Pat Katz Pat Katz




PAUSE – 12.28 – What’s In Your Bucket?

Reflection: A recent movie featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman popularized the idea of the Bucket List – a set of experiences you hope/plan/long to have before you die (AKA ‘kicking the bucket’). Bucket Lists tend to feature splashy adventures and stretch experiences – the things that dreams are made of!

I actually find another bucket metaphor equally intriguing.  It’s an idea put forward by authors Rath and Clifton who suggest that each of us owns an invisible bucket and an invisible dipper. As we move through our lives, we are constantly filling or draining each other’s buckets of positive emotion – based on what we do and say.

We can top up another’s bucket with a positive comment or drain their bucket with a thoughtless action. Our interactions with others are rarely neutral – and those actions reflectively enhance or diminish our own levels in the process. As in, filling another’s bucket tops up our own bucket, too. And vice versa.

A full bucket generates positive outlooks and plenty of energy. An empty bucket spawns sour outlooks and gorbs of apathy.


Action: I like the image and I appreciate the idea. However, I suggest we take it one step further. Since we all have dippers in our hands, anyway, it’s easy to top our own buckets up as well. There is no need to rely on others to fill our buckets – hoping someone will notice, hoping someone will care, hoping someone will funnel a few drops of positivity in our direction.

There are many ways we can treat ourselves well to fill our own buckets along the way. Chances are good, when our own levels ride higher, we’re more likely to actively top other buckets as well.

Try one of these actions this week.

  • List the perks that lift your spirits. A favorite coffee or a whacky sitcom. A walking trail that winds through your favorite landscape. A run at dawn. A bike ride at sunset. Then add one of these perks to your to-do list every single week—or day!
  • ID your “go-to” upbeat music. Load those favorite tunes on your phone, iPod, or MP3 player. Then fire it up for a lively lift on a downer day. Crank up the chorus and air that special tune when you need it most.
  • Opt for an extra. Treat yourself to whipped cream on your hot chocolate, sprinkles on your cupcake, or rum in your eggnog. Tag an extra day for exploring onto a business trip. Add lunch with a favorite colleague after a business meeting.

If you’ve got favorite bucket-topping actions of your own, share them with me and I’ll pass them along.

PS – If you’re looking for more bucket filling ideas, check out my newest publication, Take A Bow – 67 Ways To Pause For Applause, Celebrate Your Success, And Keep Your Spirits High.

Quote Of The Week: Trade your expectation for appreciation and the world changes instantly. – Tony Robbins


Resource Of The Week: Dip into ‘How Full Is Your Bucket? Positive Strategies for Work & Life by Tom Rath and Donald Clifton. Gallup Press. 2004.

Here are a couple of resources to check your own actions on the bucket filling front. Download the Positive Impact Test and Interaction Scorecard from this Resource Section of the Full Bucket website.


Readers Write: In response to last week’s message, What’s Parked In Your Loading Zone, Pause reader DP writes:

I laughed so hard when I read this newsletter. The timing could not have been better. My UPS (Unexpected Perturbing Situation) this morning was the double booking of one of our training rooms. I know you, as a presenter, understand perfectly what a double booking means.

When I went to verify a catering order for a course I’m bringing in next week, the ladies who look after our catering advised me of the double booking. They were at a loss as to what to do, since they could not contact either course director. Although this area of work is not my responsibility anymore, I jumped in, as I knew that neither course director had yet arrived and it was before 7:00 a.m.

After finding a free room to accommodate one course director, I made arrangements for the catering to be moved to that new room. I then contacted both course directors to advise them, explained the changes and let them know that everything was now under control. I also contacted the participants to advise them of the new room number.

So, as you so clearly stated in your last paragraph, I… “Paused to put my frustration on ice. Acknowledged a change of plans. Checked out the options. Revamped my plan to take advantage of other possibilities.” Your intuition is amazing. Thank you very much.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Appreciation, Life Balance, Overload & Overwhelm, Pause E-zines

Leave a Reply