The Coach's Corner

When your reservoir is empty

The Coach’s Corner Newsletter #55

One of the joys of sitting in our backyard is being near this stone fountain, where the sound of the flowing water is mesmerizing. During this current heatwave, the fountain is doing its best to keep flowing. But every few days its reservoir is nearly empty.

I can resonate. Despite my best attempts to dress for the heat and avoid the hottest periods of the day, I’m out in it and feeling the impact. I marvel at those who have no choice but to work in the heat, and observe the care they take in covering themselves and trying to show up early in the morning or late in the afternoon to do their jobs. In addition I see them looking for shade and making sure they have enough water to drink and cool themselves off.

Whether you’re a toddler, teenager or middle aged, you’re probably feeling wiped out a bit more these days.

Matthew Badgett, MD, with the Cleveland Clinic explains why being in the sun when it’s this hot makes you so tired.

The heat is more to blame. Your body has to work harder to cool you off. Your heart rate and metabolic rate go up when you sweat.

When you’re feeling physically wiped out, there are steps you can take to help restore your energy in the heat of the day. No surprise, those tools may also help you refill your own reservoir – which may be drained from all sorts of life and work events, AND the heat.


When your reservoir is empty

Every now and then a client arrives for a session knowing exactly what they’re experiencing and what they want to explore. Robert joined our session in just that manner.

My reservoir is empty! I’m working all hours of the day to manage a global team, creating a new initiative that goes out to multiple stakeholders and outlining job descriptions. I just don’t have any more to give.

After taking a deep breath, getting grounded and pausing, we resumed our conversation.

Before diving into any work elements, I wondered how he begins his days.

I used to get up with energy after a decent sleep. I’d have enough time to run, grab a quick breakfast and show up ready to start the day.

We talked about ”those days” and how he felt when he was taking care of his exercise and sleep and diet.

I may have gotten tired, but I didn’t feel depleted like I do now. When I got this new assignment, I felt I had to be more flexible for my global team so I’m sleeping less. I’m not running at all, not even at another time of day, and my diet? Forget it.

Robert shared how he was always the one who got his homework done before the weekend when he was younger, and he’s taken that false sense of urgency into his work life.

You know what? There is homework that can wait. My team has different hours than I do – but I have different hours from them!

By the end of our session Robert was becoming aware of how the priorities he was setting for his work neglected his own priorities. So as he crafted where he wanted to spend his time, and he planned out his entire day, Robert discovered there was actually time for just about everything.

The process to refill his reservoir is underway.



Refilling begins with awareness

When your reservoir is empty, the only way to replenish what’s been drained away is to notice what’s taking place. This may sound obvious, but when you’re feeling depleted it can be difficult to pinpoint the source of your own distress.

At times, the nudge of a friend, loved one, coach or mentor can offer you insight that you might otherwise miss.

Once you spot your reservoir running low, what’s next? Here are 6 steps to personal restoration that line up pretty well with how to refresh your energy when you find yourself stuck in the heat!

My takeaway

This is the beginning of a hot summer season, and no matter what’s in your immediate future there’s a good chance you will take on more than you want to handle.

Using the strategy I currently employ with my fountain, making sure the water level is where it needs to be, I’m taking my own pulse.

Am I breathing through discomfort? Taking an inventory when things pile up? Drinking enough water? Making sure the food I eat energizes me? Sleeping well?

When I notice I’m missing something in these areas, I know it’s time to make a change. And the fill-up of my reservoir is underway.

Where do we even start on the daily walk of restoration and awakening? We start where we are.

Anne Lamott

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