Ep #127: How to Expand Your Capacity with Lisa Fabrega

How to Expand Your Capacity with Lisa Fabrega

Hey friends, aren’t you just loving the guests we’ve had on the show recently?! There’s so much goodness being covered and today’s episode is no different! This year has revealed a lot of weak spots for many, and people are functioning at full capacity right now. Today’s guest Lisa Fabrega joins us to teach us how to develop the capacity to deal with the things we face in our lives in order to live a calmer, more stress-free life.

Lisa Fabrega is a leadership coach who helps ambitious women expand their capacity to handle more growth, wealth, and success in their lives. For more than ten years, she’s helped entrepreneurs, corporate executives, Academy Award nominees, and Novel Prize organization candidates break through boundaries that have been holding them back from their next level. She’s here today to show us how to identify and resolve our own capacity issues to take our lives and businesses to the next level.

Tune in this week to learn why problems with capacity might be the reason things aren’t working for you right now. We’ll discover six areas where we may have capacity issues and learn how to expand our capacity to enhance our lives. Each one of us has our own capacity code, and today’s episode will help you discover yours. This episode speaks to me on so many levels, and I know it will do the same for you!

If you want to keep this conversation going, you have to join my free Design You Podcast community on Facebook. We have great conversations over there about the podcast episodes and our podcast guests are in there too! So head on over and I’ll see you there! 

What You'll Learn From This Episode

  • How to tell if you have a capacity issue.
  • Why we always look outside of ourselves for answers.
  • How to build the ability to handle things – both the good and the bad.
  • Why only you can determine your own capacity.
  • How to have more integrity with yourself.
  • The importance of boundaries.
  • How to build trust with yourself.

Featured On The Show

Full Episode Transcript

You are listening to the Design You podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 127.

Welcome to the Design You podcast. A show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth and joy. Here’s your host, Tobi Fairley.

Hello friends. I am really loving the guests we’ve had on the podcast lately, and it is just always so exciting to me when there’s so much synergy and overlap and just connection from week, to week, to week. And it’s not always planned, it is definitely divine intervention, I think. And I feel like today’s episode is no different.

So today I have Lisa Fabrega and she is a leadership coach. She helps ambitious women expand their capacity to handle more growth, wealth and success. Amazing. Don’t we all want the capacity to live the life that we really want? And so for more than 10 years she’s really helped entrepreneurs, corporate executives, academy award nominees, Nobel Prize organizations, all kinds of people really break through the boundaries, the ceilings, the sort of walls that they’re running up against that are really holding them back.

And I just know that you’re going to really like today’s episode, it speaks to me so personally on so many levels. And it’s definitely one of the ones; you know how every so often I say, “This is one of my favorites?” Well, I would add this one to that list of the 10 or so episodes that really, really connect with me. This one is so good. I know you’re going to love it. And in this time where we all feel like we don’t have enough capacity to handle the things that are happening in our life, I think you’re going to really, really connect with this episode.

So enjoy my interview, my discussion, or as we call it, a conversation with Lisa Fabrega, get your notepads out friends, you’re going to need it.

Tobi: Hey, Lisa. Welcome to the Design You podcast. This is going to be a fun and very helpful conversation that we’re going to have today, right?

Lisa: Yes, very necessary.

Tobi: Yes, I’m so glad you’re here. Okay so tell everybody who hasn’t heard of you in my audience, who you are and what you do, before we get into turning you into the very best friend.

Lisa: So I am Lisa Fabrega, I am a leadership coach. And what I help people do is to expand their capacity so that they can hold, handle and receive their next level of growth, of wealth, of success impact whatever they want.

Tobi: So good. Okay, so speaking of capacity, we’ve got a lot of people right now who are hitting capacity in a lot of ways. In fact they’re frustrated because they thought they had their life figured out, at least to a degree. And then all of a sudden thanks to Covid and other things they had to start throwing a lot of other hats on their head and in their life. And so I would say almost every human on the planet right now is feeling like they’re at their capacity.

So speak to that a little bit. Talk to us just about what you mean by capacity, if that’s what you’re talking about and then we’ll go into sort of not just in crisis but in growth, how we start to look at capacity.

Lisa: Yeah. So I want to say that I completely agree with you, I feel like this year in particular, I always say to my audience that, “It’s revealed all of our capacity weak spots.” The places that we’ve been avoiding or not paying attention to, or leaving till later, it’s all blown up in our face, and the places we’ve been able to coast, we can’t coast anymore. And it seems like these times are requiring so much more capacity of us, especially if we’re in leadership positions or we own businesses, or we impact other people.

People are just so despaired, and freaked out, and at capacity right now that they are looking to people who will have the capacity to help them feel better and find better solutions. And so it’s demanding more of us as leaders too. So for me, honestly, my business has been doing extremely well this year, it does well every year, but better than ever because this is what this work is made for is to get us through whenever crises hit.

And crises, that’s life, whether it’s a pandemic, or something happening in your personal life, or something happening in your business, or with a client. That’s always going to be happening, so how do we build the ability to handle that stuff? But it’s not just the bad stuff, because sometimes we put these strategies in place, or we hire this business coach or whatever to grow. And we implement the strategy and suddenly we get all this big rush of clients coming, or we make triple our income. And then do we have the capacity to handle that?

Because I have worked with people who went from 300,000 to a million in less than a year and were completely breaking down, the team kept quitting, they had major anxiety issues, couldn’t handle all of the abundance and all of the good stuff coming their way.

So that’s what I mean by capacity is, you know, I love to use the metaphor which I was just talking to you about, that you were telling me you were in the audience of this amazing preacher that spoke on Oprah’s stage a while ago and he was talking about the difference between a pint sized person and a gallon sized person.

And I always say, “Well, if what you – the thing you’re putting those strategies in place for requires that you receive a gallon. But you only have the capacity of a pint, there’s no way that you’re going to be able to receive all the good stuff, the money, the impact, the success, whatever, that you want if you don’t have the capacity to receive it.” So I feel like we tend to glorify and think that strategy is the end all, be all.

And I think strategy is extremely important. We don’t leave it to the wayside. But what we need is strategy that’s supported by a really strong foundation of capacity to hold what the strategies are going to bring into our lives.

Tobi: Yeah, I love that so much. So, so many things that you’re saying I relate to. Yes, I was absolutely in that audience in Dallas, Oprah on one of her tours. And I’ve used that so many times myself. Well, T.D. Jakes is so powerful and amazing anyway. But what I’m thinking about as you’re talking is a couple of things, one of which I come back to time and again. And that’s the things like strategy, and business tools, and all of those things are external to us.

And I would suspect, I may be wrong, maybe it’s not totally that, but I’m starting to wonder if capacity is more of an inside job. Because so much of what we really skip over, and don’t want to look at, and don’t want to deal with is kind of the internal stuff. And we’re always looking outside of us for the answers, and so it is that true in this case too, because I can imagine whether we’re talking about physical capacity, mental capacity, emotional capacity, so much of that is really an inside job, right?

Lisa: Yeah. So capacity, it is a lot of inside work, but there is some external work to it as well. Like you said, physical capacity, so if you’re a person who – I love using Oprah as an example because, first of all, she is my role model. And second of all, she is a person who I can think of no person busier than her. So I live five minutes from her here in Santa Barbara, and I go by her house all the time. And there’s trucks and stuff constantly going in and out of there.

She’s probably jetting to Chicago to do something, jetting right back on the same day. And I always think how does she manage to do that and still look so wonderful, and happy, and joyful, and not exhausted? And it’s because she has immense capacity. And physically she takes very good care of herself so that in a way that fits her, it’s not about being skinny or any of this other stuff that [crosstalk], you have to find what works for you. But she also has to maintain a physical stamina to continue to achieve her goals.

We also have to maintain emotional stamina, mental stamina, spiritual stamina, so it’s really an outside and an inside job, because there is a lot of inside work.

Tobi: Yeah, I love that. And even the outside manifestation of our physical body is still an inside job because it’s how we think about it. It’s what we put in there. And I love what you said, it’s funny, I’m doing some really – well, I mean it’s not funny, but it’s ironic, or interesting, or related to what you’re saying. I’m doing, and as I think a lot of people are right now some really deep kind of spiritual work. A lot of us feel like we’re going through an awakening in a lot of ways right now.

We’re seeing a ton of stuff about social justice and all the things that are happening in the world besides Covid. And one of the things that I’ve been really reading a lot about is a lot of the cultural things that are put upon us and patriarchal ideas. And I love that you said there, it’s not about taking some model of what some like, you know, maybe somebody that’s not even the same gender as you or something else has decided, or a doctor that says, “You should not eat this, or you should eat this,” or whatever.

It’s literally about you determining what your own capacity is physically, mentally and everything. It’s a personal case by case situation. And I love how you pointed that out because I think a lot of times we’re out looking for the blueprint out in the world of all these places. And then when that particular diet, or program, or business tool, or whatever, doesn’t work for us, we’re like, what’s wrong with me? Am I broken, what’s the problem?

And so I just really like – I wanted to make sure that we didn’t skip over that. I love what you said there, because a lot of people might look at Oprah and be like, “Well, she’s not in perfect health.” But she is for her.

Lisa: Yeah, exactly. I mean she’s radiant; she’s in such great health. And it may not fit some standard, but who made up this standard anyway?

Tobi: Yes, exactly, yes.

Lisa: And whoever those people who made those standards actually didn’t have capacity.

Tobi: Right, that’s beautiful, I love it, because it’s easy to sit behind and tell other people what they should be or do, especially when you’re trying to keep them out of the club, or the group, or the whatever it is that you’re trying to do. So just not to get super political but just to say this is a very personal situation of figuring out your own capacity.

And even pairing that to what you decide you want to do, because it’s not like everybody needs to go out. It’s not like everybody’s supposed to have a million dollar business. It’s not like everybody’s supposed to have 20 employees. It’s not like everybody’s supposed to have three homes or run marathons. We each get to decide what do we want and then how to put the capacity, the appropriate capacity to that goal, or that season in our life or whatever, right?

Lisa: Yeah. I actually, I love that you’re saying this because it’s something I say a lot to my clients is, and I teach this in my work, that each one of us has our own unique, what I call, capacity code. And you’re right, not everybody wants to be Oprah. Some people just want – I have a client right now who’s like, “All I want is this amazing cult following. I want to be like Rocky Horror Picture Show.” I’m like, “Great. So then what do you need to do to expand your capacity to create that for yourself?”

And for some other people it is to create a 100 million dollar huge business. So for each person it’s unique, and different. And we’re all also configured differently, so certain capacities that for you will be easy to expand are harder for me. And there’s one you need to work on that I have got on lock and I’ve got it going well with that. So for every single person it’s a unique configuration.

Tobi: Awesome, I love that. Okay, so let’s talk about this specifically. So if somebody is bumping up against a wall, a ceiling, whatever their terminology is right now. And a lot of people are feeling that way, because so much is changing and has been changing and kind of life as we knew it is not like we knew it anymore. And I agree with you that coronavirus or anything that’s happening, the recession, anything in the world right now didn’t create these problems, it did just reveal it.

I’ve said this to so many people, coronavirus did not break our business. It’s like putting our business through the x-ray machine and seeing what was already broken. And so when we get kind of in a certain scenario like we’re in right now, it really, really does shine a light on those places that are not working for us. And so that’s what this is about with capacity. So if we didn’t know it was capacity, we’re like, “I must need a new x,” fill in the blank. And you’re saying, no, maybe it’s just capacity. How do we start to determine if that is true for us?

Lisa: Yeah. Well, the way you determine whether you have a capacity issue, I have whole quizzes for this. But I can say if we want to keep it short for this talk that we’re having, you need to look at where you keep trying things and it’s not working. So if you just keep trying different things for a particular issue and it’s not working, or it’s recurring, or it keeps coming back around in different ways. Something’s up there, and it’s not about the strategy you’re applying.

A perfect example is when this first broke out; there is a woman who had been wanting to work with me. And I could tell she wasn’t ready yet. I always can tell and I’m like, “Take your time, and when you’re ready we’ll talk, because I can’t work with you if you’re not ready.” And when Covid broke out she sent me a message, cancelling our talk, because she had said she was ready, because she needed to spend more on ads because people were dropping out of her program. And I just remembered thinking to myself, okay, you’re not ready yet.

Like you said, if your business suddenly got impacted by this, it’s because there was other stuff you weren’t paying attention to and ready for. Speaking of Oprah, Oprah Magazine just got shut down by Hearst Magazine, because magazine sales had been depending on circumstantial purchases. Like somebody in the airport just grabbing a magazine to have something to read on the plane. And I remember thinking to myself, how can you have been putting all of your success on that one thing to keep the magazine open. That’s a capacity issue with a huge conglomerate.

Tobi: Totally, yeah. Well, and the magazine industry is so broken, which I’ve well known being in the interior design space and being published even by Hearst and all of those companies. And I love what you’re saying. The beautiful thing though is I read that same article, my daughter, and also a huge fan of Oprah. And my daughter came in the other day and she’s like, “Mom, my friend just posted that Oprah Magazine is going out of business.” And I’m like, “What, that can’t be true.”

And I opened it up and I read an article and then I was like, okay, well, this makes perfect sense. But then what the article went on to say is, “O, is not going away, it’s just going to be the digital product.” Which is exactly where it needed to be going anyway, and so like we’re saying, the problem was already there. This just forced them into making a decision quicker. So that’s the kind of thing we’re looking at with capacity. It’s not going to be a surprise, if we are honest with ourselves, we’re like, yes.

I mean if I’m being truthful there’s all these symptoms that keep showing up in my life and we are ignoring them, or trying to have a band-aid on them instead of doing an amputation or something, surgery.

Lisa: Or you keep trying the same things to fix a problem, but that hasn’t fixed it. So that person who’s like, “Well, I just need to go spend more money on ads.” And I remember thinking to myself, okay, do what you’ve got to do, but that’s not going to solve the problem. You’re just going to make it through this crisis and then another crisis is going to come along and you’re going to try to solve it in the way that isn’t really – it’s like you have a deep wound that needs to be cleaned and nicely stitched. And you just keep slapping a band-aid on it, right?

Tobi: Yes, 100%, totally. Okay, so if we’re now going, “Okay, that’s me, I have a capacity issue, maybe I don’t even know what the issue is or what part.” Because I know you have some different categories you have that people even look at. Tell us how then, if we’re like, “Okay, I for sure have one, but I don’t really know what that means, I just know I’m exhausted, I know I’m frustrated. I know I keep having the same thing over, and over, and over again, now what?”

Lisa: So then – that’s a great question. So then you have to identify, okay, what area of capacity is causing this problem? And so I have identified, you know, I’ve been doing this for over a decade, I’ve worked with thousands of people. And you start to see patterns after a while when you work with that many people. And I’ve noticed that there are six particular areas, the first one is money capacity.

So money capacity I define as your ability to earn, save and invest larger and larger amounts of money every year. If you are not doing that there is a money capacity situation going on. If you just keep hitting the same revenue, and it’s not growing, something’s going on with your money capacity.

Tobi: I love this. I can; honestly, we could do the whole podcast just on this one topic. Yes, I’m like tell me all the things, because I’m with you. And even that – the concept, I even use the word ‘capacity’. Developing your capacity to have money, because so many people are just in this constant scarcity, and even if they get their hands on it, just as soon as they get it they’ve already spent it or it’s already out the door. And we’re just not even developing our physical or mental capacity to have money, and like you said. I love that you said create, invest and one other.

Lisa: Earn, save and invest.

Tobi: Yeah, earn, save and invest. And I love to even say create instead of earn, because sometimes earn ends up like dollars for hours. And I love when we talk about money in a way that now I can literally take something of value that came from me. And I can go create money by putting it out in the world, yeah. Okay, so talk to us a little bit more about that.

Lisa: Yeah. So then – so that’s a money capacity issue and I love that you brought that up because I was actually talking with a client a few days ago who has $80,000 sitting in her bank account and she’s freaking out about it. And she feels like she needs to start – let me give this to the tax collector and let me just get it out of there.

And we did a whole exercise where we just sat and looked at the amount in her bank account. And just let all the fear feelings and all the stuff just run through her body and just allow herself to feel it. By the end of the session she was like, “Okay, I feel more comfortable now with the money there.”

But then there’s visibility capacity. That visibility capacity I would say we have a virtual retreat that we do to address this capacity and it always sells out. It’s the most talked about topic I find. Visibility capacity is your ability to allow yourself to be fully seen in your life and in your work. And so how many people, you know, since you’re talking about creatives.

I worked with a woman who very successful, has been on Oprah’s couch actually. And she had this business that had been very successful for many years but was feeling very dissatisfied with it. Now the sales were starting to go down because if you don’t like it, you can’t sell it. And we discovered that she actually had always been an artist since she was a child. It was not reflected anywhere in her work, you would never know this based on her whole brand. And when she started to allow that part of her to be seen in her work, business started booming again.

She started signing 25,000, 30,000 dollar clients and so that’s a great example of how being afraid to be fully seen, hiding parts of yourself, not sharing certain things because you’re embarrassed about being judged. Sometimes those things are actually the most unique and special things to put into your brand, which makes your brand unique. And those are the most lucrative things sometimes, and yet we hide them or we hold back from posting because we don’t want to mess up. Or we don’t want to be seen differently by our family.

And so visibility capacity is huge, so if you are listening and you feel like you are afraid of being fully seen, then there is a visibility capacity issue.

Tobi: That is so good. I would say that is probably – I mean these two, between money and visibility, the two things that I encounter the most with the people that I work with, but especially visibility. And I think again, so much of this is socially and culturally part of who we are and we don’t even know it at our core. I’m from the south, I’m a big bold Enneagram 8 woman from the south who’s been told my whole life to be more ladylike and be quieter and don’t talk so much and don’t make people uncomfortable.

And we’re literally conditioned to be smaller and quieter, and less seen, and less visible. And then we step into the business world and we’re supposed to then become this other version of us and be able and willing to kind of un-brainwash ourselves from all of that. And step right into the fullness and bigness of who we are. And that is not an easy thing to navigate.

Lisa: It’s not, especially for women because we have this in our DNA, being women, of it being dangerous to be powerful. It’s dangerous to be too loud and too big, from what’s happened to women in the past, and sometimes not so distant past, for being very visible.

Tobi: Yeah, and even physically big. Even we were talking about Oprah, it is so in our culture to judge women, not as much men, but especially women if we’re not tiny, and dainty, and quiet. Yet, I’ve thought my whole life, my 20 something years in business, I’ve thought I’m supposed to be a woman in my personal life and a man at work. You know what I mean? Because all the societal characteristics that it takes to run a business, you’re so associated with masculine energy as opposed to kind of our natural tendencies.

And it’s truly that maybe we should become men, we should be our own version of ourselves. But do what you’re saying, be willing to be seen and show up fully as ourselves, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah. And also, it creates problems, if you’re a person that likes to cuss a lot and you’re hiding that when you’re showing up in public, or showing up on a podcast, or whatever. And then people don’t realize you cuss, and you’re attracting clients who don’t really know that you cuss and then you’re going to cuss with them on a session, they’re going to be all offended. So it just really weeds people out if you allow yourself to be fully seen, you start getting the right clients too.

Tobi: Yeah. And I love this so much more than saying being authentic. It’s kind of what people mean by authentic, but that gets to be confusing, and a little fuzzy, and a little buzzwordy. And I love this concept of calling it being fully seen, because I think you’re right. And that’s what we’re talking about, integrating all the parts of yourself and not hiding those. Not just having those kind of in your home behind closed doors. And again, not over-sharing, but showing up fully as ourselves, yeah, so good, so good. Okay, so what’s after visibility?

Lisa: Well, then we have purpose capacity. And an easy way to explain this one is how many people do you know who were told by some business coach or somebody that they should start a business on this, because that’s what will make money? But never stop to ask them, “Is this something that’s really part of your purpose to do this?” And I’ve met so many people like that who are like, “I can’t make money, or I hit a plateau, I can’t make, pass this amount of money.”

And we come to find out the business they have built is not even aligned with their true purpose. So if you’re feeling like your inside isn’t matching your outside, you’ve got a purpose capacity issue.

Tobi: That’s good.

Lisa: And then we have embodiment which is also a very popular one. Money, visibility and embodiment are…

Tobi: I can tell already and I don’t even know what it’s about but I can just imagine, yeah, it’s going to be good.

Lisa: Embodiment is our emotional capacity. It’s our physical, mental, spiritual capacity. So another example I like to use here is what happens to you emotionally when you get a nasty comment from somebody online? Or you share an idea with a loved one, or a friend, or a colleague and they go, “I think that’s a little farfetched.” Notice what happens, do you shrink? Does it throw you off for two weeks and you kind of get held back a little, now you’re afraid to share it? Is it changing your expression?

If a launch that you’re doing is not going so well or it’s stressful, are you having meltdowns to the point where your team wants to quit? All that is part of your embodiment capacity, and so if you’re listening I would just try to score yourself from zero to ten, ten being best, how are you doing in that area? That area is one of the most important capacities to have developed because as we were talking about before, all sorts of things happen to you as you are building and growing a business, and living your purpose.

And there’s always going to be people who disagree. There’s always going to be people who push back. I had a situation two years ago where I had a family member murdered and I was in the middle of a launch. And boy did I have to get my embodiment capacity on point, because I had to keep showing up for my launch. But I also had to fly to my relative’s house and go to the funeral and assist her to clean out her son’s house, who had been murdered. I mean it was a really intense time.

Embodiment capacity got me through it. And so we can’t let every little thing that happens in our life throw us off to where we don’t post something for two weeks or we’re holding back and being meeker now because we’re afraid someone’s going to push back. So that’s embodiment capacity.

Tobi: That’s good. So is it kind of like your personal agency? Just like how you’re showing up, how you’re taking everything in, just to make sure people fully understand it. I hear what you’re saying, but.

Lisa: It’s how you manage your emotions, are you able to handle feeling big emotions from other people or yourself without getting thrown off, without getting thrown of your center? Mentally are you allowing yourself to go down these totally made up what if situations, scenarios that are freaking you out and causing you to make bad decisions in your business or your life?

Tobi: Yes. So if you have a lot of personal drama, not meaning drama with other people, but if you have a lot of personal drama, if you have a lot of unmanaged mindset and a lot of things that are constantly running inside your head that are creating a lot of havoc, that has to do with that whole embodiment piece?

Lisa: Exactly, yeah.

Tobi: Yeah, okay, perfect, got you.

Lisa: Drama.

Tobi: Yes, drama, drama.

Lisa: I can handle the drama. And then we have structural capacity. This one’s often overlooked and it’s very often a culprit that we’re not aware of. So what I call structural capacity are the foundations and structures in your life that hold you up to go to your next level. So that can look like your team, do you have the right team in place? And I’m not talking about the team that got you to where you are. Will you have goals now for where you want to be in two years? Are you building the team now that can take you to where you want to be in two years?

Tobi: Yes, 100%. And don’t you think a lot of people keep, as they grow, the wrong people in way too long because they’re afraid to hurt people’s feelings or be mean, or they don’t want to have what feel is confrontational or whatever? And they keep thinking that it’s possible to build the next level on that, and it’s truly not, it’s not possible at all, yeah.

Lisa: It’s not, and it’s also your home team. It’s not just your business team, because some people listening don’t have a team yet, or they have one person on their team, it doesn’t matter. But what’s going on at home? So for example, a lot of women I work with are still cleaning their houses on Saturday. And I’m like, “What are you doing? Hire somebody; if you can afford it hire somebody to clean your house.” Or they’ll have someone cleaning their house but they’ll tell them – a personal story.

I have a house cleaner, she comes twice a week and that’s just for me by myself, I have someone twice a week because I just want to focus on my work.

And she was doing my laundry for me but I felt bad asking her to put it away, I don’t know why. But I told her, “No, just fold it and I’ll put it away.” And then I was spending a freaking hour putting away my clothes and I stopped and I went, “Why am I doing this? This is such terrible structural capacity.” Wasting an hour twice a week putting away clothes and she’s happy to put it away, I’d rather pay her for that extra hour to put my clothes away.

Or a lot of people don’t ask their partners for help or they don’t ask their children to do their own stuff every once in a while. So it’s like I always say, “Are you building a mansion on a foundation of cardboard.” That is your structural capacity.

Tobi: That’s so good. I can relate. And I also have cleaning people who come twice a week. I do have one child and a husband that lives here with me. But I still – I mean I could have somebody three times a week, plus I have a personal assistant that helps me with a lot of stuff. But I think you’re right. And so many people think they can’t afford that. And again, you may not be able to right now, but back to the money capacity, you’ve got to go create the money to create the structural too.

Because I watch people do this all the time and they’re like, “When I hit to x level, then I will get these people in place.” And it doesn’t work that way. And so when people ask me, how do I get so much stuff done, I mean literally there are a dozen people that are helping me, some in my personal life, some in my work life, and some in other ways, literally to help me run the business and help all the people that I do. And I think people underestimate what that looks like.

We have this wonder woman syndrome and we think we can do all the stuff and we can’t. And we’re shooting ourselves in the foot in so many ways, we’re keeping our businesses small, we’re keeping our life in turmoil when if we would embrace what you’re saying and thinking this makes so much sense. I can’t possibly do all these things, what is the structural capacity to do anything, to start a business, to go next level, like all of it, to have another child, to get married? There’s a structural component to every decision you make, right?

Lisa: Absolutely. And we tend to think of – the mistake most people make, which his similar to the next one we’re going to talk about which is that structure, we tend to think of what are the structures I need right now? No, you need to be thinking what are the structures I need in two years, because those are the ones you need right now. Because otherwise you can’t grow, just like you said, when I get here then I’ll hire the cleaning person for my house. Actually you won’t get there if you don’t hire the cleaning person for your house.

Tobi: Exactly, exactly, yeah.

Lisa: Either/or thinking – if you’re getting the either or, if this then that thinking, I always say that that’s an indicative of a capacity issue.

Tobi: That’s good, so any time you’re thinking either or, if I do this then this?

Lisa: Right, if I have this or that, or if I do this then I will do that. Or when I do this then I’ll do that. If you’re thinking in that black and white kind of thinking instead of both and, then you’ve got some sort of capacity stuff going on there.

Tobi: That is so clear to me because I think the difference I notice in myself a lot of times that I see other people frustrated about or they’re hitting capacity is – I don’t know of it’s a habit, probably a habit I’ve developed maybe it’s somewhat personality type. But as opposed to telling myself no about something I want to do, I’m always willing to hire the capacity or the people to do it. I don’t naturally think, well, I just have to. Not that I’ve not been guilty of overworking, have. But I don’t naturally just think, well, I’ll just work more hours, or I’ll just do this.

I have, or at least I’m in a place now where I’m like, cool, we want to do this other thing, how many people, or how much money, or what is that going to take to achieve it? And I think that’s the missing piece of that conversation you’re talking about, because people either try to do it themselves and fail. Or they think I just can’t do it right now. But there’s actually a third option which is I could figure out how to invest in, afford, hire the capacity. Especially if it’s something that’s got a return on investment that could pay for itself, right?

Lisa: Yeah, exactly. That’s the thing, if you hire good people, then they pay for themselves almost automatically. So for me it’s a no brainer to have certain people on my team that I’m paying a lot of money to because what they’re taking off my plate and what my hourly rate is, there’s no comparison.

Tobi: Right, totally, they may cost you – I don’t know – $60 an hour, 40, 100, but if you’re charging 2, 3, 5, 10 times that, depending on how you’re working, of course the math it’s so clear. And a lot of people aren’t even doing the math, they just immediately go to the headspace of I can’t afford that or that won’t work for me.

Lisa: That’s money capacity. That’s the thing about capacities that they intertwine, so money capacity issue could be affecting your structural capacity as well.

Tobi: Totally, yeah, all of them, I can see how they’re so intertwined. Okay, and then there’s one more, right?

Lisa: The last one which is also a big topic, boundary capacity. So I talk about boundary capacity in a little bit of a counterintuitive way, which is that a lot of people think that boundaries are about like those boundaries we set with other people. But we forget to look at the boundaries we set with ourselves. We’ll have great boundaries with other people but then we allow ourselves to say horrible things to ourselves and don’t go, “Hey, stop that.” Or like I said before, we’ll allow ourselves to go on these rabbit holes of thought and spend three days stressing out instead of going, “Stop it.”

I’m not going down that road. I’m going to focus on what’s in front of me. But a lot, especially with women, I find that boundaries is a big issue. And not having the right boundaries can drain so much life, energy and power out of your life, your work, how you’re showing up. And then you might start showing up as defensive because you’re like, because you’ve had so many boundary violations you’re now like knee jerk reaction and you can sour some business relationships.

And so similar to structures what I always tell people about boundary capacity is, “The woman that you want to be, or the person that you want to be in a year or two, what are their boundaries?”

Tobi: I love that, the future version of myself.

Lisa: Right, those are the boundaries you need now.

Tobi: Yeah, that’s good. And as you were saying that, what comes up a lot for the people, and I’m sure it did for me too until I did the work, and then for the people that I work with a lot in the realm of boundaries. Is sort of the opposite of boundaries, people try to accommodate that or to mitigate that with people pleasing. And I think it’s interesting, I just had a great conversation with a client this week. And the interesting thing about people pleasing is we think that we just have no boundaries and we’re giving ourselves to everybody else, and sometimes that’s the case.

But what I find is more often than not people pleasing is a way we’re trying to manipulate other people to get what we want, instead of just having the courage to set the boundary and to say, “Here’s the boundary.” Whether you’re admitting it to yourself or someone else, it is not that you have to go tell everybody necessarily. But I think that’s real interesting. So do you find that too, that people pleasing fits into this kind of boundary capacity issue?

Lisa: Yes, I think you bring up a really good point because one of the things about boundaries is also setting expectations. So what you’re saying about people pleasing, people are afraid to voice how they want things to go and what they want because they’re trying to be very people pleasing.

Tobi: Yeah, palatable, acceptable, not get rejected, all those things we do, yeah.

Lisa: Exactly. And what ends up happening is then there’s nothing worse than having to set a boundary after the fact, I hate it. That’s why whenever I enter into any type of relationship, whether it be business, whatever, I’m super clear in setting my expectations, what I expect out of this relationship. What I’m expecting to receive or blah, I’m not talking about being friends with somebody. But a contract, a colleague relationship, someone who wants to work with you on this. My contract is incredibly clear to the point, especially my one-on-one clients, they can text me.

It literally says you can text me Monday through Thursday from eleven to six. That way if you text me before or after, I’m not answering. And you have zero right to be angry because it’s right, the expectations were set. So it’s actually really wonderful when we enter into containers and relationships that way because then we don’t have to reiterate a boundary in a tense moment because everybody goes in with their eyes wide open and they’re very clear on what you will and won’t do, what you are and aren’t available for.

And if they do complain it’s so much less emotional labor on your part because all you have to do is refer back to the original agreement that you both made about what the expectations were. So to me that’s part of boundaries is setting the expectation which is a form of a boundary, letting people know what your boundary is upfront, so that you don’t have to then reactively set a boundary, which is the worst, it’s the worst.

Tobi: Well, I love what you’re saying about that too, and I haven’t ever heard it said that way. And I think, I know you said it’s like not necessarily with a best friend or that kind of thing. But even when I’m thinking about boundaries with yourself, that really resonates with me because I think a lot of times when people don’t set boundaries, it’s because they’re trying to avoid discomfort in the moment.

But what you’re saying, and I think you’re so right is that the alternative is to wait until something’s really painful and has gone really wrong and is your kind of potentially your worst nightmare of what could happen. And then you have to not only go through the pain and suffering, you also then have to go ahead and set the boundary that you could have set to begin with. So I love thinking of this, this way to give people courage that are afraid to set boundaries to go, “Well, it’s kind of scary now, but what will be really scary is if I don’t do it.”

Because even thinking about with ourselves, if we’re waiting and to not set a boundary, what are the costs and the consequences that are going to be showing up when I finally get to the point that it’s so painful that okay, I’ll set a boundary? And this is the way to avoid some of that, not that we can avoid pain and suffering in our life, but it is a way to not make life harder than it has to be really.

Lisa: Yes. I mean I could tell you a perfect story that happened to me two years ago. There was a guy I was kind of interested in and we were talking back and forth. And I told him from the beginning in our conversation, “I’m one of those people, I’m very direct. I’m not going to play games. I’m not going to wait three days to text you. If I’m available to text you I’m texting you.”

Tobi: Right. You’re my kind of girl, that’s exactly how I work. I mean I’m married now but that’s how I worked back in the day when I was dating my husband. I’m like all of those games, yeah.

Lisa: Yeah, it’s like you’re thinking when, I don’t have time for that. And if I tell you I’m going to show up here at this time I’m going to show up there at this time. That’s how I am. That’s how I do my relationships, all my relationships. That’s my preference. But some people don’t do relationship like that and so you have to be clear with yourself, are you available for that? I’m not available for that. So I tend to not make friends or date people who will drop off the face of the Earth for two weeks and you haven’t heard from them. That doesn’t work for me.

Tobi: Me either.

Lisa: And so I told him that and sure enough after a time of texting back and forth and talking he drops off the face of the Earth for three weeks. Three weeks, I heard nothing, nothing. And I thought, well, I’m done.

Tobi: See you.

Lisa: That’s not from a place of anger or anything; it was just sort of like okay. So then he comes back and he’s texting me, “Let’s hangout again.” And I said, “You know, no.” I said, “You are a different person than I am. This is what I’m looking for out of my relationships, people to be present and show up with the same percentage with which I can show up. And you seem to be in a place in your life where you can’t do that. And that’s okay. You shouldn’t feel bad about that. You should go find somebody who’s totally fine with that form of communicating. It just doesn’t work for me.”

Tobi: That’s so good.

Lisa: And as I had communicated that to him from the beginning, reasserting that didn’t feel so scary or hard because he already knew it. So it’s really for you, honestly, because after that I was like I feel good about this.

Tobi: Well, and to me one of the biggest compliments, and I bet you would think so too, I can think of a handful of other women that I really admire that feel this way. One of the biggest compliments to me is that people find me consistent. And that I’m not all over, they’re like, “Well, I shouldn’t be surprised because she’s pretty much always – she says it like that’s how it is.” And I love that, because like you said, then you know exactly what you’re dealing with because it’s just impossible to impact anything.

Any of these six areas we’ve talked about, that’s just having integrity with yourself, to me, which is so important in any of these conversations or areas that we’re going to assess, right?

Lisa: And you have to trust, that’s the thing, what you said is really important; because a lot of the time what we have a problem with is that we don’t trust ourselves. We don’t trust ourselves because we haven’t had integrity with ourselves and we go against our hunches and what we really want or don’t say what we really want. And the more you say what you want and do it, the more trust you build with yourself and the better you are at actually making business decisions and life decisions that serve you. So it’s also about building trust with yourself.

Tobi: I love that and I also would guess, because I know, when I think about myself this would be true for me in this discussion of capacity. The more you are that way in integrity with yourself, the more you’re going to notice when you’re bumping up against something that it is capacity, because it’s not going to be the other things, because you’re in alignment and you’re kind of integrated with who you are. And so then if you’re bumping up against something, I think it’s going to be easier to see, this is capacity, which area.

I think this so commonsense, I love it so much, I mean I want more, I want more. So if everybody else wants more of this conversation, how do they get more of this conversation, because you really are speaking my language right now?

Lisa: Thanks, yeah. Well, I love that you said commonsense because I love commonsense and to me this is very commonsense.

Tobi: Yes.

Lisa: So you can – there’s – I love that you call it conversation because I have a whole video series that is free called The Capacity Conversations. If you go to my website at lisafabrega.com, if you just sign up for the newsletter you will start getting those videos. And we go really deep into each one of the capacities. And it also allows you to identify what is my real issue. I think it’s a visibility issue, but when you watch the videos you’ll go, “Actually it’s not a visibility issue, it’s a money issue, or it’s an embodiment issue.” So if you sign up there you can get all those videos for free.

Tobi: And as you’re saying that I’m like a lot of people are going to be like, “I’ve got all the issues, every issue.”

Lisa: Yeah. People feel like oh God, I’ve got all of them, but that’s because they’re all intertwined. And when you move one the other one moves. So don’t get despaired.

Tobi: That’s what I was going to say, to not be overwhelmed, you just pick one, maybe the one that feels the most pressing and you just start there. And like with anything else just starting to kind of peeling away some of the issues and getting it in place and then the other things will – or probably a lot of it will be alleviated even just by being intentional about any one of these areas, right?

Lisa: Exactly. As soon as you start working on one the other one starts to improve because they’re all like interwoven fabric with each other.

Tobi: So good, Okay, everybody, run over, I know you’re already there, you’ve stopped listening and you’re already on the computer signing up for her conversation. I know you are, but if you’re not, if you’re in the car, when you get next to your computer or phone again, for sure go really get into this conversation with Lisa. And wow, I thank you so much, this was so good. It’s so fun to me when I have people, and I’ve had this a lot lately, women especially on the podcast that I feel super connected to and I’m like I want to talk to her some more, I will be.

You’re going to be like, “No, I don’t have capacity for you Tobi, go away.”

Lisa: I’ve got lots of capacity.

Tobi: But I can tell, I want to know you more and this is more because this is just really, really fascinating and I relate to it so much. So, thank you so much for sharing this information, it’s so timely, it’s much needed right now and I know you’re going to impact a lot of our listeners with this information, so thank you.

Lisa: Thank you.

Okay, so head over and get on Lisa’s list as she said so you can get all the conversation and the description and all the things about these six types of capacity, so you can start to really see where you need to do the work in your own life. I’m already heading over. I mean the moment I stop recording in two seconds from now, I am going to be on Lisa’s website. I know you’re going to be on there too.

And she told me that she loves to hangout on Instagram as I do. So if you also want to connect with her in her DMs, head over to Instagram and find Lisa there, I know she would love to hear from you and hear what you think about this episode.

And I’ll see you again guys really soon, or ladies, you’re mostly ladies. I’ll see you soon next week with another episode of The Design You Podcast. Bye for now.

Thank you so much for listening to the Design You podcast, and if you are ready to dig deep and do the important work we talk about here on the podcast of transforming your mindset and creating a scalable online business model, there has never been a more important time than right now. So join me and the incredible creative entrepreneurs in my Design You coaching program today. You can get all the details at TobiFairley.com.

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Hi! I'm Tobi

I help creative women (and a few really progressive dudes) design profit-generating, soul-fulfilling businesses that let them own their schedule, upgrade their life and feel more alive than ever!

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