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Is There a Hole in Your Bucket?

Photo of a metal bucket filled with water in a grass with daisy Photo credit

My husband and I were amusing ourselves (Yes, we are easily amused.) with the old song that you may know, that goes, "There's a hole in my bucket dear Liza, dear Liza. There's a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole. Then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, dear Henry; then fix it dear Henry, dear Henry, fix it. With what shall I fix it dear Liza, dear Liza...." and on it and on it goes forever...until the end where Henry blurts out to Liza's disgust, "But there's a hole in my bucket!..."

I often have my clients visualize the different dimensions of Human Energy; their physical, emotional, cognitive, relational and spiritual energies as water in a bucket. We call this their "Energy Bucket".

When energy is high, the Bucket is full. When energy is depleted, so is the water in the Bucket.

If you'd like, take a moment to check in with yourself.

How full is your Energy Bucket right now? What would increase your energy?

There are the basics; adequate and restorative sleep, healthful nutrition, hydration, and movement. What progress are you making filling the Bucket with these?

(Remember, small steps toward progress is still progress.)

What else would fill your Bucket? I encourage you to make a list, either mentally or written.

Quality time with family and friends? Finding moments of meaning in your work? Eating lunch somewhere besides your desk? Eating any lunch at all? Pausing to take a deep breath? Remembering to look up at the beauty of the night sky when you take out the trash? Being outside? A nap?

Now, compare the list to your calendar. Can you find evidence of those "Bucket Fillers" on your calendar?

Are you and your needs even on the list? Are you cramming your needs in the margins and actually living from the margins of that calendar/to do list?

How can you make room for what refills your Energy Bucket?

I recognize that initially, it can take energy, the very thing you're lacking now, to intentionally add to your Energy Bucket; but that those additions will counteract what depletes the level of energy in the Bucket.

That's right. The Holes.

Those things in our lives that are "Energy Drainers".

Go ahead, now make a list of those. Some may be unavoidable life events, and others may be things you've been tolerating over time.

The drainers may be toxic relationships, care-giving responsibilities, a grueling work schedule with unrealistic deadlines, and other work related systemic stressors.

What might you delegate, mitigate or delete? What steps can you take to fix or eliminate some of the holes in your bucket? To what can you say, "No. No, thank you." ?

By increasing awareness of the fluctuations of your energy, creating small changes to implement the interventions that will replenish you and diminish the effects of the stressors that drain you, you can begin to repair your bucket and restore the energy you need to thrive.

  • Dianne Rizzo is an ICF Certified, Executive and Leadership coach, specializing in ResDianneilience and Mindful Leadership. She is the founder of ONE LIFE Coaching Services and believes depletion and burnout are painful, expensive, and preventable. She provides individualized, executive coaching to leaders to create stategies to thrive at work and at home.

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