capacity begins with what we can accomplish without degradation.  Joan Friedlander takes capacity to a whole new level: capacity is what we can accomplish with flowering, with enlivening. Joan is my soul-colleague. I met her when I begged her to be my marketing coach. She has become my friend. Here is my interview with her, conducted over email.

Capacity increases, in the sense of being and expressing exactly who we are, with nothing added or subtracted. We all have different innate capacities, pointing to both our gifts and our limitations (another view of this word, it is so rich and juicy).

There is nothing wrong with limitation. Every super hero has her superpowers. Conditioning and false ego says we have to improve what is weak and otherwise be everything to all people.

This starts early, at most jobs. You get a performance review, and more attention is paid to “developmental areas” than to your strengths. Ultimately, this serves to dilute us. You might say that these false notions are like kryptonite, robbing us of our superpowers.

My Capacities model can show us where our strengths and weaknesses are:

capacities-chartThere are three baseline essential capacities: mental, emotional and physical. These are universal in that they point to our ability to function in life, and give us a way to quickly assess where our foundation is strong, and where it is weak.

The three interactive capacities (middle of the chart) and the three leadership capacities at the top build on the layer I’m calling “essential.” The interactive and leadership capacities move us into our relationship with the world, with other humans and with our work.

It is not required that everyone function optimally in all 9 areas all of the time. It’s not even practical as a goal. I’ll share 2 examples, one generic and one specific:

1. Let’s look at the three leadership capacities: collaborative, vocal, and creative. Some people might naturally excel at vocal expression, which is all about the ability to take a stand and express it, even when that stand might be unpopular. To be effective in vocal expression requires the ability to modulate emotional response or what I call Emotional Capacity. It also requires the ability to be appropriate to a given situation or what I call Responsive Capacity.

For an individual, it can be important to develop Vocal Capacity if one is to be a fully realized individual. But, if it’s not a strong area, it is going to be important to wait for right timing and personal clarity before speaking up.

Now, on a team , one person might excel at Vocal Capacity, and another at Collaborative Capacity. Leaders of “strength-based” organizations would naturally look at this, and place people in roles where they excel.

2. I recently shared the 9 capacities with a friend, also a coach in business for herself. She self-identified as having diminished Collaborative Capacity; she noticed she energetically tripped over Collaborative Capacity.  To notice the discomfort in her body around it made her curious. She prefers to work independently, and is quite successful doing so. However, she is aware of a desire to take her business to another level, and she realizes that she might need to collaborate with others to do this, and so it might be important to expand her Collaborative Capacity.

Further investigation revealed that in order to collaborate, certain conditions of satisfaction would have to be in place:

A) she would need a sense that others would hold up their end of the bargain and

B) she could still work independently, meaning she would be able to work at her own pace, and focus on her part of the project

Let’s say this wasn’t her mission, or a need. Knowing that Collaborative Capacity is not her strong suit, and is not required for her to flourish, there would be nothing to do, only to be aware. We talked a little bit more about this, about the lure of being asked. An unaware person might jump in, excited to be asked, only to regret it later. An aware person, aware of her limitations in this area, would either decline, no matter how outwardly enticing, or take some time to investigate who is on the other side.

So the Capacities are an ideal, but they don’t suggest that any one human need operate at optimal capacity in all 9 areas to succeed. It’s much more about awareness, from which intelligent decisions can be made.

Joan Friedlander!

Joan has written Talking Points that detail her Capacity Model. The downloadable PDF is here.

To subscribe to Joan’s “Capacity Matters” newsletter, go here.

To see other guest posts by Joan in our blog, click here.

To work with Joan, go here!


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