You are listening to The Sigrun Show, episode number 386. In this episode, I talk to Lisa Fabrega about how it’s not your strategy, it’s your capacity.
Welcome to The Sigrun Show. I’m your host, Sigrun, creator of SOMBA, the MBA program for online entrepreneurs. With each episode, I’ll share with you inspiring case studies and interviews to help you achieve your dreams and turn your passion into profits. Thank you for spending time with me today. Building an online business takes time. I share with you proven strategies to help you get there faster. You’ll also learn how to master your mindset, up level your marketing, and succeed with masterminds.
Today, I speak with Lisa Fabrega, a leadership expert who helps women expand their capacity to handle more growth, wealth, and success. Lisa enables her clients to reach the highest level of success and impact, and has worked with Oscar nominees, seven figure business owners, and corporate leaders. In this episode, we talk about how it’s not your strategy, it’s your capacity that leads you to success.
Before we dive in, I want to remind you that the doors to SOMBA are open until tomorrow. You know that now more than ever is the time to take your business online, but you don’t know where and how to get started. SOMBA is the only comprehensive 12-month program providing you the support you need to start to scale your online business. You get a whole year of support and training that shows you, step by step, how to generate results in your service based online business. Go to the show notes at sigrun.com/386, where you can find a link to more information about SOMBA, plus all the links to Lisa Fabrega.
I’m so excited to be here with Lisa Fabrega to talk about it is not your strategy, it’s your capacity. Lisa, welcome on the show.
Thank you, I’m thrilled to be here.
So before we dive into the topic Lisa, can you tell the audience a bit about yourself? And also, how did you become a leadership expert, and dive into this topic of what we’re going to actually discuss later on?
I started my business a little bit before 2010, and when I started I was a health coach, actually. Quickly, I realized that I wasn’t talking to my clients about their food, I was talking about all the other things that were causing the food habits for them. Little by little, I started to notice that more entrepreneurs and business owners were coming to work with me, because of the inner work that I was doing with them. And I got to a point, in 2014, where my business, it was exploding so fast, I had wait lists for my wait lists. It was almost overwhelming for me, I couldn’t handle all the people coming in.
So I got to the end of 2014, and I felt a little bit burned out, and the burn out caused me to make some stupid decisions. I’m just going to be honest about it, because I was misdiagnosing my problem. I thought I had a strategy problem, I thought it was a business model problem, and it’s what a lot of experts were telling me was the problem. So, I listened to a lot of those experts, which were very well meaning, and I think that would have worked great for somebody else. But come 2015, I decided to change my business model, make it more of a one to many, when before I had always been a high end, small group, super privileged, you could only get in if you apply kind of business.
Anyway, long story short, 2015, I ended up implementing a $97 program with a funnel, and thinking that was going to solve my problems that I was having with the overwhelm, and we ended up going $100,000 into business debt trying to do that. It was one of the most stressful years of my life, I did not understand why that was happening. I thought the strategies were going to guarantee me the results that I wanted, and they didn’t. And I got to the end of that year, and I realized a few things.
I realized, number one, that I had not been listening to my inner intuition, which is what had made my business so successful from the beginning. My instincts, my intuition, my inner knowing about where things needed to go, and how things needed to be in my business, I had completely abdicated it to experts who had strategies that they promised would solve my problems.
The other thing was that I realized that the reason I was burned out in 2014 is not because I had a business model problem, it’s not because I didn’t have the right team, although, I did need to upgrade my team. It was more that I didn’t have the capacity to receive all that came my way in 2014. And it happened so fast, and so much came at me, and I ended up making some self-sabotaging decisions as a result, because I didn’t know how to handle it all. So it’s like when those lottery winners win 100s of millions of dollars, and then within five years they have spent it all, and they’re broke. That’s because they didn’t have the capacity to change their setpoint of how much money they could hold, handle, and receive.
And so I started to realize that, in 2015, after that crash. It took a huge crash to realize it, and slowly I started actually working on my capacities. On my money capacity, on my capacity to be fully seen. Am I hiding any parts of me in my business? And I just went through that slowly, and I was able to recover from that year, and continue to build a thriving business beyond that.
So that is really what became my rallying cry, because I have so many female entrepreneurs who come to me and say, “I don’t know why, I just can’t go above $200,000 in revenue, and I just keep trying everything, and it just gets stuck there.” Or, “I don’t know why I keep having this problem with my team.” Or, “Why do I keep getting burned out every year, no matter what different business model I try?” It’s never the business model, it’s hardly ever the strategy, because they’re smart women, they know all the strategies. It’s more of an internal capacity to hold, handle, and receive that.
So explain a little bit, capacity? Because you say capacity can be in different areas, what do you mean with capacity? Is it a container?
Yes. Yes, it’s a container. I break it up into six different capacities. There’s money capacity, so are you able to continuously grow, save, earn, and invest your money, year after year? If you’re not doing that, there’s something going on with your money capacity.
There’s visibility capacity, which is allowing yourself to be fulling seen. I have a lot of women who come to work with me, who are hiding very important and unique parts of themselves from their branding because they think they have to look a certain way. And then, the minute they let that part of them out, and let themselves be fully seen. I’ve seen women go from having an event every year that sells 80 tickets, to having the same event sell 250 tickets, the minute they allow those parts of themselves to be seen in their branding and their work.
And then there’s other things, like your boundaries. A lot of people operate under the assumption that the boundaries we have right now are what’s going to work to move us forward into our next level. But actually, what we need to be working on is boundaries that we want in five years need to be happening right now, so that we’re building the foundation, the container, to be able to manage all those influxes of request. Because the more visible you become, and the more your business grows, the more people have demands on your time, and want things from you, and that’s how we get drained, and burned out, and overwhelmed.
Capacity can also look like what I call embodiment capacity, which is sometimes we have a set of beliefs that are influencing our actions, and we’re not even aware of it. Like my client who couldn’t go above 200,000, when I had a session with her, we realized that when she was a child, her mother always earned more than her father, and when the mother got promoted and started making 200,000 a year, the father left the family. So inside of her, completely unknown to her, she was operating from this belief that if she made more than $200,000, she’d lose her partner, or she would lose the love in her family. So every time she would get close to going over that 200,000, subconsciously, completely in her blind spot, she would start making decisions that would suddenly start to lower the revenue and keep her at that plateau.
So that’s what I mean by capacity, and the way I like to describe it is if you want to receive a gallon of abundance, you can’t fit a gallon of abundance into a pint size container. You have to upgrade to a gallon container, so that’s what capacity work does. It allows you to upgrade, so that you can receive the thing that your strategies are supposed to set you up to receive.
So how does one expand this container?
Yeah. There’s lots of ways. I’ve obviously been doing this for 10 years now, so I have a whole framework of how you can do it. But, I break the capacity down into six, and we covered some of them already. There’s money, there’s visibility, there’s your purpose.
Purpose is making sure that your purpose inside is matching the outside. So, do you have a business that’s completely out of alignment with what you’re actually meant to do because somebody told you it would make money? That’s a purpose capacity issue.
Then there’s embodiment capacity, which is your emotional capacity. Do you hide if somebody makes a troll comment on your Facebook post, or says something mean? Does that make you want to hold back, and you lose momentum in your business because it makes you shut down? Do you have the right structures?
That’s a really huge one, structural capacity. A lot of people are building businesses on what I call cardboard foundation, they don’t have the right teams in their businesses and in their lives to really support where they’re going. They might have a team that’s supported where they got to now, but they don’t have the team they need to move forward. I don’t just mean business wise, I mean little things like in your home. Are people helping you out in your home? You might need to hire a house cleaner, you might need to hire someone to help you watch your kids. So structural capacity is really big. And then, there’s boundary capacity.
The reason I mentioned all these capacities is I have a series of exercises I walk my clients through, where they assess where they are in each one of those capacities. When we start to focus on each of those areas and go, “I’m not doing well in that area, I need to grow this area. Yeah, that’s actually the problem, over here. It wasn’t my money capacity, it was actually my structural capacity, it was the structures I have are blocking me from making money in my business.” That’s how we start, we start assessing where we are, and where the real problem is.
Then, underneath each capacity, there are things we can do to unlock more capacity in each area, which would take me an hour to explain. But, the first step is getting very honest with yourself about where you’re struggling in those six areas, because 99% of solving the problem is diagnosing it correctly.
So if there would be just one tip to understand each area a little bit better, could you take us to get to that point? Where we understand, oh I think it’s this area that is my problem.
Absolutely, I love this question.
Money wise, let’s talk money, huge topic for everybody. Money capacity, like I mentioned before, if you are noticing that you are not continuously able to grow your investments, to grow your earning, to grow your revenue in your company, year after year, and you’re hitting plateaus. Or, weird things happen with money, like maybe you hire somebody that costs too much money and they ended up draining your resources, when you could have hired better. All of those things, if you’re having any issues in that area, or you’re noticing that you’re not able to continuously grow and that you’re plateauing, that’s a little red flag there’s a money capacity issue happening.
And then, there’s visibility capacity, which is what we mentioned before. Be honest with yourself. Are there parts of you that you’re hiding from your work because you’re afraid of how people will react? Do you think people will unsubscribe, and hate you, and not want to follow you anymore if you let those parts of you out? That’s a big part of attracting aligned clients. If you’re a person who likes to say cuss words when you talk but you never do it in your branding, and then a client comes in and is offended because you cussed in a session with them, then there’s a visibility capacity issue going on there. So I would ask you, are there parts of you that you’re hiding? Be honest with yourself, because those parts you’re hiding are often the ones that make you the most money in your business, and then you’re holding that back.
For purpose, I would say be honest with yourself. Do you really feel that what you are meant to do on this Earth with your work is fully reflected in the work you’re doing? A great story I have is I had a client who had a million follower business, which this was about five years ago and that was a huge deal back then. I mean, it was a very successful business, she was on every podcast, all the stages talking about it, and she wasn’t in alignment with it anymore. She wanted to start her own brand and leave the partnership, and that was a purpose capacity issue, and she was holding back for years, staying in a partnership she didn’t feel aligned in. And it was starting to affect her earning, it was starting to affect her satisfaction with her work, and so on, and so forth. So does your inside match your outside?
Then I would ask you, embodiment capacity wise, a good question to assess yourself and where you are here is how emotionally affected are you by difficult clients, nasty comments, pushback? Maybe you speak out about something and another industry leader disagrees with you, how does that affect you emotionally? We really underestimate how much our emotions can affect our growth in our business, because you easily get thrown off, or hurt, or embarrassed, or ashamed, and it knocks you off your momentum for a few weeks. Or, it causes you to start hiding just a little bit in your work. That is going to affect your revenue longterm, it’s going to affect your business longterm. So ask yourself, where do you think you stand in terms of do I have the capacity … the bigger I get, do I have the capacity to receive the criticism that is just going to come, because it’s just a part of being visible? And, can I handle it?
The next question, if we want to look at your structural capacity, I would ask you do you have the foundations and the structures? When I say foundations and structures, I mean your team at work, whether it be one VA, or it be five people, it doesn’t matter what size business you have. Maybe it’s zero, and by asking yourself this question you realize you have to hire a VA, right? So do you have the foundations and the structures, right now, in place that you will need five years from now? So are you starting to build those structures right now? It’s not just in your business, it’s at home.
I have women who have cleaning ladies that come and help them, but then they put the laundry away instead of asking the cleaning lady to put the laundry away. That’s an energy leak, allow other people to do those things. What things are you taking on that are pulling your time away, that are not setting you up for the structure you need to grow into what you want to grow into in the next five years?
And then finally, the last question I want to ask you is about boundaries, and this is always a huge topic. It’s not about whether the boundaries you have right now are working for you, because you might feel like, “The boundaries I have right now are working fine.” But, if you think of yourself in five years from now and the woman you’re going to be, with those sets of boundaries, do you have those boundaries right now? Because if you want to become that woman five years from now, and you want to start becoming her now, you’ve got to have the boundaries she has now, not the ones that made you the woman that you are now. So that’s one thing people don’t ask themselves, they don’t ask themselves what are the boundaries I need for the future? And, how can I start setting them up right now? So the question for you is, do you really have the boundaries you know you’re going to need to go where you want to go?
So that’s what I would start with, ask yourself how am I doing in each one of these areas, and that will show you. “Oh gosh, I really need to work on my visibility capacity.” Or, “No, I thought the problem was my business model, but the problem is actually my emotional capacity,” and so on, and so forth.
So what does a crisis, like Coronavirus or the recession, change in these terms? Because it’s hard, for many people, to think oh, five years from now. We have, at the time of this recording, maybe no idea how the world’s going to look like, and maybe some areas are now affecting us, which are not affecting us in good times. Let’s say, the money capacity, suddenly that flares up so much more. What changes have you seen with your clients?
Well, I have to say I think that the time has never been more right for capacity work, because capacity work is exactly that. It trains you to know how to handle and pivot, and work with crisis. Because crises come up all the time in your business, it doesn’t have to be a Coronavirus, it can be anything else. It can be suddenly half your team gets Coronavirus, and there’s only two of you working. Or, it could be somebody quits in the middle of a launch or whatever is happening. The crises are going to be happening all the time, when you’re running a business. Capacity allows you to navigate them with a sense of calm internally, so that you’re not making reactive decisions that are going to harm your business in the longterm.
So I’ve been writing my community a lot about this, yes I know it looks horrible what’s happening right now. But, this is the time to stay connected to what you know, and to your inner calm which is what capacity does, so that you’re making smart decisions. Because here’s the truth, there’s a lot of noise right now, and there’s all these people screaming. “We’re all doomed!” Or, “No, nothing’s going to happen, we’re going to be fine.” And there’s all these opinions, and it can feel like you’re going crazy listening to everybody’s opinions about what’s going to happen, and it’s all conjecture. We don’t know, we are in a time of completely unknown, we don’t know what’s going to happen. We can try to predict based on certain patterns, but even those things.
During the economic crisis, my business did amazingly. My mentor had one of the best years of her business in 2008. So again, I think we have to be very careful what we’re allowing in, versus how we’re operating from our own internal wisdom and knowledge. So that’s what capacity allows you to do, and my clients in particular, I’m so impressed and blown away by that because none of them are freaking out. Not a single one. Of course, they’ve had to do a little bit of pivoting, they’ve had to change some messaging because the world is changing. But all of them, actually, are making really good money, they have not seen any change in their revenue because they are pivoting properly, because they are listening to their customers.
They’ve all written me and said, “Gosh, I am so happy that I’m doing capacity work, because I’m not freaking out in a way that’s making me incapacitated to making decisions.” Because a lot of people freeze, they either hide and wish it would go away, and wait until it goes away, but that’s not going to happen. Or, they freeze, and they’re so stressed they don’t know what to do, so then they start listening to other people about what to do, and then they’ll make decisions that are … I saw somebody recently, a few weeks ago, who laid off half of her staff in reaction to potential that hasn’t happened yet. And now, she’s really struggling because she actually has an influx of sales and she doesn’t have the staff to handle it all.
So that’s what capacity allows for you to do, it’s to navigate crises in a calm way, that doesn’t disrupt you making smart, aligned decisions for yourself. Regardless of what the markets are doing, regardless of what other people are saying, you know what’s best for you, and that’s what capacity does.
Is there one capacity you see most often with women?
Honestly, I see them all equally, but I will say that our most popular … because we do virtual retreats on some of the capacities, and our most popular one is visibility capacity. It’s huge, because I’m just shocked at how many people are hiding parts of themselves from their business, or are saying no to publicity, for example, because they’re afraid of what people are going to think of them. Or, they are launching programs that aren’t really what they want to be launching, but it’s what they think their audience wants, and then it’s not doing well. Or, they know it’s time to get seen, instead of by 1000s of people, by 100,000s of people, and there’s something resisting in them, that’s all visibility capacity. That tends to be huge for people, those retreats sell out like this, every time we open them.
I feel this is something that women struggle with more, though. I also hear it from my clients, or just in my community, “I haven’t gone online yet, because I’m afraid. What if I also do a Facebook Live, and somebody says something horrible?” So there’s all this … but what are we really afraid of? And, why do women struggle with this more, do you know?
Oh yeah, I think I know.
Well, we have to think about this from a primal level. We have grown up in a world that has not been friendly to women, or kind to women, for centuries. So we have it in our DNA, I believe, in our DNA, this sense of needing to survive. I think it feels much more dangerous to a woman to really be herself, instead of trying to fit into what a societal ideal would have her be. Or, instead of trying to be nice, and calm, and sweet, and not imposing, that feels dangerous to go against that because women are harmed in the world, for not fitting into those archetypes.
But at the same time, we are in a time where women can shine a lot more than they used to, 100s of years ago. It’s like there’s a part of us that forgets that we are safer than we think we are. I think that also comes along with community, that’s why I think communities are so important for women. Because when we have a community of women, or other people who actually support us and are like, “It’s safe to be who you want to be, it’s safe to be seen, we support you. You’re doing a great thing.” It really helps to mitigate some of those primal fears of our own safety, of not being able to be ourselves for fear of our lives being affected. But that’s, to me, the old primitive fear that’s part of our reptilian brain for women, that is driving the show and we don’t even realize it, sometimes.
It’s hard, when you see someone like Gary Vaynerchuk, and you think to yourself, where’s the female version of that?
Yes. Yes. Well, there are, there are lots of female versions of that but they don’t get the publicity and the press that Gary does because they’re women. But, I think it’s changing, and that’s why, for me, if you’re listening to this, that’s why your voice is needed, your authentic voice is needed because we need to see the female Gary Vaynerchuks much more visible. No offense to Gary, but let’s see some women doing that as well. And that’s why you need to speak up, and yes it’s going to feel scary, but we’re doing it not just for ourselves.
I really believe, with women in particular, I say this to every woman who signs up to work with me, “Thank you for doing this because you’re not just doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for all women.” The more women’s voices are out there speaking up authentically, as themselves, not trying to fit into some sort of ideal, the more variety society gets to see in women, and gets to see that women are multi-faceted, and have all of these gifts and talents, so visibility is so important.
Yeah. I truly believe that each one of us is a role model, and by stepping up, and speaking up, we are not doing it just for us, we’re doing it for all other women, and especially for generations to come. What feels scary today is going to be less scary tomorrow, because somebody did it.
Yes, exactly. And, the first time you do anything it always feels the scariest, and that’s building capacity. The first time you do it, so scary. The second time you do it, still scary but a little less. And then, before you know it … When I started my business, when I would get a negative comment, oh it would just slay me for weeks and weeks. And now, I do not even have a single hair that comes out of place when somebody says something nasty to me because I’ve built my capacity over the years, and I have confidence in what I do. And I have mentors that I trust, that will tell me when I’m full of it, and so I don’t really care what somebody else is going to say about what I do. But, that’s just because I’ve built my capacity to be able to handle that.
Lisa, it’s been wonderful to understand that it’s capacity that’s holding us back, not the business model or strategy. And, what is the best way for my listeners to find you?
Well, I’m Lisa Fabrega, across all platforms, so you can find me on Instagram and Facebook, Lisa Fabrega. I’m on Twitter, too, although I use Instagram and Facebook more. And you can find my website, lisafabrega.com, and I have a wonderful set of videos on there that walk you through all the capacities, and ask you some really good questions you want to ask to yourself as well, when you sign up for my newsletter.
Fabulous, we’ll link that all up in the show notes. Lisa, thank you for coming on the show.
Thank you for having me.
Go to the show notes at sigrun.com/386, where you can find the link to more information on SOMBA, plus all the links to Lisa Fabrega.
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