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Keeping your tank full

By Ray DePaul

When we all wake up in the morning, we have a full tank of gas. Well, that’s not exactly true, but go with me for a bit. As you go through the day, there are activities that deplete your tank and activities that fill it up. Let’s face it, our job is probably one of those activities that burn through your tank. One definition of an ideal job is one that leaves enough in your tank so you can enjoy yourself outside of work. That would be a job worth fighting for.

I have a wonderful job helping young entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. But it doesn’t mean that there aren’t activities depleting my tank. Every time I attend a 20-person committee meeting, I feel like someone just siphoned off a quarter tank. Fortunately, every conversation I have with an entrepreneur tops up an eighth of a tank. But like many of us, I’ve had a job that left me spent at the end of the day with nothing left for the other activities and people in my life - I quit that company. As long as you have found a career that has the right balance between burning fuel and filling you up, you’re in pretty good shape.

There are a lot of people who have found ways outside of work to add fuel to their tank. Working out, eating healthy, meditation, going for a walk will all have an impact on your tank of gas.

But let’s push my little analogy a bit further. First of all, we don’t all have the same size tanks. We’ve all met that person who acts like a perpetual motion machine, never losing any energy and having a seemingly bottomless tank of gas. But we’ve also met people who seem to always be running on empty. Before you judge them, remember that you don’t know what has happened in their life that has them arrive at work with an empty or half-filled tank.

Before you even get to work, there are countless opportunities to burn through your tank. Whether it’s stress, health issues, challenging children, caring for aging parents, relationship problems, chronic pain, insomnia, .... these can all force you to operate on less than a full tank. Try to show some empathy when you engage someone running on fumes.

There is so much in life that we can’t control. Finding a career that adds fuel to your tank is a choice you can make to ensure you have the energy to face everything life throws at you. And it should come as no surprise that fuel in your tank can be at odds with money in your bank account. There’s nothing wrong with money, but there are days that no amount of money will pay for a full tank of gas.