Episode 33: The Capacity for Zero : The Courage to Start Something New and Make a Change

Nov 27, 2023

The Capacity for Zero - The Courage to Make a Change and Start Something New


Hey everyone! Welcome back to the Elevate Motherhood Podcast! I’m glad you’re here! The title of today’s episode is the courage to make a change – the capacity for zero. This a fun concept I learned about from a business coach and podcaster Amy Porterfield. She’s not actually MY business coach, but sometimes I listen to her podcast. She talked about the capacity for zero on her podcast and it really helped me and inspired me so I hope it will do the same for you too! I’ll link to her episode here in the show notes so you can also hear about this from her especially if you are wanting to hear more about this from a business perspective. But today I’m talking about this NOT just from a business perspective but also from a personal perspective. This podcast is for moms so I’m talking to all moms here regardless of if you have a business or not, there’s something in this conversation for you!


The capacity for zero relates to starting something new, or starting over, and being willing to be at zero. A lot of people have a dream in their heart but they are too scared to be starting over at zero that they never actually do it. Or they want to live a certain way but are not willing to start at zero toward becoming that type of person.


Maybe you want to start studying for a new job. Are you willing to start at zero and have zero idea how to do it? To totally learn something new? To start from scratch? To be the newest person, a total beginner. To not be an expert. To save money for months and months ahead of time to be able to do what you need to do to put yourself in a different position?


Maybe you want to start leading with kindness with your husband, things have gotten lazy and the words you guys use are more rude and careless than you want to. You want to start being kind and servant-hearted and lead by example and change the trajectory of your marriage. Today is zero. You have to be the one to take the first step.


Or you want to go to a new bible study. But you don’t really know all the girls. You’d be starting at zero making new friends. You’d be the new person. You aren’t sure what to wear or what to talk about. You’re starting at zero but the risk might be worth the reward of a new community.

Maybe you do want to start a new business, are you willing to start at zero? Have zero website, zero email list, zero logo, zero customers.


If you want to write a book- are you willing to start at zero sales? Zero idea of how to even start down the path of writing a book?


Or you want to start a new hobby, you’re the brand new person with no idea what you’re doing. You’re starting at zero with something that seems hard to do.


Or like when I started this podcast, I knew at first I would have zero downloads, zero subscribers. It is a super vulnerable feeling, honestly, to start at zero and put yourself out there.


All of this is hard for anyone, but I feel like it’s probably especially hard for people who are already leaders and experts in some way. Maybe something you do you’re amazing at, you’ve earned a respectable title. Or you’re well-known for doing whatever it is. But maybe there’s something additional in your heart that would require you to be the novice, to seek help from other people who are experts, to maybe seek advice from someone younger than you, to maybe put your degree aside, even. To be willing to fail, to be willing for things to maybe not work out. But to still do it. And just start at zero. Put one foot in front of the other.


There’s usually a snowball effect with a lot of things. The beginning is slow. The first part of the work is invisible. You’re either doing all this work with nothing to show for it, nobody noticing what you’re doing, or even people are doubting you. You’re wanting to give it to God but even the prayers seem scary or too bold. It’s hard to even say it to God who put the desire in your heart, much less say it to another person.



This whole concept can also be for people who want to *stop* doing something. Maybe you have a bad habit, or an addiction, or just like something minor that you want to stop. Are you willing to start at zero and make a huge change? But that huge change starts with some small decisions made over and over and over again. Can today be you starting at zero? Starting completely over? Willing to be vulnerable and take on a new identity of who you want to be?


Choosing what you want most over what you want now?


There’s a book I’ve mentioned a few times on this podcast because I love it so much but it’s called Atomic Habits by James Clear. He gives a lot of practical advice about how to start or stop a habit. So if what you’re thinking of here could be affected by your habits- which most things are affected by our habits- check out that book!



We have all heard the analogy of the ice berg. Like there’s ALLLLLL this work that no one sees. This enormous part of the ice berg that is under the water. And people see the tip of the iceberg which seems so small in comparison but it’s the only part that’s visible. Like it looks maybe so perfect or easy or like not a lot of work went in before that iceberg tip became visible. But in reality the part hidden is WAY BIGGER than what is visible. We have to be willing to accept that the hard work usually doesn’t get a lot of recognition. It’s not pretty. No one is really rewarding you at the beginning for all this invisible work. Sometimes no one really even knows or cares what you’re doing when you’re stating at zero.


And the people who think that the tip of the iceberg *just happened* are honestly the people who haven’t ever built an iceberg. They aren’t trying to be rude, they just have NO idea. They haven’t started at zero. Or they haven’t decided to start at zero and keep putting one foot in front of the other as they move away from zero and built the iceberg. Maybe they are just hanging out comfortable a little bit away from zero but they aren’t really going anywhere. I’m not judging those people because in different seasons of life I’ve been that person! That’s okay! But if you are trudging along trying to do something so hard, don’t let the opinions of the people who aren’t moving forward hold you back.


I saw a quote recently that said there’s only competition at the bottom, the people at the top are collaborating. Isn’t that so good!


Once I launched my digital course it was fun to see the support and how it all played out. I mean this in the most humble way but I didn’t need approval from others. I do feel confident enough in myself and my life and my identity in Christ that my whole existence wasn’t resting on this digital course. I have listened to enough business podcasts and heard enough stories that I know I have to start somewhere. I know that the first sales weekend or even the first year isn’t really indicative of like my future or my worth or even my business concept. I know that I have to keep growing and pivoting and SERVING and GIVING and providing meaningful work for you guys! So that launch didn’t really matter. And honestly it went great! Good enough for me!

BUT that being said it was interesting to see how the support rolled out. It was interesting to see who was supportive- who bought the course or interacted with me around that time. And who didn’t- I know people have lives and are busy and algorithms are weird so some people didn’t know I launched anything or they don’t care to organize their home ever. And that’s okay! Truly I think nothing less of those people. BUT the point of this conversation is actually that it was cool to see who the supportive people were. And honestly a lot of the unexpected support from people I don’t know very well came from people who run their own businesses too. And probably a lot of them don’t even care one bit about home organization either. They just were being supportive. I didn’t realize it until a few days after the launch just thinking of like how nice it was for the people who were supportive and went out of their way to share or send me a congratulations or words of support and it hit me a lot of those people have put themselves out there too. They know what it takes, they know what’s worthy of celebrating. And it made me think nothing less of the people who didn’t- but almost like an honor to be part of that crowd now who is willing to start at zero and build something AND have the capacity to encourage and support others. It made me want to make sure I never miss a chance to send a free text that takes a couple of seconds to congratulate someone once they announce a new job or a new anything. To SEE people being vulnerable and stand with them. 


So this is NOT about me please I have had enough support and I feel so happy, but if you are listening to this and in the next few weeks or months or even years see someone standing on their own doing something even just changing to a good habit, or showing up to something new, or starting a business, or whatever it may be- notice them and encourage them! It may really mean a lot to them!


I have an entire episode on scarcity verses abundance mindset so check that out if you haven’t yet. But it’s cool to think about how to gain an abundance mindset and be one of the people who believe there’s enough room at the top for everyone. Who know more for someone else doesn’t mean less for themselves. And it’s better to think that way, right?


It’s fun to be able to start at zero. I have talked with a few friends starting new things and we all agree it is good for mental health too. The process of learning something new, the process of being creative and creating something for yourself, it’s good for your brain and your mind. But we have to have the capacity for zero too. It has to be for ourselves, it has to be serving others. It can’t be with the goal of what we will gain monetarily. It has to be with the goal of providing something worth something to people. To some people. Not for everyone. Some of the main business advice I’ve learned through all these books and podcasts are to not try to be for everyone. You’re not for everyone. Don’t try to be for everyone because you’re not for everyone and if you try then you’ll be sad about the people who didn’t connect with you. But you do have something to give some people. And trying to find those people is fun. Trying to serve people is fun! That’s really the point of any business anyway is trying to serve people and give them something valuable. Having the capacity for zero is fun and seeing what can grow is fun.



My husband was also a good example of having capacity for zero. Someday I’ll probably need to do a whole podcast on his story because it really is inspiring but I’ll give you guys the short version. He spent 5 years in undergrad in college at OU being “pre-med,” taking all the super hard classes, volunteering at TONS of events, building a resume, building a reputation, getting the degree and applied to medical school 3 years in a row to get denied each time. He defaulted into the oil and gas career field which is amazing for a lot of people but it just wasn’t for him. It wasn’t his plan, it wasn’t his passion. Then he decided to start at zero again and get a business degree to try to totally shift paths and start down a new career path. Went full time back to OU, got a business degree, spent an entire summer working 3 hours away from me when we were married but didn’t have kids yet, and tried to go down the business path and again nothing was really working out the way he wanted it to. Some of the options that were in front of him were things that didn’t align with the life he wanted so he didn’t take the offer, some of the things he really hoped and prayed for and worked for didn’t work out. So he went back to oil and gas to provide for our family. So he’s working the 9-5 the entire time, but still applying for things, still meeting with mentors, still putting himself out there and being extremely vulnerable, sending his resume, applying for jobs. Sitting there at zero so many times WHILE working a 9-5 that he wasn’t passionate about. Then oil and gas shuts down during the pandemic so he’s completely out of work, we have a 2 year old and I’m pregnant with our second. He’s messaging people every single day. He’s not saying, oh everyone’s out of work, I’ll enjoy this time off. He’s not blaming the economy. He’s starting at zero every day. One of the millions of leads he tried ended up working out and he got a job which eventually lead him to where he is now, accepted into a pretty prestigious dental school and doing well there. After a decade of praying and working hard and finding dead-ends and starting at zero- he’s on his way to a career that feels fulfilling. We are seeing how all these seemingly unrelated paths and dead ends were God knitting together a perfect story for him. But he had to do all this work that no one saw. He had to study for a huge entrance exam WHILE being a dad and husband and working 9-5. Not knowing if any of it would pay off. He had to send emails asking people to meet with him not knowing if they would respond. And a lot of people didn’t. And he had to keep sending more, trying different things, starting at zero each time.


My husband and I love the verse, Luke 16:10 where Jesus says, “He who can be trusted with little can be trusted with a lot.” And that has been one of our motivating verses this entire time. We’re telling God look we are being trustworthy with this little but we are also asking for more. FOR SO LONG. So much starting at zero. So much praying for literally a decade with what seemed like unanswered prayers. But God being God came through. My dad said recently, if it’s not good God isn’t done yet. And isn’t that the truth. That one is from Romans 8:28 which says God works all things for good for those who love him and are called according to his purpose.

But sometimes we have to take the first step while trusting God. We have to start at zero. Listening for His voice and pivoting where we need to. Starting over where we need to. Showing up faithfully where we need to, while praying for more.


And honestly, the greater your capacity for zero and willingness to start at zero, the greater your capacity to win. You can’t win at something you never even tried to do. And the harder you have to try, sometimes that makes something mean even more to you. The win is sweeter when you worked really hard. And I want that for you guys! Like I said this isn’t even about starting a business, maybe it’s just about making friends, or being a mom who doesn’t yell, or simply having a heart of contentment if that’s the season you need to be in, or starting a new hobby, or working towards a new job if that’s something you want. It can be anything. And it’s certainly not seeking a win that means putting others down. It means seeking a win so that you can rise and bring others with you.



So anyway. I hope this is encouraging to you too. What can be your capacity for zero? Is there something you want to start doing? Can you accept that you DO have the capacity for zero. To start at the very beginning. To have a day 0 and a day 1 and a day 2. You ARE capable. And same thing- is there something you want to stop doing? Is today day 0 for being the person you want to be and stopping something that you know isn’t serving you. Today is day 0 for choosing what you want most over what you want right now. Give it to the Lord in prayer and be willing to take that first step.


I hope this message is a blessing to you! Thanks for being here friends! If you’re on Instagram, find me on Instagram @ElevateMotherhood. I share more there than I can here so I’d love to connect with you there! And if you haven’t left a review of the show yet, that would be awesome if you’re wiling to do so!


Before we leave I’d love to say a prayer and blessing for you!


Dear Lord, thank you for these listeners. Thank you for speaking loudly into their hearts as they consider their capacity for zero. We want everything you have for us. Give us courage to start at zero and take those first steps. Let us be listening for your voice every step of the way. Let all we do be for your glory, Lord. In your son Jesus’ name, amen.



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