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Pursuit of it All

How Full Is Your Bucket?

How Full Is Your Bucket?

A few years ago, I had an important meeting at work that started promptly at 8 a.m. As any mom knows, when you have an event to attend, and it’s mandatory that you arrive at a specific time, your children will do everything in their power to make you late.

That morning was no different.

After finally dropping my eldest child off at preschool and then pulling into the company parking lot, I ran a quarter mile from the my car to the building, sprinted up two flights of escalator stairs—in heels—and then dashed to the meeting room, filled with about 50 people.

I was five minutes late.

How Full Is Your Bucket?

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg

The opening speaker had started already, and I quietly made my way to my seat where my co-workers (and friends) were whispering, “Are you okay?? You’re never late!”

I thought, “My five year old slept too late & moved at a snail’s pace to get ready. My one year old decided that he wanted to be fussy—NO!!!! to all the things—and therefore wouldn’t bend his legs to sit in his highchair (it’s amazing how strong a  one year old is). The five year old lingered at preschool drop-off, and then I hit every red light on the way over. EVERY. RED. LIGHT. There was NO time for coffee-let-alone-breakfast. And, well…”

But instead I said, “Yes, I’m fine. Thank you.”

Because you don’t want to be THAT mom who blames “being late” on kids. You should be able to manage all the things, all the time, with grace and perfection, right?


After dropping my bags and pulling out my laptop, I finally noticed that somehow…a Starbucks cup and paper bag had made their way to my seat.

Turns out, on the way to the office, my co-worker stopped to get me a latte. AND, he also got me a slice of iced lemon pound cake, which is by far the most phenomenal baked good Starbucks has to offer. This was like seeing magic on a silver platter tossing up rainbows and unicorns!

And I didn’t even expect it, which was the BEST.

My bucket went from empty to full in a matter of five seconds!


Has your bucket been filled lately?

“Each of us has an invisible bucket. It is constantly emptied or filled depending on what others say or do to us. When our bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty, we feel awful.

Each of us also has an individual dipper. When we use our dipper to fill other people’s buckets by saying or doing things to increase their positive emotions we also fill our own bucket. But when we use that dipper to dip from others’ buckets, by saying or doing things that decrease their positive emotions, we diminish ourselves.

…So, we face a choice every moment of every day: We can fill one another’s buckets, or we can dip from them. It’s an important choice; one that profoundly influences our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness.” —Excerpt from How Full Is Your Bucket?, by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton, Ph.D.

Liza is a self-proclaimed #wordnerd who loves getting sucked into whimsical novels and epic movies, frequently flying under the coolness radar with her laid-back, practical attitude towards life. A foodie at heart, Liza relishes the chance to both cook and eat. (She's not picky.) She’s on the hunt for the perfect mojito, inspiration for a third tattoo, and world peace. You can also find Liza sharpening her knives over at (a)Musing Foodie.

Comments (4)

  • Loved this more than I can say. I read it at precisely the right time, needed it tonight.

  • My personality leans towards compulsive filling of others buckets, sometimes so much so that I don’t pay attention to the contents of my own bucket. Something at 40 I’m trying to work on because you know, Sugar Free Red Bull can only take me so far. 😀


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