First a quote: “Strange how one person can saturate a room with vitality, with excitement. Then there are others… …they spread a grayness in the air about them.” John Steinbeck
Are there people in your life with whom you love spending time; time with them flies by and you are often disappointed when it is time to say goodbye? And, how about the opposite? Are there people in your life with whom you dread spending time; where even minutes together feel like an eternity?
One last question; What is it you enjoy, and appreciate most, about time spent with your closest friends? Try to be specific, and thoughtful, as you reflect on your answer to this question. Try to identify the specific behaviors that are important to you. Are there important lessons to be learned in your answers?
Clearly, your answers to this question are personal, and likely unique to you and your personality, your preferences, likes and dislikes. However, in discussions with people I know, I have noticed a few patterns and themes. Near the top of the list is this; How we feel about ourselves, in the presence of those people. We feel comfortable, good, important, needed, safe, protected, loved or valued when we are with those people.
Using a bucket, or pail, as a metaphor, think about the people you know, lead or love as “leaky buckets” and, those leaky buckets are either mostly full or mostly empty. The causes & sources of the leaks in those buckets are almost infinite. Some of us are pretty good at drilling holes in our own buckets with our own negative self-talk and self-destructive behaviors. Others, often those closest to us, also drill holes in our buckets with careless comments or even intended, hurtful jabs. Sadly, sometimes we drill holes in the buckets of the most important people in our lives… our spouses, children, parents, siblings and close friends.
As said previously, the list of “hole drillers” is almost infinite and includes a wide variety of people, situations and scenarios… anything that causes damage to our emotional well-being. This list includes: getting fired, demoted, passed over, failed projects, lost accounts, rejection, health issues, spiritual breakdowns, bad grades in school and simply feeling lonely. Again, the list is endless.
So, following is a short “thought assignment” for this morning. I invite you to reflect on a meaningful conversation you had recently with an important person of your choosing. Assume the conversation has just ended, and you are now walking away from that person. Reflect upon what you said, how you said it, how you listened, how you responded, and the net effect of your role in that conversation. Because of “who you were” in that conversation, does that person now feel:
• better about themselves or worse?
• more confident or less?
• more excited about life or less?
• more important or less?
• more loved or less?
• more spiritually connected, or less?
Bottom line… is their bucket more, or less, full because of you?
Every day, in every situation, with every person we meet, we have a choice… we can choose to be a filler, or a drainer. Both are easy, both are choices. What choice will you make today?
I don’t know about you, but I have enough problems, stress, concerns and fears in my life without spending time with people stuck in “drainer” mode. The people I love hanging out with most… are mostly fillers, most of the time. They are bucket fillers by choice, and I love my time in their presence.
An important person in your life has a leaky bucket, just waiting for you to be an “intentional filler” at this very moment. You just might change someone’s life with a little “thoughtful bucket filling” today. Who will it be? When will you start? Oh, and one last point; I have discovered that people with full buckets… tend to become bucket fillers as well. Can you imagine a world of bucket fillers?
What will you choose today? Filler or drainer?
How will you lead differently, or better, this week?
Have a great week!!
“Expanding Your Capacity for Success”
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