You are currently viewing You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

You Can’t Pour From an Empty Cup

  • Post author:

If you don’t have what you need to succeed, how can you expect to help others succeed? While this empty-cup metaphor can apply to a wide variety of people, I think it’s especially important for managers to remember. To effectively lead a high-performing team, managers need to make sure they’re taking care of themselves first.


It’s one of those buzzwords we hear a lot today. But taking care of yourself so that you can be at your best isn’t just trendy, it’s smart. Caring for your physical, mental, emotional, and intellectual health is what it’s all about. Managers with a lot on their plates often stretch themselves thin, sacrificing their own wellbeing to meet demands. A commitment to self-care can help them to not only support their own health but also to support their leadership efforts. Though for some it can feel like a selfish practice, self-care is anything but selfish. When you take care of yourself, you’re ensuring that you have a strong foundation from which you can give to others.

Eat well and get active

Physical health is one of the most important elements of self-care. If you don’t invest in your physical health, you’ll likely suffer consequences that can bleed into every area of your life. For managers, leading a team requires a great deal of energy. If your physical health isn’t getting the attention it needs, it can make the job even more difficult. Making an effort to eat well and move your body on a regular basis is key. This may look different from person to person. What matters is that you’re paying attention to what your physical body needs.

Create a sleep routine

Another important aspect of physical health is your sleep routine. Do you have a healthy routine in place, or have you been burning the candle at both ends? Unplugging from technology is a great way to set your body up for sleep success. Many people recommend shutting off screens a good hour or so before bed to ensure the brain is ready for rest. Heading to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time every day can also help you get a more restful night’s sleep.


With the chaos of an average workday, it’s important that managers take time to recharge. Find the activities or practices that help your mind relax, and make space for them in your daily routine. Finding time for quiet, even if it’s just a five-minute window, supports the mental health and clarity that will allow you to better lead your team. Anything from reading a book to developing a meditation practice can provide the quiet time needed to recharge.


Managers are often busy and overworked. They’re known to spend long hours in the office making sure they’ve accomplished it all. As admirable as this kind of work ethic is, it can often hinder management success. Taking time out of the office to spend with family and friends can help managers to get a breath of fresh air. These breaks help to fulfill emotional and social needs and are direct investments in their ability to lead more effectively when returning to the office.

If you want to support others, you need to first support yourself. This investment in your own needs will allow you to give more easily and freely to those around you. For managers, this investment means you’ll be better able to exercise your leadership abilities and give your team members what they need to succeed.