All of us have growth gaps. My friend Steve Moore refers to these gaps as our “capacity challenge.” The capacity challenge is the gap between the person you are today and the person you must become to reach your dreams. The following diagram best illustrates your ultimate God-given capacity, how much of your potential is being reached, and the remaining gap between the two.
Capacity defines what a person can contain. It is the total of your God-given potential. In the same way a milk carton has the capacity to hold a gallon of milk, God created every one of us with a specific capacity. In some areas of life, your capacity is like a gallon, in others it’s like a quart, and in still others it’s like a pint. Put simply, your strengths are greater in some areas than others.
The more you understand your greatest strengths (how God uniquely designed you), the more you will understand where you have the largest capacity for personal growth.
Let me give you some personal examples. My capacity for leadership is greater than my capacity for basketball. My capacity for teaching is far greater than my capacity for music. My capacity for writing exceeds my capacity for counseling. No matter how hard I work to grow the low-capacity areas of my life, my performance in these areas will only marginally improve. In areas of weakness, I am limited by a very low capacity ceiling. It’s not a matter of effort or desire. It’s completely a matter of capacity.
If I acquired leadership coaching, my leadership abilities could grow by say, 20 percent. However, no matter how many basketball camps I diligently participate in, I will never excel on the basketball court. Simply stated, my capacity for growth in leadership, teaching, and writing will always outperform my capacity for basketball, music, and counseling. The same is true for you:
The gifts and passions God builds in to you define the areas where you have the greatest capacity and aptitude for growth.
Your growth gap is like the half-full cup in the diagram above. The size of your gap is felt the most when you understand your present state…that is, how much of your potential you’re currently reaching. The cup might have the capacity to hold twelve ounces, but your present state may show you reaching only 40 percent of your potential. This is a crucial point to understand: just because your life has capacity for growth doesn’t mean it will automatically be filled to capacity.
Many people go through life with the capacity to do far more than they’re currently even trying. They’re only realizing half of their potential because they haven’t developed the other half. Only by developing ALL of our potential can we reach our full God-given capacity and, ultimately, fulfill the mission He created us for. When you grow consistently, you’re closing the gap between being half-full and being filled to the brim.
The gap is a reality in all of our lives. Nobody is immune to the gap, but how people respond to it is as diverse as the gap itself.
Some people don’t even recognize that a gap exists. They struggle with nearsightedness, walking obliviously past every opportunity to grow. Others acknowledge the gap in some areas of their life but ignore it in others. They grow cafeteria style, thinking, “I’ll take a little bit of this and a little bit of that.” Still, others take their growth gaps seriously, choosing to grow on purpose in strategic areas of their life.
Think about the faces of the growth gap in your own world. Why can some of your business friends grow thriving companies…and others can’t? How come some of your kids’ teachers create powerful learning moments in their classrooms while others do nothing more than count the minutes until the next bell rings? Why do some pastors break growth barriers while others remain trapped under a lid? Believe it or not, it’s not about desire—it’s all about reaching God-given capacity. The individuals who consistently achieve superior outcomes choose to close the gap between who they are and who they must become. In other words, they face their personal growth gaps head-on and pay the price to close them.
Questions: What are the growth gaps you’re facing right now? What is one step you could take to positively respond to your gaps?
This post was adapted from my book, GO! Starting a Personal Growth Revolution. You can order a copy in my store here or on Amazon or Kindle. GO! is also available from Barnes & Noble. For bulk orders, email me here.