We all have a limited capacity in our life. We get to chose what we create space for and what we do not.
In this episode, my guest, Melanie Sodka, shares her Capacity Creator framework in order to help high achieving women move from over-commitment to thriving in their daily lives. We also discuss how to create more capacity and why you must choose carefully from life’s “buffet of opportunities.”
Join the Free Workshop to Overcome Overwhelm
Before we can discuss capacity, we have to start at the beginning. And for some of you, that starts with the fact that you feel completely overwhelmed every single day.
The good news is, you don’t have to stay in that space. I want to invite you to join me in my FREE workshop “2 Steps to Overcoming Overwhelm.”
This is an interactive workshop and is designed to help you overcome the feelings of overwhelm. I hope you’ll join me!
Creating the Cure
Melanie Sodka is the founder of Capacity Creator Corp., an education and consulting company that transforms high achieving individuals from over-commitment and overwhelm, to thriving in their current environments.
An award-winning Professor and Entrepreneur and TEDx speaker, Melanie is also pursuing her dream of writing a book where she shares true stories and a suite of tools, including her very own Egocake™ Framework, intended to guide people through the discovery of their personal capacity and ultimately how to respect it.
Melanie began speaking into this area of our lives after her doctor told her she needed to quit everything and recover from her own burnout.
As she lay in bed, she decided that instead of copping out and calling it recovery, she was going to create something that would help not only herself but also others who were suffering from burnout.
*Melanie got very vulnerable in the episode and shared what led her to massive burnout which her doctor suggested required at least a month in bed to recover from. Listen in to see if you can identify with the things Melanie was struggling with.
Saying Yes Means Saying No
After going through her massive case of burnout, Melanie began creating her courses. Her goal was to teach women, (and men) 2 things:
- The ability to say yes with discernment
- The ability to say no without guilt
It is crucial for all of us to learn that when we say yes to one thing, we are saying no to something else. I had to learn that lesson myself during a period where I was experiencing burnout.
The book, The Best Yes, by Lysa TerKeurst, helped me tremendously to identify what I was saying no to by saying yes to other things.
One of the ways we make ourselves feel better when we are at or beyond our own capacity is volunteering others.
When Melanie was asked to do something but she didn’t have the capacity, she would volunteer her husband. Here she was, at capacity and on the verge of burnout but she had no problem adding to his plate, without even checking with him first.
Life Is Like a Dessert Buffet; Are You Enjoying Any Of It?
Melanie has created a resource to help you figure out what state of capacity you’re operating in, so be sure to go to her website to get that.
Once you have that knowledge under your belt, the next step is to work through a framework that Melanie designed called the EgoCake.
This cake helps you to deconstruct the layers of commitment and distraction in your life and helps you decide what you need to resign from.
Melanie found herself overcommitted, indulging in every opportunity that presented itself, and not enjoying a single thing. She knew something needed to change, and that’s when she created the 5 layers of the EgoCake.
The EgoCake’s Layers
Just like a real cake, Melanie begins with the bottom layer and builds upward.
- Options. The bottom layer contains all the options. The problem is that too many options lead to stagnation and the inability to make decisions due to analysis paralysis.
- Distraction. We all know that distraction is the death of productivity and creativity. We simply can’t do our best work when we’re constantly distracted.
- Resignment. This layer is yummy because it’s where sh*t happens. This is where people resign from the things that are no longer serving them. You aren’t quitting your job; this is about resigning from commitments that truly aren’t serving you anymore.
- Awareness. Now that you aren’t doing the things that suck the joy out of life, you have a new-found awareness of what brings you joy. You choose the things that you actually want to do.
- Commitment. This layer is the icing on top of the cake. This is the ability to make a wholehearted commitment to the thing that totally lights you up.
What Does This Have to Do with Health?
If you’re wondering what this discussion has to do with losing weight or regaining your health, it has everything to do with it.
In my work with women, I have seen time and time again that food is never the issue.
The issue with women is that we are so overcommitted and overwhelmed that the thought of adding anything, even if it’s something meant to help us care for ourselves better, is just too much.
When we are so overcommitted and our capacity is stretched too thin, we can’t figure out how to get off the hamster wheel to actually change anything. But it requires getting off the hamster wheel to move forward.
I actually have a client who was presenting with cardiac issues but the doctors were unable to pinpoint an issue. I firmly believe that her symptoms were simply a manifestation of her overcommitment and lack of capacity in her life to take care of herself.
We have to push pause on the things that take over our lives so that we can get clarity on the things that matter most and that will help us move forward.
Why Multitasking Is So Dangerous
We wear the badge of being a great multitasker in this culture like it’s a prize. But multitasking is super damaging for the body.
When we do too much, our cortisone levels rise and stay at dangerously high levels, which breaks down the literal tissues of our body. We literally get to the point that our bodies can’t do all the things anymore.
We get addicted to notifications, to the next task, to the adrenaline that is released when we move from one thing to the next.
Another issue is that when kids see their parents living this type of lifestyle, they feel the pressure to live it as well. We are passing burnout right down to our own children.
Tips for Increased Capacity
It’s all well and good to listen to a podcast or read an article and agree with what’s being said. And I am glad you are listening and reading!
But if all we do is listen and read, nothing changes. We need to know what to do this afternoon or tomorrow morning to actually begin to make the changes necessary for our life and health.
- For every yes you give, there is a no attached. You have to figure out the balance that you can maintain without entering burnout.
Melanie gave us an incredibly helpful way to identify and measure our capacity. A way to name all the things we have to do or have said yes to. *Listen in at 24:00 to do this amazing exercise for yourself!
She also suggests taking a look at the top 3 roles you play in your life. Not the 10 total roles; just the top 3.
How are you honoring those roles? If you listed them as your top 3, they are roles you have deemed a higher priority, at least mentally.
The question then becomes, what honor are you giving to those roles? And what do you need to resign from or say no to in order to give those roles the honor they deserve?
Like me, your #4-6 might be things like friendship or something similar. It’s not that friendship isn’t important to me, but it’s not in my top 3.
So, as I move throughout my day, if I start feeling bad because I haven’t had a girls’ night out in weeks or months, I stop and reassess where that activity is in my top 3 priorities and then I refocus on what I have already decided is most important to me in this stage of life.
If friendships are #2 on your list, that’s awesome! We each have to decide what our top priorities are and live accordingly.
The problem is when we just continue trying to add more and more priorities. That is the antithesis of priorities. When we try to do everything, we don’t prioritize anything. The more we say no, the more we can say yes to what truly matters to us.
There may be many layers of this onion that you have to peel back before you get to all the root causes. If you don’t know where to start, I am here to help.
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