Fill Your Cup First

In 2023 I co-developed an executive coaching program designed to encourage business leaders to use their personal positions of influence to give other people a stronger voice. Modern leadership should be about dispersing power, not collecting it.

In the place of work, business leadership should aspire to make work more meaningful and energy-giving for those who do it. Employees should gain strength and heightened self-worth through their work experiences. Work should be uplifting, not draining. But, of course, that’s often not the case. In America today only 32 percent of those who work describe the experience as deeply meaningful and engaging.

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Becoming meaningful to others is not just a goal for executives. All humans aspire to positively impact those around us. We want to fill the cups of others, not drain them. It can come as an unexpected surprise to realize that the first step in filling the cups of others is to first fill and refill your own.

Ask what makes you come alive and go do it.

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

—Howard Thurman

You sustain and strengthen your ability to give to others by first focusing on yourself. This may seem counterintuitive, so it requires intentionality. Make yourself strong. Make yourself happy. Make yourself vibrant. Make yourself light up. Fill your cup and check it regularly. From there, you will naturally radiate your best love and light into the world. Giving begins with and requires regular self-care. As Rudyard Kipling wrote well over a century ago:

Now this is the Law of the Jungle—as old and as true as the sky.

And the Wolf that shall keep it may prosper, but the Wolf that shall break it must die.

As the creeper that girdles the tree-trunk, the Law runneth forward and back—

For the strength of the Pack is the Wolf, and the strength of the Wolf is the Pack.

A community is made strong one human at a time, starting with ourselves. Fill your cup first and then help others do the same.