“There are two types of wells: one is empty, and whenever some water goes into it, it’s directly emptied again. The other is full, overflowing with water, giving the people all the excess water that it has.”
I don’t quite recall where I read this, but it stuck for me for a long time. Because in the metaphor, you are the well, and the water is your energy.
The question is: which well are you?
Many people, particularly leaders, tend to give everything they have to give — until there’s nothing left. Then, their performance declines, their happiness declines, life starts to take a bad turn. They miss deadlines. They’re not nearly doing your job as well as before. They don’t have the energy to attend social activities.
Happened to me before, too. I always stuck to my schedule, always put in the work, always tried to make everybody around me happy. Until I realized that I could do much better if I first focused on refilling my well.
For me, it’s usually catching up on sleep, getting to spend some time alone and at home, journaling. But when I’ve had that (even if it’s just for one day), all of life gets much better.
You owe it to yourself — and to everybody around you — to be the best version of yourself.
Why be an exhausted employee / partner / teammate when you could also be a replenished one?
Here are a few things that I’ve done before and found very helpful:
1: Sleep in if you can, especially after a rough night!
Sometimes, your sleep just sucks. It happens. When it happens, consider heading to work an hour later to catch up on it (if you can, of course). Even if I had several days of sleep deficit, sleeping in once makes a huge difference for me.
As many studies have shown, being sleep-deprived is the equivalent to being drunk. You wouldn’t go to work drunk either — and I’d much rather have a mentally fresh colleague there for 6 hours as opposed to an exhausted one for 8 hours.
Note that I don’t allow myself to do this if the damage is self-inflicted (e.g. I simply stayed up too late / had a drink too many / …). Then I need to suffer through the pain.