When I first heard this quote on episode 14 of my friend’s podcast (shoutout to Analiza Quiroz Wolf and Boss Mamas - now rebranded as Women of Color Rise), I remember thinking, “Hmm, I like that.” I typed it into my ongoing google to-do list of scattered thoughts and interesting takeaways to revisit at a later date. It got buried for months amidst other noteworthy ideas from podcasts I listened to or books I read or articles I skimmed, and I forgot all about it.
That is, until late December when I set aside time to reflect on the past year and set my intention for the new year. Although I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, I do carve out space to consider what one word or phrase will support me in orienting my energy and focus in all aspects of my life in a desired direction. It was then that this mantra shot right to the surface and hit me squarely in the kishkes. Lean into truth, not capacity. It was almost as if it was just resting quietly on a shelf or, if I’m going to think of the universe more conspiratorially, lurking behind a corner just out of sight waiting until I was ready. I knew immediately that this was what I needed my intention to be for 2023.
Even though it’s only been a few weeks (OK, days) into the new year, I do feel like this mantra has been helping me to stay grounded and make decisions rooted in integrity instead of from a place of expectations, shoulds, and scarcity in a variety of situations. For example:
Do I want to volunteer for more committees at my kids’ school? I have the capacity to say yes given that I make my own schedule, but if I’m really being honest with myself, I’m content with the extent of my involvement right now and am enjoying this current work/life rhythm. Maybe I’ll reassess next year.
Do I want to have a bedtime snack? I certainly have the capacity to eat more food, but, if I pause and check in with myself, the truth is that I’m not actually hungry. I’ll have some hot mint tea instead.
Do I want to train for a marathon this spring? Well, I know now that I can run a marathon, but the truth is that I’m pretty sure it would burn me out if I pushed through another intense training cycle right now. Instead, I’m going to sign up for a half-marathon and some other shorter races this spring to keep up my fitness level and momentum. Perhaps I’ll consider a fall race if I’m still feeling good in a few months.
Do I want to speak up/apologize/have that difficult and uncomfortable conversation with a friend, colleague, or loved one? I have the capacity to suck it up and push it down which is what I may be used to doing in the past, but the truth is that this isn’t sitting right with me and I need to say something in order to live in alignment with my values.
Do I take on a new project that isn’t really in-sync with my personal priorities, target demographic, or business goals, but may bring in extra income? OK, so this one is hypothetical, layered, and certainly bumps up against aspects of privilege, but it's been on my mind as I try on this new mantra and think about what circumstances would make it more challenging to lean into truth. Or, said a different way, which factors make it enticing to lean into capacity? I hope if I’m faced with this situation that the answer would be “I could add this to my portfolio, but I also need to be honest with myself that the time and energy I spend on this project takes me away from pursuing other potential opportunities that could be more meaningful, fulfilling, and income-generating. I don't think it's worth the tradeoff."
It's going to be an ongoing experiment, but I'm excited to see how this mantra shifts my mindset and informs my decision-making in the year ahead. I would also love to hear how and why “Lean into truth, not capacity” resonates with you!
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