You can’t pour from an empty cup

“You can’t pour from an empty cup. Take care of yourself first.”

—Author Unknown

Image of hands holding a coffee cup

Image from Unsplash by Sabri Tuzcu

In his book, Give and Take, author Adam Grant points out that in many situations, the givers of the world are more successful and fulfilled.

There is, however, a particular exception to his observation. He makes a clear distinction between two types of givers, which he calls “Selfless,” and “Otherish.”

A critical difference between the two is that Selfless givers give to the point of being an empty cup, while Otherish givers put on their own oxygen mask before assisting others.

EXERCISE:

Where in your life are you running on or near empty?

What Otherish strategies can you use to retain some reserves for yourself, so that you can continue your generous and contributory efforts?

Exhaustion is not a status symbol

“Exhaustion is not a status symbol.”

—Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

Image of a hand holding a candle burning at both ends

Image from andtodaysidiomis

Do you ever hear yourself or others making statements such as:

  • I work 24/7
  • I work 60, 70, 80 hours per week
  • I only need 4-5 hours of sleep
  • I can’t remember when I took all of my vacation time
  • I usually eat at my desk, and sometimes in my car
  • I bill more hours than anyone else in my firm
  • I’m burning the candle at both ends

Somehow, many of us took the idea of hard work, and got carried away. Some of us have gotten to the point that our self worth and value equates to “giving it my all,” taking it to the point of endangering our very lives.

The evidence that we need to conserve and recharge our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual energies before it is too late is overwhelming.

EXERCISE:

Select at least one personal or professional activity that you will do less of or stop entirely, so you can step back from the ledge of exhaustion. See if you can reclaim at least one hour each day, and then consider reducing or eliminating a second activity.

I highly recommend reading The Power of Full Engagement by Jim Loehr if you want to take this concept further.

When You Say YES to Others

“When you say, ‘YES’ to others, make sure you are not saying, ‘NO’ to yourself.”

—Paulo Coelho, Brazilian Author

Image of Book Cover

Throughout the seven years I’ve been writing The Quotable Coach blog, I’ve posted numerous times about saying, “Yes” and “No” to requests made by others in our personal and professional communities.

To add a bit more bite to this subject, I’d like to add the words, “Oh,” “Heck,” and even “Hell” before the No’s and Yeses, to see if it creates a bigger shift in how you react and what you agree to do.

EXERCISE:

Where would saying, “Hell No!” to others and “Hell Yes!” to yourself a few more times make the biggest difference in your world?

You may consider using the concepts from the book, The Power of a Positive No by William Ury to find more polite ways to communicate your decision.

Life Gets Better When You Get Better

“Your life only gets better when you get better.”

—Brian Tracy

Image of man with thermometer in his mouth

Image from Flickr by Bart

Personal and organizational development are multi-billion dollar industries. It is estimated that the coaching profession is somewhere near the three billion dollar mark.

What causes this trend to continue pointing upward?

Perhaps it is simply that we all desire better lives, and that bettering ourselves is the easiest way to influence and control our own destiny.

When we work on bettering ourselves, we give our lives direction and set forth goals to pursue and achieve. This “creative tension” literally pulls, or draws us, to the realization of a better future.

EXERCISE:

Where can you or are you actively working on yourself to realize the better life you desire? Consider discussing this question with a coach, mentor, or close friend who will hold your feet to the fire and increase your chances of success.

Friday Review Self Improvement

FRIDAY REVIEW: SELF IMPROVEMENT

How committed are you to self improvement? Here are a few self-improvement related posts you may have missed. Click the links to read the full message.

 

“I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself.”

 

 

 

“Be there for others but never leave yourself behind.”

 

 

 

 

“Life’s strongest glue is being happy to be you!”

 

 

 

 

 

Still Say No

“You can be a good person with a kind heart and still say NO.”

-Author Unknown

Image of man with bullhorn

image from drdavidgeier.com

‘NO’ is one of the most important and powerful words in our language. At home and at work, we use it to protect ourselves, and to stand up for the things and people that truly matter to us.

The word ‘NO,’ used incorrectly, can also destroy what we value the most, by alienating and angering people.

In his book “The Power of a Positive NO,” William Ury—a top Harvard Professor—shares his secret to saying ‘NO’ without destroying our most important and valued relationships.

EXERCISE:

In addition to purchasing his book, please check out Professor Ury’s TED talk about the walk from ‘NO’ to ‘YES.’

The answers inside you

“Remember, all the answers you need are inside of you; you only have to become quiet enough to hear them.”

—Debbie Ford, author of The Dark Side of the Light Chasers

Quiet Zone sign

Image from Pinterest

Take a moment to reflect on your day so far.

How much quietness, peace, serenity, and tranquility have you experienced? On the other hand, how much stress, chaos, multi-tasking, and general noise have you experienced?

If you have plenty of quiet time, you are one of the lucky ones who have time to think and reflect on the important questions life may be asking.

If your life fits more with the second category, you may be unable to hear yourself think.

EXERCISE:

Find a special location in both your personal and professional worlds to spend just ten minutes per day in quiet reflection, to discover the important answers to the questions life is asking.

watchdog of the wise

Now is the watchdog of the wise.”

—Charles H. Spurgeon, 19th Century British Preacher

Image of a bulldog

Image from Flickr by Emmanuel Tabard

Take a few minutes to picture a very wise individual. This may be someone you know, an historic figure, a spiritual leader, or perhaps you will conjure someone in your imagination.

Notice the qualities and characteristics you most appreciate and admire, that caused you to place them on your “short list” of special individuals.

Of particular note is the ability of these people to be fully present in the “now” of life, instead of taking daily journeys into the past or future. Such people are often characterized as being happy, content, peaceful, serene, alert, aware, authentic, and open.

EXERCISE:

Consider checking out two books I recommend on this subject:
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo

A Beautiful Question

“A beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something.”

—Warren Berger, American Journalist

"ask more questions" sign between two clocks

Image from Unsplash by Jonathan Simcoe

Coaches love beautiful and powerful questions.  In fact, if coaches were Batman, our utility belts would be filled with them!

What if you were to begin questioning all areas of your life, to determine what is truly working and what is not? What might your answers show, and what choices or actions might you take moving forward?

As a reader of The Quotable Coach, you are astute and have probably noticed that I’ve filled this post with questions!

EXERCISE:

What are a few of your favorite, most beautiful questions? What questions keep you on your toes and move your life forward? How might you use coaching questions to support the lives of those for whom you care?

Self-Improvement Review

FRIDAY REVIEW: IMPROVEMENT

How much attention do you give to self-improvement? Here are a few posts related to self-improvement you may have missed:

Image of achieving success through social capital book

 

“Don’t worry so much about knowing the right people. Just make yourself worth knowing.”

 

 

 

Rainy window with a note stuck on about kindness

 

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”

 

 

 

Image of a room under construction

 

“The biggest room in my house is the room for improvement.”