How to Negotiate Capacity In Your Life – AKA Transition 101

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holiday Season!
December 23, 2015
Negotiation Tip – Verify the Facts
February 5, 2016

How to Negotiate Capacity2016 is the “Year of Capacity” for me. Capacity is something we all need in order to be able to function and do the things that we do. The definition of capacity is “the maximum amount that something can contain” or “the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something. “ When you lack the capacity, you are often times unable to get things done, feel exhausted, stressed out or overwhelmed.

I experienced the lack of capacity this year and had to make some significant decisions to change my life so I could open up space and have more capacity to do the things I want to do to make my dreams move forward. Lack of capacity has caused me to lose significant opportunities, lose money, lose possibilities for a relationship, and much more. We all get to a decision point and I came to that the end of this year plus a lot of things happened to cause a big shift in my life. The following are some of the big things that occurred in my life to make me realize I needed to “change or die” as my friend Craig Duswalt says.

Empty Nest Syndrome

My daughter has been out on her own for quite sometime. She lives close so I get to see her often. It was hard enough to let her go but my son was still at home so it wasn’t like I was totally alone. However, in July, my son left the nest to join the military. It was bittersweet. A proud moment for mom, but a big shift in life. I didn’t realize how big until I came home from his basic training graduation and realized he wasn’t coming back. I was faced with being alone. For any woman that is single and has been single for a long time, when you are really alone and start to look at your life and realize you have no one to share it with, that brings up some feelings and emotions that can be painful to experience. I am happy with who I am. I love me. It’s not about that. It’s having no one to be connected with intimately.

I was not called to singleness (I believe some are) but here I am single and the prospects of dating in “Superficial So Cal” are not encouraging. Being judged for “looking my age” and passed over for the younger versions is not a pleasantry to have to face. I went through a grieving process about the “loss” of my son. Then I found out that both of them were looking to go work overseas. My daughter has applied to teach English in another country and my son has been given an overseas assignment once he completes Technical Training. So not only are they both gone but now they are going to the other side of the world. I will get to go visit but it’s not the same as having them close.

This in itself required a lot of energy and emotion to process leaving capacity to work on my business diminished. We go through things like this in life and I had to be ok with just processing it all and going through the grieving process. Empty Nest Syndrome is not for the faint at heart. It is a real syndrome and I experienced it with tears, sadness, joy and at times the need to just sit and watch a movie and do nothing. I am happy to say have put that behind me.


You may not know that while I have been building my business, I was also working as a Defense Contractor for 30 hours a week at Los Angeles Air Force Base. I was a Contracts Administrator when I started then when that work dried up, I transitioned to working on the base as a Systems Analyst supporting the 3 star General in the Readiness Review process. I handled the logistics for the launch review meetings so the General and other high level officials could make decisions to launch satellites into space. I was straddling that job for years and working on building up my fund to sustain me when I left the job plus funding my business with some of my corporate income.

In July, right about the same time my son left for basic (when it rains it pours) our contract on the base expired and they delayed the announcement of the new contract award. We were put on leave without pay for a week. Then we got a month-to-month extension until the award of the next contract was announced. There was nothing definitive about when that would be. I spent some time during that week off thinking about where my business and life were going. I stopped funding my business with my corporate income and made a decision that my business would be completely self-sustaining or I would scrap it. I made a good income in my business but it was going right back out to invest in booths at events, paying fees for speaking on stages at events, advertising in event action guides, hotels at events, lunches at events, energy at events and these events were not producing much income. I immediately pulled my energy out of the events and started to revamp and relook at my business. I determined to stop doing so much free stuff or investing in things that weren’t producing income. I made a commitment to stop investing time and money where I wasn’t getting enough ROI to produce income in my business. I didn’t have the capacity to do all this stuff and was exhausted and burned out.

The J.O.B. energetically was a heavy weight and while I realized I was there for a purpose I was praying that purpose would shift soon. That happened in December. The company I work for lost the new contract. We were given less than a months notice right after Thanksgiving and right before Christmas. Merry Christmas! While most people in the company were stressed out, I felt an incredible amount of peace and realized it was time for me to step out on faith and make the transition. The new contractor made me an offer for the same money and I turned it down. Dec 31was my last day working at Los Angeles AFB and I couldn’t be happier. I did negotiate a few hours a week working for my company doing some contracts administration work from home to supplement my income for the time being. That’s like working a consulting gig and I will eventually let that go but didn’t want to dip into my emergency fund so this was the best way to ensure I didn’t have to do that. Just like anything we negotiate, you have to analyze the situation and make a determination on what strategy is best to execute. I was always amazed at people who were able to leave their jobs and never felt confident doing that. People always told me I would know when. It was hard to see that from where I was sitting but I can honestly say I know the time is now.

Significant Personal Family Situation – I won’t go into detail about the situation but it caused me so much pain and grief that I felt it deep in my body and felt like I had been run over by a train. The situation required months of walking by faith and prayer. The outcome was miraculous but during much of that time my capacity was taken up by the situation. Thankful for the results and learned a great deal about the power of prayer and God’s grace and miracles. It was a process I needed to go through to increase my faith and thankfulness for the process and the miraculous outcome.

Working a corporate job limited my capacity to work my business. I did not have the capacity to focus solely on my business and my business could not reach a higher level because of it. Some days I would go back and forth between speaking gigs or events and the job. Some days I would go into the job early and work late in order to be in integrity with my hours. Most of my vacation time from the job was spent on events and speaking gigs. I finally reached a point where I hit a wall and couldn’t do it like this anymore.

Click Here to Sign Up!Add that all together and there was very little capacity to work on my business. Despite working at limited capacity, I was still able to hold 2 of my Think Like A Negotiator trainings this year and speak at many different events both paid and pro bono. Now that I have released working at the base, the space is opened up for me to rock my business. Since the beginning of the year I have created a weekly free program on negotiation called 52 Negotiator Tips. Go to to sign up to get the free weekly tips on negotiation. I have also been contacted by at least half a dozen or more organizations so far for paid speaking engagements, people who are helping me create a sponsorship package for my TLN Live training, a friend who I have been asking for years to help with ideas for products sat down with me and guided me in what to do. That is going to result in a home study course with several modules that is already in work which will be an income stream. It’s as if people see me now and couldn’t see me before. This is only since the beginning of the month that all this is going into work! I’m excited for what is coming for 2016!

I had to negotiate capacity with myself. Basically I evaluated what to release and what to keep. I had to clear out my space in order to allow other things to come in. Not only will it positively affect my business, it will enable me to give back more. I didn’t have any energy to do very many give back things to veterans. Now I will be able to budget more time to give back to my veteran brothers and sisters.

I also cleared some physical things out of my personal space but that is an ongoing thing for me. You need to make sure you keep your physical space cleared out. Stay on top of that, as clutter in the house clutters the mind and also has a negative affect on capacity.

What do you need to clear out of your space(s) to open up space to be able to have more energy to do the things you want to do or dream of doing? In order to increase capacity, you have to make room for it. If capacity is defined as the maximum amount something can contain, you can’t overfill it or it will break open and everything will spill out. Additionally it is also the ability or power to do, experience, or understand something. If you are over your capacity limit, you won’t have the power to do anything. That’s where I was and had to make room in order to make a change.

Take a moment to step back and analyze your situation. Maybe take a sheet of paper and write down everything you do and see if there’s places you can cut things out to open up capacity in other areas. Same thing for your physical space. What stuff do you have piled up that you can get rid of? Give away old clothes, throw away broken stuff, get things repaired or whatever the case may be.

Negotiate and increase to your capacity in 2016! Happy Negotiating!

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez

Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Eldonna Lewis Fernandez
Veteran negotiation and contracts expert Eldonna Lewis-Fernandez, author of “Think Like a Negotiator,” has over 30 years of experience crafting killer deals both stateside and internationally, many in excess of $100 million. She’s currently the CEO of Dynamic Vision International — a specialized consulting and training firm that helps individuals hone negotiation skills — as well as a nationally regarded keynote speaker, session leader and panelist on the Art of Negotiation. Eldonna may be reached online at

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