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Jeremiah, the senior vice president of engineering at a mid-stage, mid-size software-as-a-service startup, was talking with Rose, his coach.

“I’ve been reflecting on my replenishing resources,” Jeremiah updated Rose. “Last time, we discovered two of them: physical challenge and play with people important to me. I felt that I had more but couldn’t find them then.”

“What have you found in the time since?”

“Nothing, for the first few days. I started to worry I’d be returning today not having made any progress.”

“That wouldn’t be horrible,” Rose reassured Jeremiah. “I’d’ve been happy to work with you on that today. But, it sounds like you did find something?”

“I did,” Jeremiah affirmed. “And, it’s quite a story.”

“I’m all ears.”

1) Consider what you continually invest in

“After my third day of not finding any answers,” Jeremiah related, “I decided to take a step back. Instead of worrying on this problem, I spent my next reflection time meditating.”

“Giving yourself space for the answer to arrive is often helpful,” Rose said.

“And it did,” Jeremiah confirmed. “But not in the way I expected. At first, I focused on breathing and being. Then, as I let go of my frustration at not finding the answer, an image of a candle flame popped into my head. I didn’t know what that meant. Since I had just let go of frustration and not having answers, I pretty easily let go of needing to know what it meant, too.”

“Sounds like you’ve made a lot of progress at that,” Rose congratulated. “I remember how hard you grasped at answers when we first started working together.”

“I’ve seen how much of a difference letting go makes,” Jeremiah said with a wry smile.

“What happened next?”

“Three more images joined the candle flame: a fountain pen, abacus, and climbing shoe. They floated in the background, leaving the candle flame in the spotlight. Not knowing what else to do, I asked, ‘What are you?’ Turns out, they were my Council of Counsel. The candle flame represented my spirit; the fountain pen, my heart; the abacus, my mind; and the climbing shoe, my body.”

“That’s neat,” Rose said. “Does that mean your spirit had something to tell you?”

“That’s exactly what it meant,” Jeremiah confirmed. “It had a question for me: What have I continually invested in?”

2) Go beyond the surface to the core

“I love that question,” Rose said. “Let me write that down.” She made a note in her notebook, then returned her attention to Jeremiah. “What happened next?”

“That set off a cascade of memories. I wrote each memory on a separate stickie note, barely keeping up with the flood of information. When it finally dried up, the candle flame of my spirit moved back alongside the symbols representing the rest of my Council. I thanked my spirit for its question, then withdrew.”

Jeremiah continued, “I didn’t have time then to dig into my notes right then. Later, I rearranged all those stickie notes until I found a grouping that felt right. I almost felt I was working with my team at work, as we often do this sort of affinity exercise there.”

“Tools we use in one part of our life are often useful in other parts of our lives as well,” Rose agreed. “What groups made themselves known?”

“Two more resources,” Jeremiah reported. “Stories and quality touch.”

“What do stories mean for you?”

“I’ve always loved a well-crafted story,” Jeremiah explained. “The specific genre is unimportant al long as the story is well put-together. The storyteller’s ability is also unimportant; my six-year-old daughter captivates me with her stories despite her lack of skill.”

“What do stories give you?” Rose probed.

“A new perspective. Anything that shows me a new way of understanding my world is a delight.”

“So, it’s not so much the craft with which the story is told as the new frame it gives you?”


Jeremiah pondered Rose’s question. “Yes, you’re right. I appreciate the craft of the storyteller. What replenishes me, however, is the new perspective.”

3) Be clear about each aspect

“I suppose now you’re going to ask what I mean by ‘quality touch,’” Jeremiah said with a grin.

“You know me well,” Rose said, returning his smile. “What is quality touch for you?”

“This I’ve put a lot of thought into,” Jeremiah replied. “I’ve realized that the quality of a touch comes from its intent and the presence of its giver.”

“What about its intent makes a touch quality?”

“That the giver intends to show caring and empathy. Everything else can vary widely and still feel quality, so long as it’s coming from a place of caring and empathy.”

Rose nodded with understanding. “Is it the caring and empathy that matter, then?”

“No,” Jeremiah replied confidently. “Words don’t have the same effect on me as does touch. Acts of service don’t do it either. It’s only touch that replenishes me.”

“OK,” Rose said. “And what does presence mean to you when it comes to quality touch?”

“That the person is focused on me, and on being with me. A hug from someone talking on the phone is rarely quality. If the person set their phone down to focus on me as they hugged me, that could well feel quality.”

“So, they need to be focused on you. I also heard you say they need to focus on being with you. Does that mean they need to be focused on themselves giving you the touch?”

“Umm, no,” Jeremiah decided. “It’s more about them being present in the moment they give me the touch.”

“Got it,” Rose said. “Anything else involved in quality touch for you?”

“No, nothing else,” Jeremiah declared.

Identify the resources that replenish you

“Let me summarize what we have, then,” Rose requested. “Your replenishing resources are physical challenge; play with people important to you; new perspectives; and someone being present in the moment as they focus on touching you with care and empathy. Do I have that right?”

“You do,” Jeremiah affirmed. “And, it feels like everything.”

“Excellent,” Rose said. “What was most helpful today?”

“Well, it didn’t all happen today. What was most helpful with this exercise, though, is three things: considering what I continually invest in, digging below the surface to find the core, and being clear about each aspect of each resource. Those are points I can use in every part of my job.”

“So,” Jeremiah continued, “next week, we move on to the third factor in sustaining my movement?”

“First we need to identify the signals your resources need replenishing,” Rose corrected. “Then we identify the mitigations you use when you can’t immediately replenish a resource. At that point, yes, we’ll move on to that mysterious third factor.”

“Great,” Jeremiah said, rubbing his hands together eagerly. “That mystery is driving me a little crazy.”

This is part three of a series:

1. Transform your environment from exhausting to easeful in three steps

2. Focus on this one thing and feel energized all day long

4. Feeling tapped out? Transform to thriving with just three questions

5. Feeling run down? Three myths may be thwarting replenishing your resources

6. Do your days feel congested? Ask four questions to help your day flow

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