This great children's book by Tom Rath and Mary Reckmeyer was new to me when Julia mentioned it recently in our chat. The general concept is that young Felix gets frustrated with his sister's toddler antics and his grandpa explains that he has dipped from his sister's bucket. Felix is now curious about these invisible buckets that his grandpa says everyone has.
Magically, the next day he can observe these buckets over every person's head. He also realizes that when the bucket is full, we feel great and when it is empty, we feel rotten. As Felix goes about his day, he sees how every interaction can fill or empty his bucket.
As the day goes on, he realizes that everything he says or does impacts the buckets of others by either filling or emptying them. By day's end, Felix has learned that he can fill the buckets of teachers and classmates and miraculously, when he does, his bucket is filled too.
Invest in Your Emotional Bank Account
What a great lesson to learn at a young age. I first understood this concept as an adult when I read Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Covey's analogy for the bucket is the emotional bank account. When we have a relationship with others, we must make deposits regularly because inevitably something will happen, and we have to take a withdrawal. To maintain a positive relationship, we need to have a surplus in the emotional bank account.
What are you doing to fill your bucket? As a mom, we give a lot to others in our family, so you would think that our buckets would be overflowing as we go about the day helping others keep their buckets full. However, from my experience, the drops that add to the buckets from always attending to other's needs, will never be enough to fill our buckets. In fact, I've found that there has to be self-care and attending to my own needs before I can give to others. And it never hurts to have others pouring into our bucket as well. Ho
Find Your Support
This is where you need to rely on your support network. My friend Katie was that supporting voice of reason when I was at home with my preschool daughter. Katie would come over with a spaghetti pie and a handpicked bouquet of zinnias from her garden.
She would ask, so how are you doing? Then she would listen and set about filling by bucket with understanding, reassurance, praise, and helpful suggestions for how I could start to reconnect with my own needs and start doing some of my own bucket filling.
As I reflect on these moments from 20 years ago, Katie’s wisdom was a blessing in my life that was unrecognized for many years. Hindsight has a way of making sense of the past and Katie demonstrated to me a concept that I find vitally important and woefully missing in the lives of mompreneurs today: support for ourselves.
I know you're great at supporting others, but who is supporting you and do you let them in when they offer? What are you doing to ensure you stay at your creative, innovative best to bring the flow of good ideas to your business? How do you simply stay positive for your family as you face business challenges that are emptying your bucket?
I know the answer: find your Katie. Call that one friend today and fill her bucket and ask her to be your buddy to help you find the time to take care of yourself. Line up a plan for reciprocating with each other. I know this is the single most important step you can take to ensure your bucket is full.
I’d love to hear about the “Katie” in your life. If you have a “Katie” story, or just want to talk through your thoughts about this idea, reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and share with me!