empty pitcherA seminar speaker had a participant lift up a small pitcher of water, representing his capacity in life (energy, time, resources). He was then instructed to begin pouring out the water, a little at a time, into many different glasses, each one representing one of the people in his sphere of influence (who he named) or a task from one of his major responsibilities that was on his to-do list (which he also named).

After a while, the pitcher was empty, but all the glasses still had room for him to pour more into, as if they were clamoring for even more of his time and energy. When the participant was told to pour out more from the empty pitcher, he got the point: he could not pour out any more, which felt like burnout or guilt or failure–UNLESS he was getting replenished himself.

How are you filling yourself up? Do you have social time outside of work, where friends and family pour into you? Do you have a hobby, or scheduled fun-time, to recreate? Do you seek to grow yourself through books/audios/podcasts/training to increase your capacity? And, do you have boundaries that limit your output to correspond with your input and margin?

Think of the empty pitcher, and make a decision to refill yours–so that those around you benefit from your fullness!