Illuminative Moments by Jo Sainsbury

Jody Sainsbury is a kickass chick.  So much so she even made it her brand!  She is a coal train driver, with a history of working in the industry behind her, and a powerhouse of support for other women in the industries of construction, transport, logistics, trades, and building.  We have hung out a few events together, supporting the presence of women in male-dominated industries and supporting each other! – Bek

Running on Empty – Fuelling up or just Filling Up?

It is so important that we know that we can choose to fuel ourselves into action, create new opportunities, and illuminate ways to accelerate our focus and direction.

Every day you have a choice about whether you FUEL yourself or just FILL yourself.

Where are you investing your energy day-to-day? Is it like everybody else – busy-ness – emails, social media, webinars, zoom meetings, parenting pressures, financial stress – stuck in the throes of WFH (working from home) can drain your internal tank and leave you empty? Are you simply topping up or filling yourself to exist during the Covid-19 crisis? Rather than fuelling yourself to thrive.

You will always have to make choices about how you spend your time. We waste so much of our time filling up with rubbish – “non-essential” data instead of fuelling ourselves with positive and meaningful knowledge and information. Yes, we all have the same number of hours in a day, it’s what we do with them that counts.

You know those times when you’ve been sitting on the lounge just scrolling through your phone and even while you’re doing it, you know it’s emptying your tank, yet you keep searching and scrolling in case you find something that fills you up. Maybe you’re searching for something on Instagram or Facebook, or just mindlessly looking through your phone. So often we look to other people or other things to fill us up or to make us happy, to make things better, to take care of things or to make us feel a certain way. Does this all sound a little familiar; it does, as I know I am guilty of it too. This is exactly how we mindlessly fill up on other people’s feeds and don’t gain drive or benefit out of it for ourselves. This is such a losing game, because we can’t control other people or the things outside ourselves. And so, at some level we will always be fearful, because those things could be taken away – thus literally draining our tank.

Sometimes we fill up our time to procrastinate from working on ourselves or areas of our lives. Is your “filling up” a form of self-sabotage? Or is this a secondary gain – in staying in gear in ‘Park’ – where you are and not refueling yourself?

Dissatisfaction in life- I find that life is going so fast, and has become something so far from nature, and the system pours so many false perceptions and desires into our head, that it’s really difficult to stay connected to ourselves, and be grateful for all that we have.  Our lives are run by time- we need time to work and make money, to buy the things we think we need, to ‘keep up with the Jones’, to be able to go on holiday to lovely places like Spain (ahem…).  Not to mention our lives online these days!  Many have a kind of professional identity that it seems they must maintain to be able to market themselves and keep up with the technological business world.  The effort we make to stay connected is quite immense.  In reality, time is passing fast! and the moments when we are really able to enjoy all that we are working for are few and far between.  It’s a common theme, when you have money, you have no time, when you have time you have no money!  Some years ago, I am sure I was dreaming of having a life like I do now.  And yet, when you are in the present moment there always feels like there could be something more.  Nonetheless, I am completely sure that there is nothing that will give me more than just being able to appreciate what I already have. 

You have probably heard the saying, ‘attitude is everything’. As cliché as it sounds, mastering your mindset is critical to your success and happiness in life. The definition of mindset is the established set of attitudes held by someone. You have a choice in the way you perceive whatever is going on. You have the power to choose whether you think the tank is half full or half empty.

Attitude is the fuel that drives behaviour. It determines the ways in which you think and feel. It sets the tone for your emotions and how you react to what happens at home and in the workplace. It not only affects what you do, but how you do it.

In these days of stress and WFH burnout, attitude and mindset are even more critical. How we approach these stressful periods and situations is an important part of how we thrive, move on and come out the other side of Covid-19. Adopting positive attitudes and mindset has also been identified just as important to health, wellness and resilience.

Adopting a more positive mindset can be challenging because it pushes you out of your comfort zone, but that comfort zone is a dead end. By taking a new attitude towards your personal growth, you open yourself up to greater possibilities. Not to mention, you’ll begin to Fill your tank – reach your full potential – one of the greatest accomplishments anyone can feel in their life and career.

I’ve learned the warning signs that indicate that I’m running on empty. I let small things really upset me and I let others know also! I get a little embarrassed when I get to this point, but I’ve learned to see it as a warning sign that I need to get intentional about refuelling and filling up.

How do you refuel yourself, so you stay running and committed to your goals and intentions in the best possible way? For me, its awareness and identifying what’s been burning my fuel and leaving me idle. You need to get really clear on how you spend your energy. The how, where, why, and when. Is it idling your energy or is it increasing your rpm’s?

Do you need to reroute? Is how you burn your fuel or spend your time and energy aligned with where you want to go in your life? It is like when your stomach’s empty you find something to eat. Sometimes it is a quick snack, sometimes it’s a gourmet meal. But what you don’t do when you’re hungry is sit down and wait for someone else to feed you, you feed yourself. So, we need to fuel up and fill up our attitude and mindset, it may take effort, you may not be able to immediately get to the Full mark. There are an infinite variety of fuels that may fill your tank but here is the key, you must learn how to refuel yourself. You are the one who must proactively choose what fuel to look for and intake whatever fuel your tank needs.

Your tank may need many different types of fuel to fill; it’s unique as the kinds of physical food you like and don’t like. Here’s a couple of ways I like to refuel my tank:

Stillness vs Stimulation – most of us today are overstimulated. We face constant input from television, smartphones, and all of the social media. That kind of data overload drains your internal tank. Going non-digital for an hour, an afternoon, a weekend revolutionises my sense of being.

Inspiring vs Entertaining – most of media capitalises on the sensational, the superficial, or the scandalous. The entertainment value of it may keep you “vegged out” but it won’t fuel and fill your tank. On the other hand, there are certain books, YouTube movies/clips, music, podcasts that can truly lift, fuel, and fill your tank in a big way.

So, ask yourself two (2) questions

  1. How do you know your tank is empty? What are your unique emotional signals? How do you behave differently when your tank is depleted? What tells you you’re running on empty?
  2. What type of fuel performs the most for you? When do you feel most alive, most refreshed, most creative? What people, activities or places fill you up?

Continuing to run on empty will never turn out well. Notice the signals – the lights that indicate you have an empty tank and learn to fuel yourself with the type of fuels you need. Notice what fills you up and find ways to do more of that.

What signals tell you that your tank is running out of fuel or on empty? Can you name one or two things that provide you with fuel for your tank?

Whatever you fill yourself up with will eventually overflow. It will impact the people around you and influence people’s perspective of you and if you get it right, what you fill yourself up you will want to give rather than get and you’ll start to attract others who are doing the same.

Mastering your attitude and mindset is an inside job! It requires time and effort on your part to focus on yourself. When you feel prepared and ready for your day – when your tank is full, you are much better able to be strong and there for yourself.

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Empowering Guest Blogger 2020