How Do You Fill Your Bucket?


How do you fill your bucket? You may be thinking right now, what bucket? Tom Rath’s book How Full Is Your Bucket? reveals how even the briefest interactions with others affect your productivity, health, and longevity. Organized around a simple metaphor of a dipper and a bucket, and grounded in 50 years of research, his book shows how the positive moments in your work and your life help reduce negativity and give you the energy you need for today’s world.

How about your own personal interactions and connections this week? Did your spouse, best friend, coworker, or even a stranger  “fill your bucket” by making you feel more positive? Or did that person “dip from your bucket,” leaving you feeling more negative than before? Those bucket dippers are exhausting and in my book, Career ReCharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout, my chapter on connection talks about why we need to stay away from toxic people. They not only dip into our bucket but also make it difficult to fill it.

Recently, I had an experience where my bucket was so full with gratitude that it was overflowing! Eleven years ago, I sat next to Lisa Dolce at a career coaching conference. I had no idea this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship or of the role Lisa would play in my career success. Lisa recently hosted a Career ReCharge book celebration luncheon in my honor that included the fellow writers, and now friends, we met during our one-year book writing program. Not only was it wonderful to see these incredible people, I realized after the event how they had helped keep my bucket full when I was writing my book. We shared so many experiences and when I hit a writing challenge, I was surrounded by supportive friends. The real beauty of these individuals is that although we are all on different writing paths—some will finish their book this year and others have decided to take a different innovative journey—there is no competition between us, just support. I have learned by constantly filling my bucket, and by seeing how my coaching clients fill their buckets, what a difference it makes when we focus our energy on connections that recharge us. You never know when you meet a new person what impact they will have in your future!

Lisa Dolce and Beth Kennedy

We often forget that not just people can fill our buckets. It can also take place by focusing on many of the simple “awe” moments that we experience. For example, this morning when walking our dog Maple, the smell of the budding flowers and trees was incredible, I saw a little bunny hiding behind a tree, and just the feel of the warmer weather and singing birds filled my bucket. The research abounds on how nature can provide an incredible recharge to us mentally.

Nature improves well-being:

  • study at the University of Kansas found that spending more time outdoors and less time with our electronic devices can increase our problem-solving skills and improve creative abilities.
  • Nature walks and other outdoor activities build attention and focus (Hartig,1991). There are pieces of evidence that indicate strong environmental connections to be related to better performance, heightened concentration, and reduced chances of developing Attention Deficit Disorder.
  • Nature walks benefit people suffering from depression (Shern et al., 2014). Studies have shown that people suffering from mild to major depressive disorders showed significant mood uplift when exposed to nature. Not only that, but they also felt more motivated and energized to recover and get back to normalcy (Berman, Kross, Kaplan, 2012).
  • Recent investigations reveal that being outdoors reduces stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol. Besides that, it also makes us immune to allied problems like hypertension and tachycardia.

How you choose to spend your time out of work can also fill your bucket. My childhood friend Pam Jahn has a volunteer role as a breeder caretaker for The Guide Dog Foundation and recently had nine Golden Lab pups born in her home. Even though I could not go to New York to see them, she kept me updated with the sweetest photos and they kept filling my bucket.

How do you fill your bucket despite the craziness of work and life? There are challenges every day and we need to make the best choices we can to fill our buckets in a positive, recharging way. Notice on Monday if your bucket is full or if you needed more recharge over the weekend. Find ways during the week to keep your bucket filled even when work and life are chaotic. Please email me at as I would love to hear how you filled your bucket this week. Every drop counts!

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